The NFL draft is over a month in the past and OTA’s have begun. The league’s latest class of rookies have begun working with their respective teams for the upcoming season. While every rookie was drafted with the hope of contributing to their team’s success, only some will have an immediate impact. Here are five NFL rookies who will make an impact in year one.
Five NFL Rookies Who Will Break Out in Yer One
5. Derwin James, Saftey, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers drafted James seventeenth overall after he fell way farther than anyone had expected. James was touted as a top twelve pick but fell to the Chargers to their delight. The Chargers have been looking for an elite safety to command their secondary since they parted ways with Eric Weddle. Jahleel Addae has been a solid safety for LA, but James’ skill set will allow him to make an immediate impact. James should be a starter for the Chargers defense come week one.
4. Quenton Nelson, Guard, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts made a trade with the New York Jets weeks before the draft to move from pick three to six. After sitting back and waiting patiently, they grabbed the safest pick player in the draft. While Nelson was the safest pick to make, he is still a fantastic pick for Indy. The Colts have struggled more than anyone to protect their quarterback over the last few seasons. Nelson is one of the best interior linemen to enter the league in recent memory. Coming in from Notre Dame, which is known for their offensive lineman, Nelson is being compared to fellow Irish alumni Zach Martin. Quenton Nelson’s biggest fan will be none other than Andrew Luck.
3. RoQuan Smith, Linebacker, Chicago Bears
The Bears put the future of their defense into the hands of Smith when they drafted him with the eighth overall pick. Smith comes from Georgia which had one of college football’s greatest defenses this season leading them to the National Championship. Smith played excellent all season and rose his draft stock into the top ten which is exactly where the Bears got him. The Bears parted ways with Jerrell Freeman in the off-season and wasted no time finding his replacement. Smith will greet NFC North running backs for years to come.
2. DJ Moore, Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers shocked many when they took Moore as the first receiver in the draft. Many speculated Calvin Ridley would be selected first, but Carolina had other plans. They were more excited about Moore’s upside than Ridley’s immediate skill. Moore comes from Maryland which is also the school of fellow receiver Stefon Diggs. If Moore can play anything like Diggs this season, it will help Cam Newton and Carolina tremendously on offense. They will need his help to stop their division rival Atlanta Falcons and their rookie wideout Calvin Ridley.
1. SaQuon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants
The Giants decided to stay put at the second pick and take Barkley as the bell cow of their offense. Barkley is something that hasn’t been seen on a big blue offense since Tiki Barber. On top of that, Barkley poses the skill set to be better than Barber was this season. Barkley was one of the most coveted prospects this year and in recent history. His career at Penn State was very impressive and his skill set had scouts in awe. Now, the Giants have him in their offense where he will be showcased and can help the Giants get back to the post-season.