7 Dynamic Rookies Who Could Impress NFL Fans and Coaches in OTAs

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIMay 30, 2012

7 Dynamic Rookies Who Could Impress NFL Fans and Coaches in OTAs

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    Organized team activities, also known as OTAs, are a chance for rookies to impress fans and coaches in their first real activity with the team.

    Unfortunately, front-seven players won't get a chance to shine at OTAs, as the inability to hit really hampers their chance to make a big impression.

    That means that skill-position players will get their chance to shine.

    A few major names will undoubtedly impress with athletic plays, but a few under-the-radar players will also show their stuff throughout OTAs.

    Here are seven rookies who will be sure to make an impression.

Juron Criner

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    Despite being an unheralded fifth-round pick, Juron Criner has already been impressing teammates in Oakland.

    With a knack for the big play, Criner has already made several highlight-reel catches, and he will only get better.

    In college, he was known as a jump-ball possession receiver, but his lack of speed really hurt his draft stock. That lack of speed hurt it to the point of falling to the fifth round, but if his early performance is any indication, Criner could be a steal.

Robert Griffin III

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    Robert Griffin III has perhaps the greatest "wow factor" out of any rookie this year. He is capable of making plays that can drop jaws, and he can make the extraordinary look ordinary.

    Last year, the Baltimore Ravens' Tyrod Taylor wowed Ravens fans and coaches throughout the offseason with incredibly throws and runs.

    Griffin is twice the talent that Taylor is, and with the extra hype surrounding him, he should grab headlines early with every incredible play he makes.

    For the first time in years, the Redskins have a legitimate franchise quarterback of the future. Griffin has high expectations to live up to, but he should at least make his NFL journey fun to watch.

Dre Kirkpatrick

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    OTAs are all about giving playmakers a chance to shine with splash plays. No rookie cornerback is better at producing impressive athletic plays than Dre Kirkpatrick. 

    With a truly elite combination of size and speed, Kirkpatrick has the ability to go up and make tremendous plays to get after the ball. 

    Kirkpatrick has the chance to cover star receiver A.J. Green in practice, and with both possessing elite physical tools, their battles should be fun to watch. 

    If Kirkpatrick can win a few of those battles, he will be among the most impressive players at OTAs.

Coby Fleener

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    Andrew Luck is the headliner of the Indianapolis Colts' draft, but his calm demeanor and intelligent play are incredible to the point of being boring and unimpressive to watch.

    His targets, though, are the beneficiaries of his steady play, and his college wingman Coby Fleener should be especially impressive as a result of his relationship with Luck.

    Fleener is a tight end who excels at getting open down the seam. He should showcase that ability throughout OTAs with nice catches down the field.

Kendall Wright

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    Speedsters and jump-ball threats are the players who tend to impress the most at OTAs. Wright is both.

    Despite a lack of size, Wright excelled at getting downfield at Baylor, and he should continue to do just that in the pros.

    Wright has the speed to get behind the Titans' corners during OTAs, and when that happens, he should make a few plays that turn heads and impress fans and coaches.

Dontari Poe

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    Generally, front-seven players don't excel in OTAs, as the lack of hitting tends to put a damper on the impression they could make.

    Dontari Poe is the exception.

    As a player who does his best work in shorts, Poe should be among the most impressive players in OTAs this year.

    An absolute monster physically, Poe's imposing size and raw athletic ability should help him dominate early. He has the quickness to get behind offensive linemen and the strength to push them around.

    Just on his appearance alone, Poe will be among the most impressive players in Chiefs camp this year.

Russell Wilson

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    If Russell Wilson was 6'4", he'd have been a first-round pick. As it were, he's under 6'0", and he went in the third round.

    Regardless, Wilson has all the other tools required to be an NFL quarterback, and he should excel in OTAs.

    Already, Wilson is being considered a potential starter in Seattle. While he's a long shot to unseat Tarvaris Jackson or Matt Flynn, he could just be the quarterback of the future for the Seahawks.

    Wilson will surely make the kind of plays that will get fans on his side, as his athleticism and arm strength lend itself to splashy plays that will wow fans and coaches alike.

    If he can make those kinds of plays on a consistent basis, he could be the star of OTAs in 2012.


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