ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper posts an Insider piece on rookies he believes could make an instant impact. Kiper splits his choices into different categories, such as "Impact Certainty", "Touchdown Makers", and "Sleepers".
Kiper notes that Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski (second round, 42nd overall) and Aaron Hernandez (fourth round, 113th overall) have a chance to pair up to produce some solid results -- with Gronkowski as a post-up option in the red zone and Hernandez utilizing his diverse skill set to the fullest.
But it was Kiper's thoughts on outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham -- one of his sleeper candidates -- that caught the eye. Kiper said he revisited film of Cunningham and was struck by his relentlessness.
Cunningham was selected in the second round (53rd overall) and one could make the case that he is the most important selection of the team's draft because of the need in that area.
If Kiper is right, and Cunningham surprises in his rookie season, it would be a huge hit for the Patriots.