With the NFL Draft nearly a month behind us, it is time to close out our 2010 coverage with a stab at the 2010-2011 All Rookie Team. The selections are based on a combination of talent, opportunity and gut instinct. While it would be easy to just select first and second rounders there are some surprise selections mixed in.
DT: Ndamukong Suh (Detroit) and Dan Williams (Arizona)—Suh will be the anchor for a re-building Lions defense. Playing alongside Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams will ease his transition as well. Dan Williams will play right away at nose tackle while making a dramatic impact against the run. Playing under Monte Kiffin in 2009 should ease his transition to the pro game. Gerald McCoy fails to make the list as his immediate impact could be minimized by his surrounding cast and playing alongside a fellow talented rookie.
DE: Derrick Morgan (Tennessee) and Corey Wooten (Chicago)—Derrick Morgan was the most NFL ready defensive end in the draft who should get eight sacks while also being a factor against the run. Corey Wooten is flying under the radar as a 4th round pick but has first/second round talent, goes to a team with an immediate need and will benefit from playing opposite Julius Peppers. As long as Wooten is healthy look for him to shine.
OLB: Sean Weatherspoon (Atlanta), Eric Norwood (Carolina) and Koa Misi (Miami)—Weatherspoon will start right away and has the potential to a be a sideline to sideline playmaker. Norwood lacks ideal measureables but has a nose for the football and making plays. He will also provide a spark as a situational pass rusher. Misi will be the key to the Dolphins pass rush as they let their veterans rush linebackers go. Parcells' track record with rush linebackers influenced this selection.
ILB: Rolando McClain (Oakland) and Donald Butler (San Diego)—McClain will be the quarterback of a revamped Raiders defense. His combination of leadership, athleticism and instincts bode well for his early success. Butler is a surprise selection but he was among the most underrated linebackers in the country last season and he lands in a good situation in San Diego. He has the combination of size and speed to be force against the run and make plays in coverage.
CB: Joe Haden (Cleveland), Kareem Jackson (Houston) and Myron Lewis (Tampa Bay)—All three of these selections will likely earn starting jobs right away. Cleveland and Houston will expect Haden and Jackson to be number one corners from day one. Haden's playmaking ability will ease his transition. Jackson's physical style and instincts will allow him to make an immediate impact. Myron Lewis is the surprise pick but he is an ideal scheme fit for the Tampa 2 and fills a big need.
S: Eric Berry (Kansas City) and Darrell Stuckey (San Diego)—Eric Berry is expected to be the league's next great safety and playing for one of the league's worst defense will allow him to make an early impact. While Earl Thomas should challenge for the second spot with his excellent range and coverage skills past experience dictates a mid/late round safety will make an early impact. Stuckey is the choice because he has a nose for the football and goes to a solid defense where he will have a chance to start right away.