Deshaun Watson
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 26: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans throws the ball during the second half of a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 26, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Plenty of NFL rookies will make their debuts this weekend. There are also plenty of rookies who will see the bench. Here is a list of five rookies who should be starting instead of riding the bench in week one of the NFL season.

Quarterbacks of The Future

High Risk, High Reward

Deshaun WatsonHouston Texans

In Houston, it seems like destiny to roll with mediocre quarterback play.  The Texans have started 15 QBs in 14 years of existence. While four have made it to the playoffs, none of them have won more than a single playoff game. Let’s not try and pretend that Watson is going to be their saviour but let’s also not try and pretend that Tom Savage is more than a backup. Watson flashed glimpses of greatness during the preseason and is the more fun QB to watch. With solid defensive play, the Texans could potentially stumble into the playoffs with another 9-7 record. What they need to push them over the edge is a QB who’s willing to take risks. Watson is the man for the job.

Patrick MahomesKansas City Chiefs

Mahomes case is obviously harder to make than the one for Watson. Alex Smith is consistent, and Andy Reid has a good relationship with him. That same formula has produced a lot of regular season wins. If there is a problem with Smith’s offensive ability, it is that Smith relies too heavily on short passes when his receivers fail to create space. Instead of making a play, he is willing to take fewer yards, even at the expense of punting it away. In the regular season, this tends to make for a safe football strategy but in the playoffs, safe does not cut it.  The Chiefs need a QB who is not afraid to roll out of the pocket and bomb it 50+ yards while at a full sprint. QBs who can make those plays (ahem…Aaron Rodgers) can win playoff games. Mahomes is that guy for the Chiefs.

Low Risk, High Potential

Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears

Two words: Mike Glennon. Same basic argument as the one for Watson except without the playoff potential. In this case however, the Bears should be starting Trubisky because they have no hope for postseason play with either QB. The Bears feel tied to Glennon due to his price tag, but an expensive backup is a small price to pay. If Chicago can develop their future franchise QB while building the pieces around him, Trubisky can become a definitive franchise QB.

Running Backs Likely To Make A Difference

Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins

Perine is currently listed on Washington’s depth chart as the 3rd running back behind Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson. He produced over 1000 yards of offence in each of his three years at Oklahoma, and is built to withstand 30 carries a game. With Kirk Cousins making his millions in a franchise tag, the Redskins also need a running back who will start and consistently produce for a bargain price. Perine is that guy.

Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon is in a strange scenario where there is more to the story than what’s told on the field. Off the field issues caused Mixon to fall in the draft, but his talent and potential are undeniable. Even if he is not set to start the 2017 season, it would be a shock if he is not starting by the end of it. The Bengals are going to need a solid and consistent running game if Andy Dalton is going to survive the season. The Bengals offensive line was not good last year, and has seemingly gotten worse over the 2017 offseason. That does not generally bode well for those who run behind the Red Rifle. Cincinnati will need raw talent to break off a few long runs this season, in order to open up the field for the wide receiver group. Mixon has got that raw talent.

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