The NFL draft and the supplemental draft are over. Contracts are being negotiated and signed. And training camp is just a whisper away. It's go time, so let's go with who will rule the rookie roost this year.
Cam Newton was a freak of nature. The quarterback class this year has a lot to live up to. While it is doubtful that any of the incoming quarterbacks will get close to Newton's year last season, there is one who will have a good enough year.
Robert Griffin III is the most notable. Griffin has landed in the best position. He will be passing to Santana Moss, Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. Griffin can hand the ball off to Roy Helu, Tim Hightower or Evan Royster. Mike Shanahan will model the offense around Griffin's talents, which include a rocket arm and the ability to run. Griffin won't reach Cam Newton's numbers but he will be productive.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Luck
Doug Martin is playing for a run offense that has no where to go but up. In 2011, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
were 30th in rushing offense. Playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at worst case he will share carries with LeGarrette Blount. Best case he will supplant the fumble prone Blount as the number one running back. Either way new coach Greg Schiano will see if he can make Doug Martin the Ray Rice of the sunshine state.
is everyone's number one. According to Fantasy Football Today
, Richardson is projected as a top ten fantasy back. Richardson joins a team that ranked 29th in rushing last season. This year the Brown's will open with a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. Everyone knows that Richardson will be the work horse for the Cleveland Browns. Playing in the defense heavy AFC North will level Richardson's stats.
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Pead
is the man. Wright is the recipient of being in the right place at the right time. Kenny Britt may see significant rest time due to an impending DUI. Even before that Britt was hobbling under multiple knee surgeries and an ACL replacement. During OTA'a Wright was already practicing in Britt's X position. Now he will be vaulted to the number one receiving position. Chris Johnson will open up the offense for the receivers. With his route running ability and explosiveness, Wright will not let the absence of Britt affect the Tennessee Titans.
is the forgotten man everywhere except Saint Louis. Quick steps into a position where he will be the number one receiver. At 6'4" and 220 pounds, Quick possesses 4.55 40 speed. His offensive line needs to rectify itself. With a healthy Sam Bradford, and Steven Jackson, Quick will help Saint Louis climb out of the purgatory that was last year.
Honorable Mention: Alshon Jeffrey
at 6'6" and 250 pounds, Fleener ran a 4.51 40-yard dash on his pro day. He is also coming into the league comfortable with the pro style offense and comfortable with his quarterback Fleener should see the passes when his quarterback Andrew Luck feels pressure and when he looks towards the end zone.
might be impressive in spite of himself. Jake Ballard is gone. Travis Beckum has a knee injury. And Bear Pascoe has not established himself in three seasons. The New York Giants
have signed former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett to a one year contract, but Bennett is considered a blocking tight end.
Honorable Mention: Ladarius Green
This year's draft class is a fluid mix of guard, center and tackle. You will find a center playing tackle, a guard playing center and none of these at the loss of talent.
should start immediately as the Pittsburgh Steelers right guard. While soft spoken and friendly, DeCastro is said to be nasty and physical once play starts. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley will make the most of DeCastro's ability to slide and block.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Zeitler
was the consensus best center in the draft. The only problem is with all the centers drafted most will play oscillating between offensive line positions. This works well for Konz who will start at right guard while waiting for veteran Todd McClure
to step away from the game. Konz will make an immediate impact.
Honorable Mention: Ben Jones
proves good genetics help having a brother who plays for Carolina and a father who played at the highest level. Considered the best tackle to come out of the tackle factory that is USC in two decades. Kalil
is 6'7" and 295 pounds with remarkable athleticism. Going against Jared Allen during training camp will only improve his skills.
Honorable Mention: Cordy Glenn
The defensive rookies are a class of athletic underachievers. Hopefully the talent will overshadow off field issues.
was a surprise draft by the Seattle Seahawks. NFL's Mike Mayock states
, "this might be the most natural pass rusher in the entire draft. He's only 245 pounds, he's got an explosive get-off, and he's an explosive player." He won't play every down, but when in the game he has the talent to be game changer. There is no question about his ability on the field. If he can stay out of trouble off the field, the quarterbacks will feel his impact.
Honorable Mention: Shea McClellin
is now a Philadelphia Eagle. Selected 12th overall Cox will line up with a defense that had its problems at the beginning of last year. But with a full off season the Eagles look once again to be a formidable defense. Mike Patterson looks to be out of training camp and beyond while recovering from brain surgery. This will place Cox immediately in a starting position. Mike Mayock
believes Cox is the perfect body to place in the middle of the Eagles' wide -9 front. This and Cox's high risk and high reward style of play will make him an all rookie at the end of the year.
Honorable Mention: Dontari Poe
was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots. Sometimes being the best depends on where you land. Hightower has landed on his feet. The New England Patriots defense was abysmal last year, and still came within one game of winning the Super Bowl. Hightower will be a welcome addition to the Patriots' linebacking core.
Honorable Mention: Luke Kuechly
The Dallas Cowboys traded up to get Morris Claiborne
. Rob Ryan's defense needed a shut down corner. And Ryan
has stated, "We didn't move up in the draft to get a guy that's not going to play. We've got an outstanding guy here." That is all well and good but unless Ryan simplifies his defensive schemes Claiborne's talents may be caught in the quagmire. Ryan has promised to simplify his schemes, this will mean the comparisons Claiborne has drawn to Deion Saunders may be a harbinger of things to come. Claiborne is a star.
Honorable Mention: Janoris Jenkins
was the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. During his career at Alabama, Barron gathered 229 tackles, 12 interceptions, four sacks and one touchdown. Now he will be playing alongside Ronde Barber who should rid him of his tendency to be lazy. Barron reads routes and defends the run well. Alabama prepares players for the NFL. His skill set and his athleticism will propel him towards his all star rookie year.
Honorable Mention: Tavon Wilson
Nothing in this world is certain. Injuries occur, stars blaze out, small school players rev it up for the big time. Making this your NFL All Rookie Team of 2012.