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2003 Rookie Rankings
August 15, 2003
  These rankings will not necessarily match one to one with the player rankings. These rankings consider the rookies both this season and their long-term outlook and is presented primarily for use in considering rookies in dynasty leagues.

Quarterbacks
1 BAL Kyle Boller Looked sharp in camp and is the only rookie QB with a realistic shot of starting this season. Nice future prospects as well, Boller is a bit of a wild card coming from CAL-Berkeley but has been impressive and only has Redman to beat.
2 JAX Byron Leftwich Tremendous pocket passer signed very late and will likely not play much this season. Too much to learn before the season starts, should hold a clipboard this year while avoiding glares from HC Jack Del Rio for signing so late.
3 CIN Carson Palmer First pick in the draft may get some late season work but revamped Bengals will be predicated on defense, not passing.
4 CHI Rex Grossman Impressive in camp, Grossman appears ready to take the reins whenever the Bears realize Kordell is really just Kordell and Chris Chandler is only a backup quality even if he is healthy.
5 TB Chris Simms Stuck behind Brad Johnson and Shaun King, Simms has looked impressive in camp and may get the call to lead the Grudeneers in a season or two when Brad Johnson gets even older.
Runningbacks
1 MIN Onterrio Smith This ranking is all about this season - not the future. With Michael Bennett out until at least October and possibly the entire season, Smith is the best bet to get replacement work for 2003. He is easily the safest bet of all rookie runners to get playing time though that is largely because there are no rookie runners that are safe bets this year.
2 KC Larry Johnson While Johnson has not been extremely impressive, he does backup Priest Holmes at least for now. He may be #3 in KC by the time the season starts.
3 JAX Labrandon Toefield What's not to like about the backup to Fred Taylor? Oh yes - he has an injury history himself but with only Elvis Joseph to compete with, Toefield will likely be a backup runner for the one team that has made the position rather lucrative for years.
4 TEN Chris Brown Eddie George is healthy and never misses a game. But he is 30 years old and gets more dinged up each season. Brown is a near clone of George and should be his replacement whenever that call comes.
5 BUF Willis McGahee

Blow out an ACL, get drafted in the first round anyway. Is that a symbol of his potential or just a sign that this season is unusually pathetic for rookie rushers? Probably a bit of both. Would have been THE back to draft this year until his knee went backwards eight months ago. This is a "get 'em next year" pick. So - who is the optimist around here, anyway?

6 OAK Justin Fargas Fargas has been tearing it up in the second half of his two exhibition games and while it was against the other team's ne'er-do-wells and also rans, a 126 yard game in two quarters is still pretty impressive. Fargas us running with speed and nice burst and is priming himself for replacement duty if Garner and Wheatley need help. Fargas comes from a spotty college history and has had injury problems himself, but thus far he has been the most impressive rookie rusher of those getting opportunity.
7 HOU Tony Hollings Taken in the supplemental draft, Hollings costs the Texans a second rounder next year. Like a skyrocket, Hollings was pure flash in the few games he played last season before blowing his knee out and missing the rest of the season. He may play this year, he may get placed on the PUP list. This too is more of a gamble for next year.
8 BAL Musa Smith Smith contends with Chester Taylor as a backup to Jamal Lewis who has already blown his knee out twice and has two NFL substance violations to his credit. One more violation is a 16 game suspension and one more game might be the next ACL tear.
9 DET Artose Pinner The only reason Pinner is ranked this high is because he has not yet proven that he is too short and too slow to be an everydown NFL running back. DET thinks he can contribute eventually and with James Stewart getting old and no other big competition in DET, he will likely stick and might get some play by the end of the season.
10 DEN Quentin Griffin Was impressive in mini-camp in that "little guy playing big" sort of way and then broke his leg. Might make a nice 3rd down complement to Clinton Portis but is already behind in his development.
11 HOU Domanick Davis In HOU, probably not going to happen but with Allen retired and Wells having a bad turf toe, might get into the rotation behind Stacey Mack and possibly Tony Hollings.
12 CHI Brock Forsey Electrifying in college, Forsey is on a team without a slam dunk, stud starter and is popular to trade to any of your league mates that saw him in college and think he has the juice for pro ball. Likely he does not.
Tight Ends
1 IND Dallas Clark The Colts need someone to help Pollard out and Marcus is no spring chicken at 31 years of age. There are many worse things than having Peyton Manning throw to you.
2 PHI L.J. Smith The Eagles are watching Chad Lewis' production going downhill each season and tabbed a great pass catcher in Smith to replace him. This is a nice dynasty pick.
3 CAR Mike Seidman With Wesley Walls gone, the Panthers are very happy so far with the progress of Seidman who should be able to overtake Kris Mangum who is only a blocking tight end. This is a nice dynasty pick.
4 HOU Bennie Joppru While the Texans already have Billy Miller, Joppru comes in as an excellent pass catching tight end who could make some waves as early as this season.
5 DAL Jason Witten Because we all still want to believe in Bill Parcells. Witten is likely a few seasons from being a factor and has Dan Campbell to compete against, along with the aging holdover Tony McGee.
6 OAK Teyo Johnson Drafted as a receiver, Johnson is being converted to a tight end where he is expected to contribute to the redzone passing game.
7 NYG Vishante Shiancoe Jeremy Shockey is in no jeopardy of losing his job here, but Shiancoe has been excellent in training camp and may be used along with Shockey to cause major mismatches in the secondary.
Wide Receivers
1 DET Charles Rogers Immediate starting receiver, Rogers brings his well-hyped speed and moves to the Lions where he must prove capable of fighting off line jams from NFL cornerbacks. Of course there is that whole Harrington thing too.
2 HOU Andre Johnson Johnson was rightfully touted as the most "NFL ready" rookie receiver in several years. In training camp, he has done nothing to dispel that notion and though Houston does not throw much, with Johnson on board their ability to pass will be immediately upgraded. Johnson has the long-term look of a future star.
3 ARZ Bryant Johnson Should be a starter in Arizona this season but what does that really mean? It means a lot of wild balls thrown by Jeff Blake that Johnson will be trying to position himself to catch.
4 WAS Taylor Jacobs Already promoted to the #3 slot position in an offense that loves to throw. Jacobs in perfect for the Washington passing attack but will be limited by the number of catches a #3 receiver can make anywhere, even in Washington.
5 CIN Kelley Washington The Bengals drafted Washington for the express purpose of lining up across from Chad Johnson and allowing Peter Warrick to take the slot and make better use of his speed and playmaking ability. Washington has been all hands in training camp and recently was cleared by the doctors to play since he had neck surgery in the offseason.
6 TEN Tyrone Calico The Titans went searching for a replacement for the departed Kevin Dyson and came up with the talented but raw Calico. So far Calico has been impressive but won't likely do much this season.
7 ARZ Anquan Boldin In Arizona, the starter jobs are wide open and Boldin has a good chance at the #2 or #3 role. Has a good chance at some numbers this season and upside for the future.
8 NE Bethel Johnson In the munchkin brigade that are the Patriots, Johnson has a good chance to stick and at 5-11 he actually could be the possession receiver there eventually.
9 MIN Nate Burleson Looks to stick behind Moss, Bates and Kelly Campbell. Decent long-term out look but with Moss around could never become more than the #2 and more likely the #3.
10 SF Brandon Lloyd With Tai Streets and Terrell Owens slated to become free agents next season, the 49ers are wisely looking at their depth for the worst case scenarios. Cedric Wilson has a leg up on all other receivers but Lloyd has been a nice surprise in camp and could be the #4 receiver this season.
11 PHI Wilbur McMullen Jr. Pressing the disappointing Freddie Mitchell for playing time but in Philadelphia, how many balls can a #3 receiver catch anyway?
12 STL Kevin Curtis In the mix for the #3 receiver competition. Probably will not win it but should stick with the team.
13 DET David Kircus Caught the eyes of the coaching staff and may turn into a nice find in a season or two.
14 CHI Justin Gage Looked a little better than Bobby Wade and brought in to challenge David Terrell at the #3 spot.
Special Teams
1 SEA Josh Brown Won the job and kicking well.