For all the attention the 10 new players on the Green Bay Packers have gotten––seven draft choices, three undrafted rookies––they're not going to have much of an impact on tonight's game or early on in the season.
First-round draft choice Derek Sherrod will be lucky to be active for tonight's game ahead of Marshall Newhouse. And even if he was active, he wouldn't see the field outside of field goal and extra point protection unless an injury were to occur.
Fifth-round draft choice and tight end D.J. Williams almost certainly will join him on the inactive list tonight as well.
They'll join rookies Davon House and Vic So'oto who have already been ruled out of tonight's game with injuries.
Those first-year players that do get on the field tonight will primarily see action on special teams. They include linebacker D.J. Smith, tight end Ryan Taylor, linebacker Jamari Lattimore and safety M.D. Jennings. And even some of them aren't locks to be active tonight either.
The two rookies with the opportunity to have the biggest impact tonight are second and third round draft choices Randall Cobb and Alex Green, and even that is a stretch.
Cobb will be the team's primary punt returner and will likely rotate with Green on kick returns. But as far as getting on the field on offense, Cobb is fifth on the wide receiver totem pole.
The Packers will probably figure out ways to include Cobb on offense and get the ball in his hands, but with four other talented wide receivers, those chances might be limited.
On top of that, those chances probably be at their fewest tonight and increase as the season progresses.
Green is in the mix to be one of the third-down backs for the Packers, but he'll be hard pressed to see any action on offense when it's crunch time or the outcome of the game is still in doubt.
And as for any kick returns Green gets, they'll probably be so deep in the endzone he won't get to return them anyway.
All of this isn't to say the 2010 rookie class is a bust.
But the influence they have over the 2011 season in the early going will be minimal at best.
As usual, injuries will occur––all anyone has to do is look at the 2010 season to be reminded of that. When they happen, the rookies will invariably get more chances and more opportunities as the season progresses.
They'll be brought along slowly and get more and more experience as the season wears on.
But unless one of them either creates a turnover or has a turnover themself on special teams tonight, they won't have much a bearing on tonight's NFL season opener against the Saints.
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