NFL Rookie Impact Players for 2010 From WhatIfSports.com image

NFL Rookie Impact Players for 2010

Bradford, Suh lead Rams, Lions out of basement
By Ryan Fowler, WhatIfSports.com
April 26th, 2010
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The 2010 NFL Draft competed with the Mets-Cardinals 20-inning affair and any Yankees-Red Sox match-up this season as the longest sporting event of the year.

The 14-plus-hours of coverage spread over three days fed NFL fans the off-season nourishment they craved in the form of chicken wings, gallons of brew, upside, downside, playmakers and what-if potential.

Now football fans must suffer through months of cliche, OTAs, mini-camps, Brett Favre breaking news, and pre-season camp before anything of note truly matters.

Whatifsports.com feels your pain and wants to break the monotony of the football off-season doldrums. We want the NFL to come alive months in advance and provide you the opportunity to see just how good your favorite NFL rookie can be.

The completion of the 2010 NFL Draft means the foundation has been laid for our pre-season projections and predictions similar to our 2009 NFL Impact Rookies piece. However, rookies present a challenge with no previous professional stats to breakdown as a baseline. To come up with statistical inputs for rookies, we run a very complex set of algorithms that factors collegiate performance, role in college, strength of collegiate competition, "measurables," likely NFL role, previous performance of a similar player in that NFL role for this coaching staff and trends of similar rookies in the past. This gives us the player's projected ratio stats (expected yards per carry, completion percentage, etc.), as well as his forecasted usage for the upcoming season.

The Top 50 from this ranking are listed below:

50. Mardy Gilyard - WR - Rams
49. Everson Griffin - DE - Vikings
48. Toby Gerhart - RB - Vikings
47. Jerry Hughes - LB - Colts
46. Taylor Mays - S - 49ers
45. Maurkice Pouncey - C - Steelers
44. Golden Tate - WR - Seahawks
43. Jimmy Clausen - QB - Panthers
42. Carlos Dunlap - DE - Bengals
41. Patrick Robinson - DB - Saints
40. TJ Ward - S - Browns
39. Eric Decker - WR - Broncos
38. Jordan Shipley - WR - Bengals
37. Devin McCourty - DB - Patriots
36. Sean Weatherspoon - LB - Falcons
35. Zane Beadles - OG - Broncos
34. Charles Brown - OT - Saints
33. Daryl Washington - LB - Cardinals
32. Jared Odrick - DT - Dolphins
31. Brian Price - DT - Buccaneers
30. Lamarr Houston - DT - Raiders
29. Anthony Davis - OT - 49ers
28. CJ Spiller - RB - Bills
27. Mike Iupati - OG - 49ers
26. Trent Williams - OT - Redskins
25. Kareem Jackson - DB - Texans
24. Montario Hardesty - RB - Browns
23. Terrence Cody - NT - Ravens
22. Rodger Saffold - OT - Rams
21. Dan Williams - DT - Cardinals
20. Jason Pierre-Paul - DE - Giants
19. Bryan Bulaga - OT - Packers
18. Arelious Benn - WR - Buccaneers
17. Russsel Okung - OT - Seahawks
16. Sergio Kindle - LB - Ravens
15. Jahvid Best - RB - Lions
14. Derrick Morgan - DE - Titans
13. Rolando McClain - LB - Raiders
12. Brandon Graham - LB - Eagles
11. Kyle Wilson - CB - Jets

Top 10 Impact NFL Rookies for 2010


10. Jermaine Gresham - Bengals - Tight End

The Cincinnati Bengals are trying to equip Carson Palmer with some more weapons on offense. The absence of a go-to tight end has been a gaping hole within the Bengals' offense for some time now. With the off-season signing of Antonio Bryant to line-up opposite Chad Ocho-Cinco, Graham could find himself open down the seam of the field on a regular basis.
2010 Projected Stats: 475 rec. yards - 2 touchdowns

9. Dez Bryant - Cowboys - Wide Receiver

Jerry Jones said he wasn't going to make the same mistake on Bryant like he claimed he did when passing up on Randy Moss. Though some poor decisions in the past locked up Bryant in the NCAA's doghouse, those transgressions are in the past and it looks like Bryant will join Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams in Big D. Bryant could find himself taking some reps away from Williams if the veteran receiver can't find his own niche within the Cowboys' offense.
2010 Projected Stats: 715 rec yards, 3 touchdowns

8. Joe Haden - Browns - Cornerback

When your franchise ranks 31st out of 32 teams in total defense, a tourniquet is needed to stop the bleeding. Consider Florida's Joe Haden a band-aid for the time being. One of Cleveland's two current cornerbacks, Eric Wright or Brandon McDonald, will have to make way for the rookie. Teams are going to test the rookie early and often in 2010, so Haden will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his skills and draft worth. On top of Haden, the Browns drafted safety TJ Ward who could also find his way into the starting line-up in Cleveland.
2010 Projected Stats: 40 tackles, 1 interception

7. Earl Thomas - Seahawks - Safety

Some experts say the Seahawks had one of the best draft classes. It didn't hurt picking up Thomas with their second pick of the first round. Seattle had the third worst pass defense in the league last season, allowing 245 yards through the air per game. Thomas was second on the Longhorns in tackles with 77 and first in interceptions with eight last season with Texas.
2010 Projected Stats: 35 tackles and 3 interceptions

6. Ryan Matthews - Chargers - Running Back

San Diego's Darren Sproles is one of the fastest players in the NFL. He's talented and makes a lot of things happen when Phillip Rivers hands him the rock, but as Ray Lewis proved last season, Sproles may die in the red-zone if handed the ball. The Chargers traded up to select the Fresno State running back to ease his pain. With LT crossing the country and landing in New York, Matthews assumes the role of the bigger back. The bruiser will be a nice change of pace back and have enough touches to make an impact in year one.
2010 Projected Stats: 615 yards, 3 touchdowns, 4 fumbles

5. Gerald McCoy - Buccaneers - Defensive Tackle

He's been compared to Warren Sapp and anointed next savior/leader of the Tampa Bay defense. The Buccs rush defense was the worst in the NFL last season; allowing over 158 yards on the ground a game. McCoy will make his money helping plug those gaps. To be fair, it took Sapp two seasons to start stuffing the stat book, but McCoy could create his own legacy with a fast start in Tampa Bay.
2010 Projected Stats: 20 tackles, 3 sacks

4. Eric Berry - Chiefs - Safety

The Cleveland Browns were drooling over Berry before the Chiefs made the move to snatch up the Tennessee safety. The Kansas City defense allowed 25 touchdown in 2009 and 232 yards per game through the air. Berry's 14 interceptions during his senior year as a Volunteer should translate into at least a few interceptions for KC.
2010 Projected Stats: 39 tackles, 3 interceptions

3. Demaryius Thomas - Broncos - Wide Receiver

With Brandon Marshall bounced out of Denver, the Broncos receiving cupboard is bare: Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley are split out wide and Daniel Graham is your tight end with Tony Scheffler recently traded to Detroit. Thomas will need to pay dividends early for Denver to survive the AFC West. He possesses the skills needed to make plays, but a bigger question may be, who is going to get him the ball?
2010 Projected Stats: 675 rec. yards, 4 touchdowns

2. Ndamukong Suh - Lions - Defensive Tackle

The Lions are quickly and quietly creating a lockdown defense in Detroit. The off-season acquisition of Kyle Vanden Bosch gave the Lions the needed veteran presence to mentor a kid like Suh. The expectations of Suh will be immediate and Vanden Bosch can lend a helping hand to Suh when it becomes too much and get his mind refocused on football. This duo will help Detroit improve its 25th ranked rushing defense from a year ago while Louis Delmas continues to mature in the secondary.
2010 Projected Stats: 27 tackles, 2 sacks

1. Sam Bradford - Rams - Quarterback

The St. Louis Rams got the franchise quarterback they wanted. Now what? Their offensive line still needs work as does the team's receiving corps. With that said, Bradford does have the luxury of turning around and handing the ball off to Steven Jackson. This backfield option should relieve some of the first-year jitters. Though he had a stronger offensive line protecting him, Mark Sanchez is a fair comparison when it boils down to stats. Sanchez had Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene to hand the ball off too and before Braylon Edwards arrived, his aerial options were limited.
2010 Projected Stats: 2100 yards, 9 touchdowns, 16 interceptions

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. Email him at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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