BLOG: Can Rookies Make An Impact?
The NFL is a league with a “win now” mentality. The Lockout is winding down and coaching staffs are faced with a truncated timetable this year in preparing for the season, which begs the question: What frame of mind will they be in while evaluating talent for the opener? How tough will it be for this year’s crop of rookies to not only make a team, but actually make a significant contribution this season?
Now, I’m not talking about the early round draft picks, most of those guys will be fulfilling roles this year, but the late round draft picks and undrafted free agents that will be facing a much more uncertain future this years. These players already face an uphill battle going into training camp during years with normal offseason activity. This year that battle will be even tougher to win. Preseason games will be even more crucial for these borderline players. They will now be under even more pressure to flash something in order to stick around. And even if they do have an impressive preseason performance, there are still no guarantees. I feel that many coaching staffs will opt to use veterans to fill roster spots that might have gone to a late rounder or undrafted free agent in past years. Coaching staffs are winning now and keeping their jobs. Simply stated, coaches will be much more comfortable building their teams with known quantities as opposed to talented unknowns. Personnel people will be all be going crazy this year. All of the resources they used to scout and hand pick these football players will go by the wayside. Front offices will only be able to sit and watch as the players they scouted and evaluated for years are cut from rosters and relegated to the practice squad.