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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Aug. 20, 2010

Three defensive rookies to watch in training camp

By Senior Airman Patrick McKenna 316th Wing Public Affairs

Editor's Note - This is part two of a two-part series discussing the most intriguing offensive and defensive rookies to keep an eye on during the preseason.

It's been almost four months since the NFL Draft and the talk of the uncertain futures of the top rookies has shifted to shock and awe over their record setting contracts, their prospective attributes in Madden 2011 and, most importantly, excitement over which ones will help turn their franchise around. Some defensive positions traditionally take more time to master than others and that played a factor into these rankings.

This article will analyze three defensive rookies that should be on your radar whether you're looking at them as potential saviors to your favorite football team or just as the latest batch of human highlight reels to enter the NFL.

Ndamukong Suh, DL, Detroit Lions - If you watched any college football last season, this name should be familiar to you. It certainly is to Colt McCoy and the other Big Twelve quarterbacks that Suh terrorized all year. Suh was labeled one of the best defensive lineman prospects to enter the draft in recent memory. A defensive lineman that is big enough to take up blockers at the nose tackle position, yet explosive enough to get to the quarterback. He was drafted by the Lions, whose coach Jim Schwartz maximized the ability of another talented defensive lineman (Albert Haynesworth) while at Tennessee. Suh's impact with the Lions has already been felt in their first preseason game where he immediately faced double teams from the Steelers. This opened up the pass rush for teammates Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril and Corey Williams. Suh is a huge step in the Lions rebuilding efforts and should immediately help in the team's efforts to contain guys like Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

Eric Berry, DB, Kansas City Chiefs - What do Ronnie Lott and Ed Reed have in common? Aside from being two of the most dominant safeties to ever play in the NFL, they are both often mentioned when discussing the potential of Berry. Is that crazy talk for someone who has yet to take a snap in a regular season game? Sure. But, Berry possesses all the necessary skills to excel in the NFL. Most draft experts felt he was the best overall player in the entire draft. He fell to the fifth pick because NFL teams are still stuck in the mindset that safeties shouldn't be drafted as high as other positions. Berry could change that way of thinking. He is a ball hawk in the mold of Reed who can drop deep in coverage, intercept a pass and return it for a touchdown. He also isn't scared to come up to the line of scrimmage and defend the run. The Chiefs defense is still a work in progress, but with new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and Berry on board, they have a chance to turn things around quickly.

Kyle Wilson, DB, New York Jets - The New York Jets have a polarizing effect for fans. Some love their brashness and head coach Rex Ryan's propensity for four letter words. Others think they talk to much for a team that has yet to win anything. Wilson was considered a very good cover corner going into the draft and some had him slated to be drafted in the first half of the round. He fell to the Jets and it couldn't be a more perfect situation. The Jets are currently without all world cornerback Darrelle Revis who's holding out with no end in sight. Wilson will be relied upon to pick up some of the slack and the better he does, the deeper the line in the sand the Jets can draw with Revis. Wilson has a lot of pressure on him, but as long as the Jets pass rush gets to the quarterback he will have a great shot to excel.