Instant impact: An NFL scout identifies 10 rookies who will shine in 2010
Now that the draft is over, fans are wondering how soon their teams' new players will be on the field. An AFC college scouting coordinator names 10 rookies he thinks will make instant impacts:
1. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers. "I anticipate him coming right in and being the starter. He's an every-down back who's ready to play in the NFL. With that offense, he'll probably be a very productive back in his first year.
A combination of talent and system makes Ryan Mathews a candidate to be an immediate contributor."It puts (Darren) Sproles back in a position that allows him to be more successful, where he's a versatile type of player."
2. Trent Williams, LT, Redskins. "After going out and getting Donovan McNabb, they're not looking to be a building-block, down-the-road type team. Trent is going to have to come in, man that left tackle position from Day 1 and protect the blind side of a veteran quarterback.
"Sometimes if you're a left tackle and you're new, maybe you start midseason, or maybe you start at right tackle and then move to the left. There's a little bit less pressure. But they're going to ask him to come right in and be that starter and play at a high level early. I think he has that type of ability."
3. C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills. "Fred Jackson could be the starter. But I see C.J. in Chan Gailey's offense being that speedy, electrifying type back that he likes, and also being a punt and kick returner.
"He can come in and impact that team from a speed and athletic standpoint, and help the quarterback with his game: dink-and-dunk passes out of the backfield, screens, draws—the type of things that take pressure off the offensive line, which isn't a strength, and the quarterback, who didn't have a great year last year."
4. Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings. "Toby is going to be one of those guys who spells Adrian Peterson, and in games where they have a big lead, want to run the clock out, and pound on teams, he's going to be that guy.
"After teams have been chasing Peterson around all day, Gerhart can come in and get the last 12 carries of a game. And Gerhart probably can help prolong Peterson's career, because he'll take some of that work load off Adrian."
5. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys. "Dez is talented enough to put up some big numbers. He's the best receiver to come out in the last two years. The pressure's not on him to succeed early, but I think he will. He's too talented not to."
1. Rolando McClain, MLB, Raiders. "I think he'll take over that inside spot and be a leader on a defense that has really needed one. They have some solid players there, but they haven't had a bell cow, a guy who can really take over the defense. I think Rolando is going to do that from Day 1.
"I think that's his personality, the type of traits that he has, those leadership intangibles. He's going to come in and it's going to be his team."
2. Eric Berry, S, Chiefs. "He's going to be the starter in Week 1. He's going to be one of the most talented guys on the defense when he steps in. He's got a good coordinator there in Romeo Crennel, and I think they're going to find ways to put him in the action and have him make plays. And he will make plays.
"Eric is going to come in and be a playmaker for that defense. I think he'll be an impact player in the run game and he'll make plays in the passing game, too. In the next three or four years, he's going to be one of the top safeties in the league."
3. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions. "Suh has a chance to be really good from Day One, because his skills already are at a pro level. He wasn't asked to be an attacking style of player at Nebraska. But when he does, he has a chance to be a big-time player because they're not going to be able to double-team in the NFL like they did on every play in college.
"Kyle Vanden Bosch deserves a chip from tight ends and running backs, Corey Williams is a good player who will be better in this attacking style of defense, and Cliff Avril is an up-and-coming pass rusher. Instead of the defensive line being a weakness, they've just made it a team strength."
4. Major Wright, S, Bears. "Wright was a three-year player at Florida. He played at a high level there. Because he wasn't drafted until the third round, I think he's going to come in and probably be one of those 'where did this kid come from' kind of guys.
"I think he's going to play early in his career, probably start early in his career. He's going to be a nice impact player for the Bears, who needed a safety with that kind of ability."
5. Daryl Washington, ILB, Cardinals. "He's going to fill that Karlos Dansby role. They've got an opening there (at inside linebacker), and I'm sure when they drafted him they envisioned him taking that spot. He and Dansby have a similar skill set; they both have good size and they both run well.
"As long as he can pick up the defense—that's where Daryl was maybe behind the top-level linebackers—he has a chance to play a good role, because they have a good front with Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and those guys."
Dennis Dillon is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org