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2009 ROOKIES TO WATCH   

1. CHRIS WELLS (RB):  

 Wells has had ankle problems that have kept him from practicing on a regular basis for Arizona, but HC Whisenhunt likes him a lot. He is a better overall running back than second year back Tim Hightower and should overtake Hightower for the starting position as soon as he proves to be healthy.  He is a big back who runs with power and explosion.  It’s still unclear whether Hightower will retain his goal line carries like he did last year or will Wells carry the load as well as the goal line duties, either way, Wells is worth drafting and stashing away for later on in the season.

  

2.  DONALD BROWN (RB):  

The Colts picked Brown in the 1st round of the draft this season even though they had a quality RB in Joseph Addai.  This can mean only one of two things:  first and foremost, Addai’s knee may not be completely healed thus causing concern for the Colts that Addai may not hold up for the entire season and insurance may be necessary; or second the Colts may be looking to go to a 2-back committee style running game.  This should work primarily because Brown is a different style runner than Addai.  Brown runs with quickness and elusiveness and has the explosive ability to take it all the way to the house on any carry.  He makes for a great handcuff for Addai owners and carries value on his own because of the team he plays for. 

  

3.  KNOWSHON MORENO (RB): 

 Moreno would be at the top of all rookie RB lists except for the fact that he banged up his knee in training camp.  He has been limited in practices so far and does have plenty of competition in the Broncos backfield.  I do believe he is the best RB they have but this is going to be another committee style running game and his role in it is still undetermined.  Even though he’s very talented and put up great numbers at Georgia, I would probably draft him late in most drafts and take a wait-and-see approach as the season goes on. 

  

4.  PERCY HARVIN (WR):  

Minnesota was very excited to draft Harvin because of the many different skill sets he possesses.  I wouldn’t be surprise to see him lineup in every single position possible in an offense.  The word out of training camp is that he has been ELECTRIC.  He is a new toy for the coaches of Minnesota to play with and they are trying to devise many different types of plays to get Harvin isolated against inferior defenders.  The only concern I have for him is that he is small in stature and I don’t know how well he will hold up throughout an entire season, but if your league rewards for long plays, he is definitely worth a gamble. 

  

5.  MICHAEL CRABTREE (WR):  

Even though the situation in the bay area has not gotten better since he was drafted, I find it hard to believe that the Niners would be willing to give up a 1st round pick because negotiations have not gone well.  I also find it hard to believe Crabtree would sit out an entire season just because he is not getting the deal he wants.  I believe that at some point both sides will meet somewhere in the middle.  I can only hope for Crabtree’s sake that it happens sooner than later because if he waits too long his ability to contribute to the Niners this season will be limited.  Having said that, if he does sign before the season starts, he is exactly the type of WR the Niners need because he is a big, physical WR and runs just fast enough to beat defenders.  But the most important attribute I like about this player is his attitude.  He plays as if he knows that the defense isn’t on the same level as him, or should I say, even in the same universe.  The only thing that will hold Crabtree back is his negotiations with the Niners.  For those of you who have drafts that occur right before the season start, keep an eye on this situation.  If he signs before the season starts he will be well worth a mid to late round draft pick. 

  

6.  BRANDON PETTIGREW (TE): 

Pettigrew was the second of two 1st round picks by the Detroit Lions.  He was brought in to help fellow rookie QB Matthew Stafford transition into the NFL game a little easier.  With defenses concentrating on WR Calvin Johnson, Pettigrew should see plenty of one-on-one coverage and with his size, speed, and physical play should be a mismatch for most defenders.  Of course, he is only to be as good as his rookie QB will allow him to be so please temper your expectations for this rookie TE.  The news out of camp yesterday was that the Lions were shutting him down for a while to rest what they are calling a sore knee so before I would waste a draft pick on Pettigrew I would do a little research to find out what is wrong with his knee.

 

 

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