By Rob Staton
Mel Kiper has posted an article listing the rookies he believes have impact-potential in 2010. You'll need to be an ESPN insider to read the article in full, but there is a Seahawks representative. Kiper names four defensive 'shoe-ins' who he expects will hit the ground running in year one. Aside from Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Eric Berry - Earl Thomas is also listed.
"I think Thomas might even have a chance to make a bigger impact early than Eric Berry, just because his pass-coverage skills are so advanced, and his instincts so good that it's hard to imagine that he won't quickly be stepping in front of some passes at the NFL level. Thomas just makes you a better pass-coverage unit, period."
- Mel Kiper, ESPN
My own personal opinion is to only ever be surprised when rookies have a huge impact. Of the top ten picks last year, only Mark Sanchez had a lasting impact. Even still, he was inconsistent and erratic during the regular season. He was helped significantly in the post season by excellent defense and a good running game, but kept things together. Michael Crabtree was excellent considering he missed time early due to an extended hold out, but was too late to help the 49ers make a realistic push for the post season.
Aaron Curry probably would've been listed in a similar 'shoe-in' list last year. Unfortunately, despite a bright start the linebacker saw a decrease in game-time and impact as the Seahawks slumped to 5-11. Both of Seattle's first round picks (and second rounder Golden Tate) will be put on the field quickly. The need for patience is vital though amongst pundits and fans alike. Potential is one thing, execution and consistency is another. A good year for Seattle's top rookie's will be a great understanding of their schemes and the knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
If the numbers don't match the quality of experience, it won't necessarily be a negative.