August 15, 2013

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NFL Preseason Offensive All-Rookie Team

By: Matt Bowen

NFL fever is sweeping the land and all those infected crave the action. One of the most exciting parts of any fresh NFL season is debating the potential of the rookies. Even if your favorite team’s outlook for the 2013 campaign isn’t the brightest, at least you can hang your hopes on a shining rookie or two.

At this stage rookies may be more hype than hard evidence, more bark than bite but they sure are fun to speculate. Let’s do just that, let’s map out the NFL Offensive All-Rookie Team.

Kick Returner/Offensive Weapon: Hey, these guys may not be the biggest or strongest, but they are the scariest man on the field with the ball in their hands.

A Close Second: Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Who knows where this kid will line up on the field, but defenses will have a close eye on him. In open space, Denard Robinson is deadly. There may be no stopping him. The only problem for the Jacksonville Jaguars will be to get Robinson enough touches without tipping their hat. They’ll have to get crafty when it comes to play calling—Robinson can be used as a decoy, but he can’t be depended on to consistently block defenders. The Jaguars certainly can’t give him the pigskin every time he steps onto the field. This is a project that may take 6-8 weeks to iron out. Stay tuned for the Denard Show.

Winner: Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo Bills

One way to win over your new teams is to take a kick-off 107 yards to the house in your first NFL action. Marquise Goodwin did just that as he made it known that he belongs. He may have only touched the ball twice, but a 160 yards and a score will turn some heads.

Goodwin is now a shoe-in as the Bills return man this season. Combine that with the potential of becoming the third receiver and the biggest home run threat in the offense and we have a winner. Goodwin is pure dynamite.

Tight End: This position has been the NFL “it” position for a few years now. Having a viable threat at this position is critical to any team’s success.

With Rob Gronkowski's health uncertain, Zach Sudfeld could play a big role for the Patriots this season.

A Close Second: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals now have a dual threat at the tight end position. Defenses will now have to account for Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. The Bengals drafted Eifert because of his route running/pass catching ability. Due to slot receiver Andrew Hawkins falling to injury for some time to come, Eifert will get every chance to succeed.

Winner: Zach Sudfeld, New England Patriots

He may have gone undrafted, but New England Patriots rookie tight end Zack Sudfeld just may start Week 1.

With the health of Rob Gronkowski in question, Sudfeld has a chance to burst onto the scene in 2013. He has already done something so many have tried to do and failed before him. Sudfeld has impressed Bill Belichick.

The rest seems easy as Sudfeld will become a household name this season.

Wide Receiver: Being the head of the class is a distinct honor. These wide receivers will be most impressive.

A Close Second: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

Cordarrelle Patterson is such a weapon that the Minnesota Vikings don’t even know how to use him yet. That’s a good problem to have, a very good problem.

The team will get him the ball whether it be on offense or special teams and spectacular things are bound to happen. Thanks to the Vikings having running back Adrian Peterson be the focal point of the offense, Patterson will thrive this year.

One word comes to mind when one thinks of Patterson’s potential—touchdowns.

Winner: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

The following statement is not exaggerated—DeAndre Hopkins will be the most exciting player on the Houston Texans in 2013. This, of course, can’t be done with help from stars Andre Johnson and Arian Foster to keep the enemy off balance.

Hopkins will reap the rewards of having a mentor in Johnson. He’ll also feast against opponent’s No. 2 cornerbacks. He’s a freak—don’t be shocked when he topples 1,000 receiving yards.

He’ll instantly be a fan favorite.

Running Back: Becoming trusted at this position is a tough task so these kids must be something special.

A Close Second: Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks are a run based team and Marshawn Lynch can’t go Beast Mode all the time. That’s where Christine Michael comes into play and play he will. Michael is a fine package of size and finesse. A solid preseason will ensure regular season carries with regularity.

He’s quickly winning over his new teammates and looks to carry that momentum into the season.

Winner: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Early implications point to Le’Veon Bell bringing back smash-mouth football to the Pittsburgh Steelers now and for years to come. Diehard black and yellow fans have to be smiling from ear-to-ear with elation.

Bell provides plenty of promise and is someone the classic NFL franchise need to restore their tough-as-nails image. He’s a workhorse making him the perfect fit for this team.

Because of him the Steelers are considered dangerous this season. He’ll also start from Week 1, giving him a leg up on his classmates.

Quarterback: Franchise cornerstones wanted.

A Close Second: No Contest

Winner: E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills

Hats off to the Buffalo Bills for turning the draft upside down when they selected quarterback E.J. Manuel earlier than expected.

Now, it looks like Manuel will start. Why not start Manuel—due to the success of last year’s rookie class, the pressure is off the organization. Also, Bills fans are much more excited for the immediate future with Manuel behind center rather than his competition.

He creates excitement and that ultimately puts butts in seats.

As for the rookie class, Manuel is in a class of his own. The franchise did a nice job of bringing in rookie pass catchers to grow with their quarterback.

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