Last month I conducted a directory on the top 10 NFL rookies who I felt had the most simultaneous potential to become legendary superstars and derailing draft busts.
Now, despite the fact that another writer covered this same story, I’m back via a much-needed youth trip to the Gulf, inspired, completely invigorated, and ready to take on the task with a refreshing twist.
While it’s no secret it that often takes more than one season for a star to rise to fame and a failure to plummet to shame, rookies have been known to make an early impact.
Even the lesser impact frequently becomes influential. So without further adieu, I present the top 10 rookies from the AFC South division who are most ready to resonate.
VOTP, Honorable Mentions
RB LeGarrette Blount, Titans
OLB Rennie Curran, Titans
WR/PR/KR Trindon Holiday, Texans
TE Garrett Graham, Texans
CB Kevin Thomas, CB, Colts
Verse of this Piece
“Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gets understanding. Wisdom is worth more than silver; it brings more profit than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it. With her right hand wisdom offers you a long life, and with her left hand she gives you riches and honor.” —Proverbs 3:13-16
I have written a verse of my own choosing (unless one was requested) with every new article I’ve presented since I began with after my 50th piece on Bleacher Report.
This is just something small to glorify my Lord and Savior. I hope this will inspire someone to step out, to speak without fear, and perhaps one day start somewhat of a trend. If you’d like to request a verse, send me a message via B/R.
No. 10 Dorin Dickerson (WR, Texans)
The Houston Texans found a completely earth-shattering steal in the seventh round of last April’s draft with the extremely versatile and athletic Dorin Dickerson.
Having played in several positions on both sides of the football, Dickerson will have a loose chain and very few limitations.
Albeit it’s likely he’ll breakout later on in his career, his charismatic versatile abilities could launch him down the same path as Julian Edelman, who was also a 7th-round pick.
No. 9 Myron Rolle (SS, Titans)
Rhode scholar Myron Rolle rolls into the National Football League with heavy doubts.
Like many, I don’t expect the seventh-round-pick to start right away, but he’s in good hands, groomed by an additional former Seminole in safety Chris Hope.
The sky is the limit for Rolle and he should have his opportunity to shine by season’s end.
“This is the perfect example of how brains mixed with athletic ability are the best combination in sports.”—AFC Team Leader, Assignment Desk Editor and Bleacher Report Senior Writer Daniel Wolf
No. 8 D’Anthony Smith (DT, Jaguars)
D’Anthony Smith wasn’t a great selection at first glance, but beneath the surface, he was a perfect third-round snag for the Jags.
He’s quick, explosive, and very disruptive. Moreover, he pushes the pocket well, has a high motor, good character, and is a team leader.
He won’t start immediately, but should have a promising impact in an effective rotation in the revamped defensive front.
No. 7 Damian Williams, WR, Titans
In an effort to help prevent Kenny Britt from being trapped in double coverage and one-dimensional attack, the Titans brought in third-round-pick Damian Williams.
While Williams won’t breakout with 70 catches, he should reel in around 35, all the while illustrating supreme route running and solid playmaking ability.
This should further diversify the offensive gameplan and force the opposition to respect the pass.
No. 6 Pat Angerer, LB, Colts
Pat Angerer: The name implies high levels of intensity, anger and aggression, all of which Pat Angerer possesses. Some analysts say Angerer is slightly undersized to play middle linebacker.
“What Angerer might not have in size, he makes up for with great instincts. He is a good run defender and very effective in pass coverage…”—Bleacher Report’s Bret Feddern
“A lot of good defensive players in the history of the game that weren’t quite good enough or fast enough ended up having ten or 12-year careers and Pat [Angerer] could end up being one of those guys,” said NFL Network’s Paul Burmeister.
No. 5 Jerry Hughes, DE, Colts
Jerry Hughes is expected to make an immediate impact with the Colts.
Though Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are still elite defenders and provide one of the top defensive line tandems in the league today, injuries hit without warning.
In addition, nothing hurts an opposing offensive line and signal caller more than a deft, fluctuating alternation, continuously bringing in phenomenal players with fresh legs.
No. 4 Derrick Morgan, DE, Titans
A major abyss has to be filled with the loss of Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Derrick Morgan is the man for the job, as he brings toughness, elusiveness, aggression, and so much more to the equation.
Morgan has a very promising future and I only suspect an instant impact with an abounding career for years to come.
No. 3 Ben Tate, RB, Texans
The Texans led the league in passing last season, and yet the receiving corps is even stronger.
However, Head Coach Gary Kubiak’s top priority this offseason was upgrading the running game, and he believes Ben Tate could have an immediate impact.
While Tate had some injuries, he comes off a stellar senior year at Auburn, accumulating 1,362 yards on 263 carries for a 5.2 average, with 10 touchdowns.
“The Texans are optimistic Steve Slaton will have a nice bounce-back season and they like everything they’ve seen from Arian Foster. And then there’s Tate, who could make a position of weakness one of strength,” according to Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice.
Expect to be blown away by a successful three-headed monster in second-year pro Arian Foster, the new and improved, no longer fumble and injury-prone Steve Slaton, and the very complimentary bell cow rookie Ben Tate.
No. 2 Tyson Alualu, DT, Jaguars
Questions still remain on what went through the minds in the Jaguars’ organization when they made the immense reach for Tyson Alualu with the 10th pick overall, as well as which system will be run on defense.
This will determine whether Alualu lines on the outside in a 3-4 or inside in a 4-3.
However, his excellent mindset and outstanding skills set will impede the bleeding that took place on the Jaguars’ defensive front in ’09, and I can tell he’ll quickly become a star.
And that to me is as clear as the Mediterranean Ocean.
No. 1 Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
First-round corner Kareem Jackson comes in as Dunta Robinson’s replacement and now joins forces with another former Tide defender and NFL superstar in the making in DeMeco Ryans.
Jackson possesses excellent leadership, toughness, quickness, a winner mentality, and the experience in a resembling pro system to be an ample influence in Week One.
While Jackson won’t be winning battles with Larry Fitzgerald in his first season, don’t count out the possibility soon enough, as he duels it out with Andre Johnson in practice.