Another season is upon us and a fresh batch of rookies with that, headlined by #1 pick Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. They’ve only had a few weeks to learn the playbooks so we could easily see some late bloomers in this class as they come to grips with the speed of the NFL. Out of this group I’ve selected three who are my favorites to shine straight away and be in the running for the Rookie Of The Year award. Also look out for Weekly Watch as I look into emerging rookie talent every week come the start of the season.
1. Cam Newton
Carolina Panthers, QB
He did everything right on the field with Auburn and Panthers saw no different in picking him #1 overall. Newton has the athleticism, skills and brings an excitement to the game that could see him as a fan favorite very early on. The Panthers have done a great job keeping the talent around Newton by re-signing RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Steve Smith along with acquiring TE Greg Olsen and several other off-season moves. The team has talent all round and it’s up to Newton to bring his team out of a slump.
2. A.J. Green
Cincinnati Bengals, WR
A freak with the Georgia Bulldogs and I don’t see no different in the NFL. Bengals have seen some tough times this off-season with franchise QB Carson Palmer retiring in a strange soap opera style standoff with team management and also the loss of veteran WR Chad Ochocinco. Needles to say, the Bengals need a fresh start and with acquiring Green they get just that. He may already have garnered enough respect from opposing teams to deserve extra attention out on the field and it will be up to him to step it up and make some amazing plays, no matter who the QB is.
3. Julio Jones
Atlanta Falcons, WR
A talented player on a very talented team. Jones may just be in the best position out of all the top tier rookies as he comes into a successful offense that was missing a piece in the puzzle and Jones is just that, makes sense the Falcons traded up to get him. Look for Jones to be a deep threat for QB Matt Ryan and alongside talented players like Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner, I’m certain this offense will be rolling throughout the season.