NFL teams prefer not to ask a whole lot out of their rookies.

It appears the Colts don’t have a choice.

Rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers was inserted into the starting lineup last Sunday and played well for the Colts.

Rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers was inserted into the starting lineup last Sunday and played well for the Colts.

Four rookies will play important roles for the Colts this season. But if last Sunday is an indication of what’s to come – that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Rookie Pat McAfee only punted twice in the Colts’ 14-12 victory over the Jaguars, but both were big.

The first pinned the Jaguars inside their 10-yard line late in the third quarter.

The second came when the Colts faced a 4th-and-2 at the Jaguars’ 44 in the fourth quarter. Colts’ coach Jim Caldwell decided to punt and McAfee delivered a gem that was downed by holder Justin Snow inside the 1-yard line.

With Marlin Jackson still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season and playing sparingly, rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers started in his NFL debut and didn’t disappoint.

Powers held his own, wasn’t caught out of position, and finished with two passes defended.

With No. 2 wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez out for at least four games with a sprained PCL, rookie wide receiver Austin Collie will have to grow up in a hurry.

Collie only had two catches for 15 yards Sunday, but both were for first downs. Collie did drop a catchable ball Sunday over the middle – going over the middle in the NFL is quite different than doing it in the Mountain West Conference.

Rookie running back Donald Brown will see plenty of field time this season, and got his feet wet Sunday.

Brown had 33 rushing yards and a pair of catches for 16 yards Sunday. And if Joseph Addai has a few more uninspired performances like Sunday’s, Brown will be seeing the field a lot more in the near future.

While these four rookies look promising, Colts general manager Bill Polian’s defensive tackle selections are in serious doubt.

Fourth-round pick Terrance Taylor was cut after failing to record a solo tackle in three preseason games. Second-round pick Fili Moala was beat out by a pair of defensive tackles the Colts acquired through waivers. He didn’t produce in the preseason and was inactive for Sunday’s season opener.

But all in all, after a couple of unmemorable drafts in ’07 and ’08 it appears Polian might have hit the mark again in 2009. Colts’ fans better hope so – they are going to need them.

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