Sporting News Draft Dish: Early look at impact rookies-to-be
Draft Dish: Early look at impact rookies-to-be
Feb. 4, 2007
By War Room scouts
Although it is most important to evaluate all the players of a particular draft class correctly in terms of how good each prospect will turn out to be in the NFL, most fantasy -- and for that matter, reality -- football fans want to know which rookies-to-be are most likely to start right away and make an immediate impact.
Below are 10 such 2007 rookies-to-be who are expected to start or play a significant role in the fall for whichever team drafts them this spring:
1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech. Johnson is a very polished receiver who is as ready as any recent rookie receiver to come into the NFL to play well early. He will catch many passes and will score more touchdown than most veteran NFL receivers because of his ability to dominate in jump ball situations in the end zone.
2. Ted Ginn Jr., WR/KR/PR, Ohio State. Ginn is very raw as a receiver and will not make a big early impact by catching passes. However, he will impact games immediately as a return man because he has the athleticism, explosiveness, elusiveness and speed to consistently help his team win the field position battle and go the distance any time he touches the ball.
3. Joe Thomas, T, Wisconsin. Thomas won't be a dominant player as a rookie, but he will start from Week 1 and by midseason he should be a solid, consistent tackle who protects the quarterback well. He will really stand out if he goes to a team that has great offensive skill talent but has struggled recently because of its bad line play -- such as Arizona or Tampa Bay.
4. Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State. Miller is a great athlete with the quickness and speed to get away from pass coverage and also shows the hands to make great catches. He will make an immediate impact as a receiver and will significantly help the other receivers on his team by forcing the defense to pay much attention to him.
5. Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami (Fla.). Meriweather is a defender with the smarts, instincts, toughness and competitiveness to make plays all over the field. He is the type of player who consistently makes more plays than you would expect after just looking at him.
6. Paul Posluszny, OLB, Penn State. Posluszny will be back to 100 percent by the time the '07 season kicks off after playing his senior year at about 80 percent after injuring the PCL in his right knee in the 2006 Orange Bowl against Florida State. He is a highly competitive linebacker who flies around the field and has an explosive closing burst to finish plays.
7. Adam Carriker, DT, Nebraska. Carriker is a very powerful defensive linemen with both the size (6-6 1/4, 292) and strength to be a force at the point of attack and the athleticism to beat single pass blocks. His big advantage over many other rookie defensive linemen is his versatility, which will allow him to be productive (in terms of sacks) in almost any defensive scheme.
8. Greg Olsen, TE, Miami (Fla.). Olsen, keeping up the Hurricane tradition being carried by Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow, is another rookie tight end with the natural athleticism, speed and hands to contribute quickly as a receiver. Although both Olsen and Miller lack the elite athleticism and speed of current 49er Vernon Davis from the '06 draft, they both are more polished receivers while entering the NFL.
9. Reggie Nelson, S, Florida. Nelson will make his early mark on both defense and special teams. He will make some mistakes that hurt his team because of his over-aggressiveness, but in key spots he will continue his knack for making big plays.
10. Jon Beason, OLB, Miami (Fla.). Beason, a very athletic and explosive linebacker, attacks plays and makes hard, violent hits all over the field. He plays with the smarts, instincts, intensity and competitiveness to be around the ball on nearly every play.
GM Jr. Scouting LLC is a football scouting service that analyzes NFL draft prospects for Sporting News.