How much a rookie contributes in his first NFL season has little to do with how highly he was drafted. His immediate opportunity for playing time and potential for success largely depend on him joining the team with the coaches, system and complementary personnel that fit his specific talents.
Based on all those factors, here are the 10 rookies in the most ideal situations:
1. TE Dallas Clark, Colts. He will love playing in offensive coordinator Tom Moore's two-tight end sets along with Marcus Pollard. The Colts didn't fare as well offensively without Ken Dilger last season as they never found the same effectiveness with frequent three-wideout sets.
Having the athletic Clark as another intermediate option will make Peyton Manning more comfortable and Pollard more productive.
2. DE/OLB Terrell Suggs, Ravens. If Peter Boulware coming off the right side and Ray Lewis anchoring the middle wasn't intimidating enough for offensive lines trying to block out the Ravens' second level, they now must contend with Suggs' pursuit as a strongside rush linebacker.
Last season, Baltimore showed a surprisingly smooth transition from Marvin Lewis' Super Bowl-winning 4-3 to Mike Nolan's rebuilt 3-4. The whole defense will be improved in its second year under Nolan. Suggs fits in nicely with the rebuilding plan and can ease into his development because of the attention Boulware and Lewis draw.
3. WR Andre Johnson, Texans. The Texans' passing game should fare much better this season. Considering quarterback David Carr has a full season of starting experience and his protection can only get better, he will have more time to find his deep group of receivers. That group includes Corey Bradford, second-year man Jabar Gaffney and tight ends Billy Miller and Bennie Joppru, another rookie. Johnson won't have the pressure of being the go-to guy and facing constant double coverage, which will lead to big plays for him and Bradford, the team's other home-run threat.
4. DE Jerome McDougle, Eagles. The Eagles wisely traded up to obtain McDougle's services after Hugh Douglas sought Philadelphia freedom early in the offseason. McDougle's game is similar to Douglas', but it comes in a much younger package.
Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson received great sack production out of his line rotation last season, so McDougle won't have the burden of the carrying the Eagles' pass rush from the left end. He will bring more energy than Douglas and greatly benefit from playing next to Darwin Walker, one of the game's best young tackles.
5. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys. Tight end always has been important position for Bill Parcells' teams -- see Mark Bavaro, Ben Coates and Kyle Brady. With more uncertainty at quarterback, running back and wide receiver, the Cowboys will need a reliable dumpoff option, and Witten will be it after beating out Dan Campbell for the starting job.
6. TE L.J. Smith, Eagles. The Eagles scored big again in the draft with Smith, who should displace Chad Lewis as the starter and become an important target for Donovan McNabb within the team's West Coast offense.
7. CB Sammy Davis, Chargers. It seems strange for San Diego to spend first-round picks in consecutive years on top-notch cornerbacks, but with Davis and Quentin Jammer, it has the foundation for a solid secondary for years to come.
Playing in a division with deep passing teams such as the Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs, the Chargers can never have enough sound cover men. They took another cornerback, Drayton Florence, in Round 2.
8. OT Jordan Gross, Panthers. Gross won't have the blindside responsibility in Carolina -- that belongs to Todd Steussie -- and will thrive playing right tackle. As the Panthers turn to a more conservative ball-control offense with likely new backfield starters in Stephen Davis and Jake Delhomme, Gross will be a key factor in run blocking and pass protection.
9. OLB Chaun Thompson, Browns. The Browns cleared house at linebacker after the season, opting not to keep all three 2002 starters -- Earl Holmes, Dwayne Rudd and Darren Hambrick. Forget his Division II background -- Cleveland certainly did in drafting him in the second round.
Thompson fits the wave of athletic and instinctive rush linebackers. He will be starting on the weak side by midseason.
10. RB Artose Pinner, Lions. The Lions' higher-profile offensive rookie is Charles Rogers, but considering they don't have a reliable receiver to line up opposite him, he will draw plenty of attention from defensive backs and this year will be a tough learning experience.
On the other hand, Pinner is playing behind two injury-prone veterans, James Stewart and Shawn Bryson. Pinner, despite his 5-10 frame, is durable and a good blocker. Coach Steve Mariucci now is far from San Francisco, but Pinner will remind him of a combination of Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow.