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The NFL preseason is off, and the rookies are ready to show coaches, scouts, and general managers why they were drafted, and signed. Some rookies are off to faster starts than most, and are have coaches eyes on how they might contribute to the 2011 regular season.
Which of the rookies shined the most during Week One of preseason?
Well, here are ten rookies who showed promise:
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Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, and guided Alabama to the 2009 BCS title, had a more quiet 2010 season, and his draft stock dropped a little. Ingram was the first running back chosen in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Last weekend, Ingram got to take the NFL field for the first time. It may be the preseason, but Ingram left his mark. Ingram showed off his power by breaking tackles in the win against the 49ers the same way he did in the SEC while at Alabama.
Ingram scored his first touchdown against the 49ers, where he bounced a defender, and spun to score. Ingram carried the ball six times for 23 yards.
Ingram will be one of many Saints running backs this season. The Saints also have Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, and Darren Sproles. We have to wonder how Sean Payton will use the power that Ingram brings to the field.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
Randall Cobb was a second round draft pick out of Kentucky for the Green Bay Packers. Cobb fits the Packers perfectly. Cobb has a mix of explosive speed, good hands, and the ability to make yards after the catch.
Coaches in Green Bay are drooling over Cobb’s skill set and talent. Perhaps just what the Packers need since they had Desmond Howard in the 1990s.
Saturday against Cleveland, Coach McCarthy got to see firsthand Cobb at his finest. Cobb caught three passes for 60 yards, one of which was for 28 yards. Cobb also returned two kickoffs for 58 yards.
Cobb has gotten the playbook down well for missing the offseason due to the lockout, and is mentally in the right football mind.
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
Stevan Ridley, a running back out of LSU made his mark for the New England Patriots last Thursday night. The Patriots filled with running backs, are always looking for that back who can provide a bang, and Ridley did just that. Shane Vereen was injured and Ridley stepped in and made the most of it.
Ridley, the third round pick, scored three touchdowns against the Jaguars. Two on the ground and one in the air. Ridley rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries. Ridley caught seven passes for 47 yards.
One of his touchdowns, Ridley had quick feet and scored from one yard out. Ridley, may be projected to be third down back, and Belichick said he played hard against the Jaguars.
Ridley is only 5’11” and 225 pounds, but can produce contact runs, and the Patriots definitely got the most out of him in their first preseason game.
Dwayne Harris, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Dwayne Harris, wide receiver out of East Carolina, went out big in his preseason debut for the Cowboys against the Broncos. The sixth round draft pick caught five passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, one of which that set up the winning two point conversion.
Tony Romo may have a new secret weapon to throw to when Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten are covered.
Harris’ biggest catch came early in the fourth quarter that was an initial five yard catch, but turned it into a 76 yard touchdown. Jason Garrett was happy.
Darryl Gamble, ILB, San Diego Chargers
Darryl Gamble, ILB out of Georgia, turned heads for the San Diego Chargers in their opening preseason game.
Gamble was an undrafted free agent and had six tackles, two for a loss, and one for a sack in the Chargers loss to the Seahawks. Gamble was also hurt in the game.
The NFLFootballNow.com blog couldn’t have summed it up any better. Gamble could have a similar impact like Frank Zombo had on the Packers last year
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and first overall draft pick, played for the Carolina Panthers in their Week One preseason game Saturday, and helped lead the Panthers to the win.
Newton went 8 for 19 in the game passing for 134 yards. Newton had zero touchdowns or interceptions.
Newton has been wowing at Panthers training camp, or that’s the way head coach Ron Rivera addressed Newton. Newton’s running ability has gave him a second threat to use against opposing defenses.
Today, the Panthers told ESPN.com that Newton is still No.2 on the depth chart to Jimmy Clausen. Newton is competing against Clausen, and Derek Anderson.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders
Head coach Hue Jackson said Denarius Moore, “wowed,” in practice dominating practice, and quarterback Jason Campbell described him as another Jacoby Ford. Moore is a fifth round draft pick out of Tennessee.
Moore is a shorter receiver at six foot, and 195 pounds for NFL receivers but has the speed to get past cornerbacks.
Moore caught three passes for 37 yards in Oakland‘s first preseason game. Moore averaged 12.3 yards a catch.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker may not be the starting quarterback come September, but the future holds brightly for this kid. Locker, drafted eight overall by Tennessee, came in the game as a the backup to Matt Hasselbeck against the Vikings.
Locker connected on seven of ten passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Locker’s touchdown pass was a 45 yard toss to Yamon Figurs.
Locker will get to learn from the veteran Hasselbeck, who has gone to the Super Bowl in his career as a NFL quarterback.
Marcell Dareus, DT, Buffalo Bills
Marcell Dareus, the third overall draft pick by the Buffalo Bills, was described as a “man among beasts,” by radio host Joe Buscaglia of Buffalo.
Dareus has a great work ethic, and the Bills are hoping he and Shawne Merriman can revamp a defense that struggled a year ago.
Dareus had a solid first preseason game, recording a sack.
Lance Kendricks, TE, St. Louis Rams
Lance Kendricks, a second round draft pick out of Wisconsin was brought in to be a huge target for the up and coming Sam Bradford. Kendricks was just that in his first preseason game.
Kendricks had five receptions for 47 yards, and a touchdown. The touchdown was a six yard pass from Bradford. Kendricks was targeted seven times, and picked up 9.4 yards a catch.
The NFC West is rather weak, and the Rams almost made the playoffs last season after going 1-15 the previous season.
The Rams went out and got new targets for Bradford to strengthen the receiving game.