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Five Impact Rookies


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No. 1 - Ryan Mathews – The Fresno State standout was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the 12th overall pick after trading up 16 spots to land him, and looks to immediately help a backfield that no longer has the services of the once stellar LaDanian Tomilison. The pounding, fast, running back ran for more than 1,800 yards his final year as a Bulldog and punched in an impressive 19 rushing touchdowns, both single season school records. At 6-feet tall and 220 pounds, the rookie will be a welcome and active addition to San Diego’s backfield, adding some much needed size and power to offset the elusive but diminutive Darren Sproles. Mathews should go early, so be sure to have him in your lineup by the third round or you will miss out.

No. 2 – Ben Tate – Taken in the second round with the 56th overall pick by the Houston Texans, the Auburn running back should quickly become a factor in the crowded Houston backfield. Having played all four years the Auburn Tiger rushed 263 times his senior year running for more than 1,300 yards and posting 10 rushing touchdowns. While splitting carries with Steve Slaton and others in the Houston backfield will limit Tate’s effectiveness, the powerful and quick back could earn the lion’s share of the carries by mid-season. You should be able to land Tate in the mid-to-late rounds of your draft and stow him on your bench until he takes over the Houston backfield.

No. 3 – Dez Bryant – While most wide receivers fail to be true impact players in their rookie campaigns the often troubled, yet immensely talented, Bryant could just be the exception to the rule. While Dallas is taking a risk on a player that was suspended the final nine games of his 2009 season, they are also landing a player that in 2008 caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 17 yards a reception. With Roy Williams struggling to take hold in ‘Big D,’ just as he did in Detroit, Bryant looks to be the impact wide-out complimenting the electric Miles Austin. With the talented Tony Romo throwing the ball and two explosive wideouts in the fold this season for Dallas, the Cowboy air attack looks to be formidable and Bryant will certainly be a large part of it. Grab Bryant by your mid rounds, as impact wide receivers will go fast this year.

No. 4 - C.J. Spiller – The Buffalo Bills chose the Clemson Tiger with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2010 draft for good reason. Spiller is a speedy playmaker looking to score every time he touches the ball. In his senior year at Clemson, Spiller ran for more than 1,200 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, and gathered another 503 yards through the air, scoring four receiving touchdowns. Spiller should be quickly worked into the Bills struggling offense, adding playmaking ability both on the ground and in the passing game. Spiller should be a nice addition to your team this year somewhere around the seventh or eighth round of your draft. If he were in a more high-powered offense I would take him sooner, but being a struggling Buffalo Bill will slow down his rookie season.

No. 5 – Jahvid Best – The California Bear running back was drafted with the 30th overall pick in the first round by the Detroit Lions. Detroit traded up with Minnesota to draft the speedster and will surely involve him early and often in the Detroit running attack. Best is an explosive athlete with rare running back speed that will challenge defenses every time he touches the ball. While Best fell in the draft due to back to back concussions his final year at California, Detroit might just have the steal of the draft if the elusive back is able to stay healthy. In his 2008 football season Best posted 1,580 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. In his 2009 season, while missing four games due to his concussions, Best still ran for 867 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. In his three year career at California, the talented Best posted 34 rushes of 20+ yards, 11 rushes of 60+ yards and four rushes of 80+ yards. Grab Best in your mid-rounds and you will not regret it.