Breaking News Broncos WR Wes Welker suspended four games for use of amphetamines. ×

NFL Mid-Season Review 2013: 12 Most Impressive Rookies

Next2 of 3Prev
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) intercepts the ball during the second half of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

LB Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills

The rookie out of Oregon does it all, doesn’t he? Alonso can bring the pain as a downhill run-stuffer, he can make key plays in coverage, and he can even blitz if needed. His trademark games came against the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals when he had two interceptions the former contest and 22 tackles in the latter, and his stat sheet is just overflowing with numbers. The man simply makes plays all over the field, and he has four interceptions, a fumble forced, a fumble recovered, and a whopping 81 tackles already this season.

CB Marcus Cooper, Kansas City Chiefs

Cooper has flown under the radar a bit, because he isn’t getting the praise the other rookies on this list have received. But he’s been just about as good as the rest of them, and he was a real steal for the Kansas City Chiefs in this year’s draft. The Chiefs took Cooper out of Rutgers (whoa, how about that one Schiano and Belichick?) with a seventh-round pick, and he’s been more than they could have ever hoped for. Cooper has simply flourished as a rookie, and he looks like a real shutdown corner in the making. Former Rutgers teammate and Patriots rookie CB Logan Ryan (selected in the third round) has impressed this season as well (two big plays in the past two games), but he hasn’t been nearly as good as Cooper, who is as assured as anyone in coverage. I mean, who would have guessed that Marcus Cooper would be the most impressive rookie cornerback through the first half of the regular season? He has a whopping 11 passes defended under his belt this season, and he definitely isn’t done yet.

TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Fred Davis has become a mere afterthought in the Washington Redskins offense thanks to the emergence of Jordan Reed, who has made a big impact since Week 1. The Florida Gators product is an elite tight end in the making, and he has 34 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns this season as the clear No. 2 option in the Redskins passing attack behind Pierre Garcon. Reed is an incredibly versatile TE, and he is somebody to continue to watch for closely.

DT Star Lotulelei, Carolina Panthers

Picking up Star Lotulelei in the first round of this year’s draft was simply a dream come true for the Carolina Panthers, and he’s and Kawann Short have formed an excellent starting defensive tackle duo. It’s something that the Panthers have needed for quite some time, as they had the worst DTs in the NFL in the period since they last made it to the playoffs in the 2008 season. The Panthers starting defensive tackles are no longer a laughingstock, but rather a pair of promising rookies in Lotulelei and Short. The former Utah star has easily been one of the most impressive  rookies of this year’s draft class, and his ability to plug up running lanes is absolutely absurd. Again, the Panthers have needed a top-flight, run-stuffing DT like Lotulelei for quite some time, and he’s been a real godsend for this defense.

Next2 of 3Prev
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Andre Ellington Arizona Cardinals Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Cincinnati Bengals Eddie Lacy Eric Reid Giovani Bernard Green Bay Packers Jordan Reed Kansas City Chiefs Keenan Allen Kiko Alonso Marcus Cooper New York Jets Notes And Analysis San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Sheldon Richardson St. Louis Rams Star Lotulelei Tyrann Mathieu Washington Redskins Zac Stacy

  • Josh Landers

    Marcus cooper was drafted by the 49ers in the 7th round, cut, and picked up by the chiefs right before the season started.

    • tm1946

      Wish we could have pointed out an actual Chief’s pick who was playing at any level other than “there is no one else” .

      • Josh Landers

        No kidding. I hope Reid starts giving Knile Davis a chance so Charles will be healthy for the playoffs. He’s tough but he can’t expect to keep up this pace all season.

        • tm1946

          Reid seems to have less confidence in Knile than I do and he sees him every day at practice…..wonder if that says anything?

          For some reason Grey is a special teamer only, not sure why and that leaves……no one. Even a vet off the street with legs only good for one series each half would help but the Chiefs released a TE, signed a G, and added a different TE to the practice squad….sort of leaves Charles as the iron man or dead man walking.

          • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

            Yeah, I totally screwed up on the Cooper part, 100% my fault on that one. I forgot that the 49ers liked him but ended up having to drop him since they have so much depth on their roster. Nice scoop by the Chiefs on that one.

  • RyansDad

    No mention of David Bahktiari , rookie left tackle of the Packers? What games have you been watching??

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      He’s played well this year, so please don’t try to insult me for leaving him off the list; I can’t mention everyone who has been impressive. I’ve been impressed by him, and it’s fine if you want to consider him a “snub” from this list.

  • Giovannoni

    Sio Moore from the raiders?

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Loved what he did against the Chiefs, and he looks like a gem in the making. I didn’t think he deserved placement in the “top 12″, but Moore could get on that shortlist soon.

      • Giovannoni

        I see what you mean. He has started coming on in the last couple weeks. Hopefully it continues.