Top 5 NFC East rookies to have an instant impact in 2013
Instant impact rookies in the NFL can change any team’s franchise trajectory overnight, because the margin of success in the NFL can sometimes come done to one outstanding rookie. For example, the Washington Redskins’ outstanding rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris led to a Playoff appearance, but who might be the next big rookies to turn the tide in the NFC East this season? That’s what we’re going to find out, as we find the top 5 NFC East rookies who could have an instant impact in 2013.
If the Cowboys are going to get anything done this season, they have to find more consistent threats on offense. Last season proved that when the slot receiver was getting open, the passing offense took flight, but former Cowboys’ slot receiver Kevin Ogletree was woefully inconsistent. That’s where rookie Terrance Williams comes in. If Williams can emerge as a more consistent threat in the Cowboys’ aerial attack in 2013, then the Cowboys will have a good shot to make the Playoffs. Otherwise, teams will focus on shutting down Miles Austin and find ways to limit Dez Bryant until the Cowboys’ offense becomes as one-dimensional as a vanilla milkshake. Williams can prevent that from happening and will have a good shot to make an instrumental impact on this offense in his first year.
4. Johnathan Hankins
The Giants’ 2013 draft class cannot be described as a blockbuster, but the selection of Johnathan Hankins in the second-round is worth the price of admission. Hankins will provide a major boost on a defensive line that needs to find new and younger pieces to click this season. And this 6’3, 322 pound behemoth fits the bill as a leading man, but can also play sidekick with Cullen Jenkins until he finally retires. The bottom-line is Hankins is a destructive, force of nature in the interior of any offensive line. Traits of a man the Giants covet and will take full advantage of during his rookie season.
3. Lane Johnson
When you have a top five pick in the NFL draft, you have to hit on the pick. That is exactly what the Eagles did by selecting Lane Johnson fourth overall, and all indications early on are solid. Johnson is rolling with the punches on the first-team and is everything the Eagles wanted. Good signs from a player that will be the difference between having a solid offensive line or one riddled with holes. Kelly’s offense depends as much on protecting the quarterback as any other offense does, and if Johnson hits it big in 2013, Kelly’s offense can become the envy of the NFL.
2. Travis Frederick
If a movie was used to describe what Tony Romo’s offensive line experience in 2012 was, it would be titled Running Scared. The line couldn’t run block or pass protect for most of the season. In fact, the offense depended entirely on Romo’s scrambling ability, but a more balanced offense would have led to more victories. The Cowboys’ can get that with first-rounder Travis Frederick. He’s already the confirmed starter, and Frederick made Montee Ball look good at Wisconsin. It will all be up to Frederick to create a balanced offense, but this center has the talent to make a major impression in his rookie season with ease.
1. David Amerson
If you were to point out the weakest part of the Redskins’ defense in 2012, it would be the secondary. They were ranked 30th in passing defense in 2012, and they were torched even when it was raining. So what do they do to improve that secondary? They draft David Amerson, who is by far my favorite cornerback of this draft class. Amerson reminds me of a cross between Ed Reed and Asante Samuel with his ball skills. This guy makes plays, and he’s already making a mark for himself in camp. It won’t matter if he starts or plays nickel corner, because Amerson will make plays.
James Cobern is a NFC East Division Leader for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or follow him on Twitter @Jmcobern1