SB XLV: Rookies Make Immediate Impact for Super Bowl Teams

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Last years rookie class was one of the best that I have ever seen. For the most part, every team in the NFL came away with players that could make an immediate impact, and that was no different for the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Because of the success of their rookies, both teams find themselves facing off in Super Bowl XLV. Lets explore who those rookies are.

Green Bay Packers

  • RT, Bryan Bulaga (Iowa) – In 2009, the Packers displayed poor offensive line play and Aaron Rodgers suffered because of it. After being sacked 50 times, the Packers felt it was time to invest in an early round offensive tackle. They drafted Bryan Bulaga at #23 and it proved to be a good selection. Bulaga came in and solidified the right side of the Packers offensive line. He gave Rodgers that additional time to improvise and extend plays. He has been very solid all year and has a bright future ahead of him.
  • RB, James Starks (Buffalo) – Packers RB, Ryan Grant fell to a season ending injury early in the season. After his departure, the Packers struggled to run the ball. It was thought to be the Packers weak spot coming into the playoffs, but James Starks had something else in mind. He has blossomed into a feature back. Throughout the playoffs, the Packers have experienced great balance because of Starks, and that’s exactly why they find themselves in the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • C, Maurkice Pouncey (Florida) – It’s rare that a player enters the NFL and immediately becomes one of the elite players at his position. That is exactly what center, Maurkice Pouncey did. All year, his play was outstanding. He was voted by his peers to play in the Pro Bowl, and helped the Pittsburgh Steelers reach the Super Bowl. He has truly been a main cog amongst the Steelers often depleted offensive line. Unfortunately, he was injured in the NFC Championship game, and will miss the Super Bowl.
  • WR, Emmanuel Sanders (SMU) – The Steelers have the speedster, Mike Wallace, but they still went out and got Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders has helped stretch the field when Wallace received extra attention from opposing defenses. His numbers aren’t spectacular but he made a lot of key catches throughout the season.