The NFL Draft is one of the biggest off-season spectacles in sports, and it is also the primary route for College Seniors/Juniors/RS Sophomores to enter the National Football League. For the fans of the NFL, the Draft marks the beginning of the off-season and a rapid increase in hope. This hope puts a lot of pressure onto the recently drafted rookies, and some of them flame out…while others end up succeeding.
The goal of this post is to take a look at what rookies I think will be succeeding in 2013, the rookie I think will surprise us most down the road, and the rookie who I think will completely flame out over the long hall. So, buckle up everyone…it is going to be an interesting ride.
Top Five Rookies That Are Going to Succeed in 2013:
1) WR Tavon Austin (St. Louis): The Rams felt like QB Sam Bradford needed a speed threat out at wide receiver, and they went out and got it in Tavon Austin. While he was at West Virginia, Austin was one of the most explosive receivers on the Mountaineers roster. He posted an incredible career average of 11.9 yards per catch, with 29 receiving touchdowns while in college…and the Rams hope that he will continue to produce at the NFL level; and I think he will.
2) G Chance Warmack (Tennessee): Warmack brings the beef to the Music City. He stands at 6′ 2″ and weighs in at a whopping 317 pounds. There isn’t a whole lot stats for guards in college football, but from what I’ve seen in his highlight reels…Warmack played a key part in keeping the A.J. McCarron upright. Jake Locker has to be stoked to have that kind of talent/skills on the line that is protecting him, although I doubt it makes Locker a better NFL QB.
3) RB Montee Ball (Denver): In his college career, Montee Ball scored 83 total touchdowns (an FBS record)..in case you were wondering that’s a truckload of touchdowns. Ball achieved the record by being on of the more complete players on the Wisconsin roster, and as a result of his consistency he touched the football an incredible 924 times during his college career. In Ball’s senior season at Wisky, he caught 10 passes for 72 yards; still short of his best year (his junior year), in which he caught 24 passes for 306 yards. I have a feeling that Peyton Manning is excited to get that kind of weapon in the backfield.
4) DE Björn Werner (Indianapolis): Werner was an absolute beast of a pass rusher while he was at Florida State, he racked up 23.5 sacks in three seasons (his most impressive season being his senior year where he had an eye-popping 13.0 sacks). His ability to just absolutely blow up the opposing offensive linemen was on full display at FSU, and I fully expect him to develop into that dominating pass rusher in the NFL as well. Fortunately for Werner, he is going to get every chance during his rookie year to learn at the NFL level, as he is expected to be one of the starters for Indy this season (their defense was so bad last year, that ESPN was actually predicting a defensive collapse before the 2012 season started…ouch).
5) CB Desmond Trufant (Atlanta): Desmond Trufant became the third Trufant to join the ranks of the NFL after a pretty good senior season at the University of Washington (I’m gonna take a moment here to say Fuck the Huskies). He showed an incredible amount of development and growth from his Junior year to his senior year, and it made him a no brainier first round pick. Trufant is the guy that the Falcons hope will help them shore up their secondary, and be the solution over the long hall. I think that he can be the guy down there in Georgia.
The Rookie who Is going to flame out is…..
…..QB Geno Smith (Jets): Smith has gone through more agents than anyone athlete in recent memory, and the fact that he fell to the second round despite his impressive college career indicates that there is something just a bit off with Geno. Despite Smith’s impressive 4.67 TD to INT ratio, he struggled with making the right pre- and post-snap reads. In fact, is receivers almost always bailed him out of his bad decisions. That is something that is not going to happen at the NFL, because the talent gap isn’t nearly as extreme as it is in College…and I fully expect to Geno Smith to not be able to make the adjustment.
The Rookie who is going to take a while to develop but become a force once he does develop, is…..
…..DE Travis Long (Philadelphia): Travis Long was probably one of the best defensive players in the Pac-12 over his tenure at Washington State, but the constant ineptitude of the program kept him hidden from the National spot light. Long had a dominate senior season before probably tearing his ACL in the second to last game of the 2012 season [Insert smart ass-Mike Leach doesn’t talk about injuries-comment here]. The fact that he was even ready to go for off-season NFL workouts for the 2013 season is a testament to the type of person that Long is (and the rehab regime he no undoubtedly put him self through), but ACL injuries can take a while for players to overcome…so it is probably a good thing that he is on the Eagles practice squad for the 2013 season; but don’t expect him to be hidden on practice squads for long, he is just too talented to not play in the NFL.
So that’s all for me. What do you guys think about the 2013 NFL Rookie Class?