2010 Tennessee Titan rookies: Biggest first-year impact?

Draft Day 2010 ushered in the arrival of several new members of the Tennessee Titans.

The majority of the picks (6 of 9) were devoted towards addressing needs on the defensive side of the football. First-round DE Derrick Morgan was added to replenish the cupboard left a bit bare due to the departures of veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse. Another pressing need (PR/KR) was taken care of via the selections of 3rd rounder Damian Williams and Marc Mariani in the 7th round.

As we approach the start of training camp, let’s take a look at the rookies who will have the best chance of having an impact during their inaugural seasons as Tennessee Titans.

Leading candidates 

DE Derrick Morgan is obviously in the catbird seat as the rookie with the best chance to have an impact in his first year. Of course, one would expect this to be the case considering his status as a first-rounder.

Morgan has the potential to develop into a complete defensive end; a guy who is capable of rushing the passer while also playing the run. With defensive line guru Jim Washburn cracking the whip, I’m expecting Morgan to emerge as a solid player on the Titans’ D-line for years to come.

PR/KR/WR Damian Williams is this year’s designated Chris Carr replacement. Despite his intriguing abilities at WR, his first-year impact will most likely take place in the form of serving as the team’s return specialist in 2010.

While the aforementioned Morgan will have the biggest opportunity to emerge as a rookie contributor due to his chance of becoming a starter, Damian’s potential rookie contributions should not be underestimated. If he is able to erase last year’s forgettable memory of the Titans’ struggles at KR/PR via some dynamic returns, Williams is in a prime position to have the biggest rookie impact in 2010.

Sleeper alert

CB Alterraun Verner is a long-shot candidate to emerge as the winner of the playing opposite of Cortland Finnegan sweepstakes. However, with fellow youngsters Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton and Tye Hill competing for one of the starting CB positions, Verner could emerge as a dark-horse candidate.

Verner is a ball-hawk who has a nose for the football and despite his short stature, he’s able to overcome his lack of height with his aggressive, tenacious play. He’s certainly a guy I’ll be keeping my eyes on as training camp unfolds.

LB Rennie Curran is another rookie sleeper candidate who could vie for some playing time this year. With the free-agency departure of beloved former Titan Keith Bulluck, the combination of age/injuries of David Thornton and the four-game suspension of Gerald McRath, with a strong training camp, Curran could emerge as an unlikely rookie contributor.

Final Verdict

My pick to click as the Titans’ biggest rookie impact player: Damian Williams.

His return abilities should be a welcome addition to a Titans’ return unit that struggled mightily in 2009. Also, despite a relatively crowded situation at WR, don’t sleep on Damian’s chances of catching at least a few of Vince Young’s passes this year.

Your turn, audience. Which 2010 Tennessee Titan draftee will have the biggest rookie impact? As always, feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments’ section below.

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