Examining rookies who'll be instant starters
July 14, 2010 - by Dan Arkush
Plenty of fresh blood will be flourishing a few short months from now when another NFL regular season emerges front and center on the national sports scene.While the numbers are subject to change, youth will be served in starting lineups to the tune of 37 rookies (counting punters and return specialists), according to the updated second edition of the Pro Football Weekly and Yahoo! Sports Preview 2010 magazine, which will be available on newsstands across the country July 20.
Interestingly, while newcomers will no doubt make instant impacts on every NFL team, there are nine teams that will be starting the season with starting lineups devoid of any rookies, according to our calculations — Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay, Miami, Minnesota and New Orleans.But that's not to say there couldn't be some adjustments on both sides of the ball, with highly regarded youngsters such as Bills first-round RB C.J. Spiller and Packers third-round SS Morgan Burnett possibly replacing the likes of Fred Jackson and Atari Bigby, respectively, as starters, just to name a couple.
What follows is a rundown of the 37 projected starters, presented in order of their selection in the 2010 draft. Included in each rundown is the preseason grade assigned to the team's position group, including that player, by the PFW and Yahoo! editors.
~ ~ 27. OLG Vladimir Ducasse / Jets (2nd round / Massachusetts; 61st overall; OL grade: B-plus)
Skinny: A mauler with a wide frame, Ducasse is expected to replace Alan Faneca, who signed with the Cardinals. Ducasse has the skill set to play right tackle, too. Assistant head coach/O-line coach Bill Callahan is a proven developer of talent who should accelerate Ducasse's development. Speed and counter moves have given Ducasse trouble in the past.
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