More and more NFL rookies are expected to contribute early in their careers. However, for them to make an impact they need to beat out a veteran player. We are going to analyze the situation of specific rookies and determine the likely hood of them winning a position battle.
Player: Sam Acho
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Position: Outside Linebacker
Chance of winning the battle: 55 percent
Thoughts:The Cardinals used the draft to continue improving the defensive side of the ball. One of the priorities for Arizona was to find someone that could create pressure. Arizona has to replace Joey Porter arguably their best pass rusher and may lean on rookie Sam Acho to fill that void.
Acho played defensive end at Texas but has the athletic ability to make the adjustment to outside linebacker. He does a good job using his speed and quickness to attack the edge. His wide array of pass rush moves makes it difficult for offensive lineman to hold him at bay. Acho not only rushes the quarterback but also does a nice job making plays in the running game. His hand usage and technique allows him to stack, shed, and purse the football. Obviously, Acho will need to work on his pass coverage as he transitions to the linebacker position.
The Cardinals linebacking corps is lacking good depth and great talent. Acho will be battling Clark Haggans and O'Brien Schofield for playing time. Haggans and Schofield combined for 6 sacks last season meaning neither is guaranteed a starting gig. Acho will have a good opportunity to come in and contribute early and possibly earn a starting role.