Commentary

How free agency affected rookies

What recent acquisitions will mean for certain rookies' playing time in the AFC

Originally Published: August 12, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Stevan RidleyJim Rogash/Getty ImagesStevan Ridley could see a lot of early playing time for the Patriots this season.

With the bulk of big free-agency moves behind us, it's worth it to reassess what kind of rookie impact we can expect. After all, in places like Tennessee, those free-agency moves appeared to be directly related to what kind of contribution the team wanted from the new talent.

So let's take a look at the rookies most affected by free agency, starting in the AFC. We'll analyze the NFC next week.

Buffalo Bills

Nothing in free agency augmented the defensive line, so expect Marcell Dareus to start in Week 1 and make an impact. Although corner Aaron Williams could also push for playing time, keep an eye on safety Da'Norris Searcy, who could be getting starts at safety early in his career.


To read more about how free agency affected this year's AFC rookies, and which ones will be seeing lots of early playing time, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst