Football Wagering – Five Rookies That Lead The New School
Ever heard your parents use the saying “If only you would spend more time focusing on your homework as you do on your cell phone, your grades would be better?” Well this is exactly the reason why coaches, scouts and team personnel spend endless hours “doing their homework” - scouting, analyzing and determining every minuscule detail of the abilities of college players to find out who has the goods to make it to the next level, to find the best possible draft picks; the next Peyton Manning, Ben Rothlisberger or Reggie Bush. Team personnel understand how critical it is to make good choices or the results could mean the difference between drafting Darren McFadden and Chris Johnson. Additional hours are spent trying to decipher who will be the Marques Colston’s of the draft class; those late round dark horses that have a slim chance of making the team and/or getting any playing time who ultimately become premiere players in the NFL. Here are 5 rookies this upcoming season that will make a major impact on the field:
Ryan Mathews – Running Back - San Diego Chargers – 12th overall pick
With LaDainian Tomlinson taking his talents elsewhere, Mathews is in a position to become the future running back of the San Diego Chargers. He will be inserted into the starting lineup very early on in the season and will carry the load with Darren Sproles whom the Chargers like to use as a do-everything back rather than a straight running back. Mathews has landed in a great position to get a significant amount of touches and make a valuable impact if he can prove that he has the goods to carry the ball and break through tackles.
Sam Bradford –Quarterback - St. Louis Rams – first overall pick
With the Marc Bulger era over in St. Louis, A.J. Feeley is taking the snaps… for now. The Rams are simply going through the motions until they feel that quarterback Sam Bradford is ready to step into the starting role. The former Heisman trophy winner and Oklahoma standout has looked good during workouts and scrimmage. After having surgery on his shoulder, team personnel were worried that his throwing abilities would be limited. However, he has looked solid in training camp with good accuracy and arm strength on the ball. With A.J. Feeley having limited experience as a starter in the National Football League, it won’t be long before Sam Bradford takes to the field and has his chance to shine.
Ben Tate – Running Back - Houston Texans – 87th overall pick
Last season the Houston Texans were dreadful when it came to running the ball at a meager 92 yards per game for 30th in the league. Although Tate is third on the depth chart at the moment behind Steve Slayton and Arian Foster, he has impressed coaches at training camp with his size and speed and is vying to start the season behind Steve Slayton. Slayton, who only rushed for 437 yards last season, is better suited for passing situations, which will open up an opportunity for Tate to be the featured back. Look for Ben Tate to move up the depth chart quickly and perhaps be holding the ball full-time by season’s end.
Dez Bryant – Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys – 24th overall pick
Dez Bryant was a great choice for the Dallas Cowboys on draft day; he will fit into the Cowboys system with his length and explosive speed and will be another option for Tony Romo alongside Miles Austin and Roy Williams at the wide receiver position. Bryant is competing with Roy Williams with the hope of moving into the number two spot on the depth chart. If he impresses offensive coordinator Jason Garrett you can be sure that he will get his touches. Bryant will likely get some playing time on special teams with punt and kickoff returns, another area where he has the opportunity to make an instant impact.
Joe McKnight – Running Back - New York Jets – 112th overall pickJoe McKnight is my dark horse pick for this draft. McKnight was supposed to be the second coming of Reggie Bush at USC. Although he didn’t fully live up to the hype, Joe McKnight had a great junior season at USC rushing for just over 1,000 yards. Although McKnight is behind both Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson on the depth chart, he has the versatility to catch passes in the open field and the speed to play on special teams as a kick return specialist. He will not see many carries at the running back position but Rex Ryan and the Jets staff will find a way to use McKnight, perhaps in the same fashion the San Diego Chargers use Darren Sproles.