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Newton among rookie debuts to follow as preseason opens

The NFL preseason kicks off this week with a full slate of games. For the players drafted in April, it will be their first chance to experience football in the NFL. So which rookie are you most looking forward to seeing hit the field?

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Newton looks the part

  <table align="right" width="315px"> 
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  </table> How you can't you be excited to see Cam Newton? You don't get picked first overall, as a quarterback no less, without there being a little something going on there. All eyes will be on Newton anytime he does anything this season -- good, bad or indifferent.  

Based on what I've heard thus far -- and admittedly this is early -- Newton has looked the part. He's going to make his fair share of mistakes, but he's going to make some plays, too. I can't wait to see what he can do, even if only in his professional infancy.

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  • Albert Breer NFL Network
  • Ingram has potential

Mark Ingram is already making a serious impression in Saints training camp. He adds the kind of tackle-to-tackle presence that hasn't been seen in New Orleans since Deuce McAllister called it a career. If he's as good as the Saints think, it'll be very interesting to see how he affects the identity of that offense.

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  • Charles DavisNFL Network
  • High expectations for Dalton

I'm really looking forward to watching Andy Dalton play. Due to the lockout, the expectations for rookie quarterbacks have been lowered. Minnesota signed Donovan McNabb to take the pressure off Christian Ponder. Matt Hasselbeck to Tennessee? Take your time, Jake Locker. But in Cincinnati, despite the addition of Bruce Gradkowski, the expectation is still that Dalton will take the snaps in Week 1. Lights, camera, action!

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  • Pat Kirwan
  • Two in tough spots

Some teams ask rookies to deliver right away, which creates an intriguing pressure point for the team and the player. It will be interesting to watch how fast Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson can get up and running. It starts this weekend. The Falcons got rid of Michael Jenkins, and the Jets let Shaun Ellis go to clear the way for two first-round picks.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Potent running game in New Orleans

I'm really interested to see Saints running back Mark Ingram. New Orleans' running game is going to be different without Reggie Bush. Adding a power runner to the savvy, off tackle-style Pierre Thomas and change-of-pace punch Darren Sproles brings should give the Saints even more offensive options. The play-action pass generated off Ingram and the running game could be potent.

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  • Bucky Brooks
  • How will Panthers use Cam?

I'm looking forward to seeing Cam Newton take the field with the Panthers. He was the most intriguing prospect in the draft, and I'm curious to see how much progress he's made. The reports from camp have been glowing, but I want to see how his skills translate to game action. Also, I want to see how the Panthers plan to tailor their offense to fit his talents. With so many questions to be answered, I believe Newton is the rookie everyone wants to see this weekend.

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  • Adam Rank
  • Seventh-round surprise

The stock answer is likely Cam Newton, which to me is akin to saying that your favorite movie is "Pulp Fiction" -- great movie, but way too easy to say. Almost a copout. Besides, Newton should already be considered a pro, factoring in how much money he made at Auburn last season -- allegedly.

The one guy I am going to watch this weekend is a rookie who Gil Brandt was talking about on the Dave Dameshek Football Program this weekend, Steelers running back Baron Batch. The Texas Tech product has been impressive in camp and is having a spirited competition with former Wisconsin running back John Clay.

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  • Elliot Harrison
  • The man in Miami

I'd like to see what Dolphins second-round running back Daniel Thomas can do. With Ronnie Brown gone, ability meets opportunity in the backfield. Not to mention, the Dolphins' passing attack ain't exactly Air Coryell. If ever a team needed some punch in its ground game, it's the 'Fins.

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  • Dave Dameshek
  • New era for Bengals

Don't be confused, Jordan Palmer: That red-headed quarterback taking snaps with the first team is not your brother. The Andy Dalton-A.J. Green era begins in Detroit this weekend. Too bad Lions rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley is out, but Detroit's pass rush should still give Dalton a little taste of what awaits him four times this fall when he plays the Ravens and Steelers.

Green, meantime, is apparently already making his coaches and teammates forget Chad Ochocinco. While it'll take time for Dalton to get up to NFL speed, anyone who saw Green play on Saturdays knows the receiver should be dynamic from Day 1.

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