The 2011 NFL Draft is over and many of us are hoping the selected players will be able to provide an immediate impact. With free agency on hold, the only hope we have for an immediate improvement are the rookies. Free agency will take place but without knowing the specifics we have no choice but to rely on the draft selections. Below is my list of the top 5 3rd round players I expect to have an immediate impact.
1. Austin Pettis- WR- St. Louis Rams
- The Rams have limited wide receiver options and non that possess Pettis's size. He will be asked to play a possession receiver roll utilizing his size to gain position on the defensive back. Pettis could have a big impact because of the presence of Sam Bradford who will be looking to build off his rookie season.
2. Demarcus Van Dyke-CB- Oakland Raiders
- Oakland has some depth issues at the cornerback position which means Van Dyke will be competing for immediate playing time. He has good speed but his lack of instincts could make it a long season for the rookie. None the less, he should receive plenty of playing time.
3. Terrell McClain-DT- South Florida
- McClain is in a good situation as the Panthers don't have much talent at the defensive tackle position. I fully expect McClain to get early playing time and be asked to penetrate the pocket. His ability to penetrate will lead to some sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
4. Martez Wilson- LB- New Orleans Saints
- Greg Williams employs an aggressive style of defense that relies on creating pressure. Wilson possesses the speed and rush ability to get after the quarterback. So I expect the creative Williams to find different ways to work Wilson into the rotation and utilize his athletic ability.
5- Jerrell Jernigan- WR- New York Giants
- Jernigan is an extremely quick and shifty receiver. He will likely get plenty of opportunities in the kicking game as he has game breaking return ability. The Giants will also look to get him the ball in space and let him create. His quickness and big play ability are too much to keep off the field.