Bradford and Suh have paid early dividends
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At the halfway point of the 2010 NFL season, so many questions are left unanswered. Which team is the standout in the AFC and NFC? Will the NFC West winner finish over .500? Can Brett Favre's ankle hold up? Will Randy Moss (finally) stay put in Tennessee? And, of course, How 'Bout Them Cowboys?
Back in April, we took a look at who we felt would be the best rookies this season. We comprised a list of the Top 50 Impact Rookies. We are now following up by narrowing the list to 25 to see who has made the biggest impact to this point.
Top 25 Impact NFL Rookies for 2010
Uncle Moe in KCMoeaki is Matt Cassel's safety valve.
- 34 combined tackles (3 assists), 1 sack, 9 pass deflections, 3 INT
24. Brian Bulaga - OL - Packers
- Recently held Jared Allen and Demarcus Ware without a sack
23. Russell Okung - OL - Seahawks
- The 6th pick in the draft has helped keep Hasselbeck upright
22. Tony Moeaki - TE - Cheifs
- 30 catches, 344 yards, 2 TD
21. Trent Williams - OL - Redskins
- The 4th overall pick has been a big part in rebuilding Washington's offensive line
Oh Cpt., My Cpt.If the Steelers re-voted, Pouncey would be captain.
- 46 combined tackles (9 assists), 1 sack
19. Perrish Cox - CB - Broncos
- 25 total tackles, 11 pass deflections, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble
18. Devin McCourty - CB - Patriots
- 37 combined tackles, 4 assists, 9 pass deflections, 2 INT
17. Maurkice Pouncey - C - Steelers
- The best center prospect from the draft has not disappointed for the Steelers
16. Tyson Alualu - DT - Jaguars
- 23 combined tackles (6 assists), 2.5 sacks
15. Rolando McClain - LB - Raiders
- 42 combined tackles (16 assists), 0.5 sacks
14. Taylor Mays - S - 49ers
- 32 combined tackles (4 assists), forced fumble
13. Kareem Jackson - CB - Texans
- 44 combined tackles (12 assists), 9 pass deflections, 2 INT
Earl-y RiserThomas has been one of few bright spots in Seattle.
- 78 carries, 382 yards
11. Koa Misi - LB - Dolphins
- 21 combined tackles (7 assists), 3.5 sacks, 2 fumbles recovered, fumble recovery TD
10. Ryan Matthews - RB - Chargers
- 87 carries, 382 yards, 2 TD
9. Aaron Hernandez - TE - Patriots
- 34 catches, 436 yards, 2 TD
8. TJ Ward - S - Browns
- 67 combined tackles (15 assists)
7. Earl Thomas - S - Seahawks
- 39 combined tackles, 7 assists, 9 pass deflections, 4 INT
6. Eric Berry - S - Cheifs
- 45 combined tackles (11 assists), 2 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 2 INT, forced fumble
5. Dez Bryant - Wide Receiver - Cowboys--->38 catches, 435 yards, 4 TD, 2 punt return TDS
Bryant was supposed to contributor on a Super Bowl contender. Now he is one of the very few brights spots on a 1-7 Cowboys team. Bryant has collected 435 receiving yards and four touchdowns and two punt return TDs. His potential to be a star in the NFL has been on display throughout the first half of the season. Bryant's first season resume indicates he may be more of a possession receiver than relied on for his speed. Moving forward, Dallas has at least one offensive piece to build around. The caveat to all this is all four of Bryant's TDs have come from Jon Kitna. Tony Romo is missing out on valuable bonding time with his future number one wideout.
4. Jahvid Best - Running Back - Lions--->107 carries, 345 yards, 4 TD, 41 catches, 356 yards, TD
Before the season, people laughed at the joke that there would be a shirt that read "Lions" on the front and "Best" on the back. The Lions traded back into the end of the first round to select the California Bears running back, who has, so far, exceeded expectations. Best has racked up 701 total yards and 5 TD between running and receiving. He has brought some much needed balance to the Lions offense by taking some pressure off of Calvin Johnson.
3. Mike Williams - Wide Receiver - Bucs--->36 catches, 559 yards, 5 TD
Mike Williams did not make our pre-season list for a couple reasons. In 2008, Williams was suspended from Syracuse for academic reasons. He came back in 2009 and racked up impressive numbers, but quit the Orange after seven games. All the concern about character and question marks surrounding Williams have been temporarily swept under the rug. Williams leads all rookies with 559 yards and 5 TD. He has built up a nice rapport with Bucs first rounder from 2009, Josh Freeman. The Bucs also have two other rookies who have contributed nicely on offense - Arrelious Benn and LeGarrette Blount.
2. Ndamukong Suh - Defensive Tackle - Lions
--->30 combined tackles (5 assists), 6.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, INT, Fumble Recovery TD
We initially projected Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh to have the biggest impact among NFL rookies in 2010. It might have seemed like an easy choice, considering they were the top two picks in the draft. Well flash forward halfway through the season, and these two men have truly impacted their teams, to the point that the Rams and Lions are competitive. Neither team should have any regrets on their major investments to this point.
Ndamukong Suh has proved worthy of the number two pick. Head Coach Jim Schwartz, who specializes in defense, has revamped Detroit's defense starting with the line. Suh has 25 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks, two passes deflected, an interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Suh's 6.5 sacks are two more than any other defensive tackle in the league. He is 4th overall in the NFL in sacks.
1. Sam Bradford - Quarterback - Rams--->171-292, 1,674 yards, 11 TD, 8 INT
The Rams are 4-4 and actually tied for first place in the NFC West. Bradford has started every game for the Rams and has thrown for 1,674 yards, 11 TDs and 8 INTs. The $50-million man has exceeded expectations and under head coach Steve Spagnuolo the Rams are overachieving . Although he lost his top two receivers in Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton early on, Bradford has managed to spread the wealth to guys like Danny Amendola and Danario Alexander. You can cash that $50-million check now Sam.
The Rookies We Missed On
In hindsight, there are some players who were ranked a little too high from our initial Top 50 Impact Rookies.
1. We initially listed Demaryius Thomas third and Gerald McCoy fifth.
Thomas was the 22nd overall pick and the first wide receiver selected in the draft. Thomas has caught 16 passes for 215 yards and 2 TDs. A foot injury suffered at Georgia Tech has affected his rookie season growth on the field. Denver has also seen the emergence of Brandon Lloyd, who leads the NFL in receiving yards. We did not take into consideration breakout seasons from Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney.
Tampa Bay has had a breakout season this year, but McCoy has contributed little. McCoy has 12 total tackles and 0 sacks. The Bucs expected major things out of McCoy and so did we. Raheem Morris is a defensive guy and the Bucs have a lot invest in "The Next Warren Sapp" so we fully expect McCoy to have a big impact at some point down the road.
2. Thinking C.J. Spiller would be awesome.
C.J. Spiller was expected to do a little bit of everything for the Bills, from returning kicks, running, and receiving. But Spiller, who was drafted 9th overall, has been a big disappointment. He has 81 yards receiving and 150 yards rushing and only two TDs - one receiving and one kick return.
3. We projected Kyle Wilson as the 11th best rookie and second best cornerback.
Wilson's confidence was shaken early in the year and with Revis Island and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets do not have an urgency to rush Wilson on the field if he cannot cover anyone. The Boise State product has struggled to get on the field after a rough couple of weeks where he could not contain anybody.
2010 NFL Rookie Fun Facts
- Mike Williams is ranked third after not being mentioned in the original top 50.
- Christopher Ivory appears at 12. He is the only undrafted rookie on our list.
- The top 25 includes 15 first rounders, 5 second rounders, 1 third, 2 fourth, 1 fifth, and the previously mentioned 1 undrafted.
- Of our initial 50 - 5 have been placed on season-ending injured reserved (Jared Odrick, Sergio Kindle, Monterio Hardesty, Derrick Morgan, Brian Price).
- Seahawks, Lions, Cheifs, Patriots each have 2 rookies on this list.
- College Conference Representation: 7 Big 12, 5 SEC, 4 PAC-10, 3 Big East, 2 Big Ten, 2 Mountain West, 1 WAC, 1 Divion II
- College Team Representation: 2 Oklahoma State, 2 Oklahoma, 2 Iowa, 2 Florida, 2 Alabama
- In 2010, four rookies quarterbacks have started (Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, and Max Hall). Tim Tebow has seen action and has two rushing TDs.
- Top 25 Postion Breakdown: 5 safeties, 2 wide receivers, 2 tight ends, 3 running backs, 1 quarterback, 4 offensive linemen, 3 linebackers, 2 defensive tackles, 3 corner backs
- Tim Toone, aka Mr. Irrelevant (the 255th pick in the draft), is on injured reserved for the Lions. Toone played college football at Weber State.
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.