After one of the more talented drafts in recent history, we will take a look at which rookies will make the biggest impact:
1. Melvin Gordon, RB San Diego Chargers
A great open field runner, Melvin Gordon will do wonders for the Bolts run game that has struggled since LaDainian Tomlinson was released in 2010. Melvin Gordon will compete with Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown and Branden Oliver for touches, but he should easily surpass them all in carries. He is the most talented running back of the group and his stats this year should reflect it. The trade that the Chargers pulled off on draft night to move up two spots in the first round to take Gordon should indicate that they believe he is the back of the future for their team.
2. Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first overall pick, Jameis Winston should be a day one starter for the Bucs. He has plenty of weapons, such as veteran Vincent Jackson, as well as emerging stars Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Winston proved himself in college with a very impressive 27-1 record in two years at Florida State University. He won the Heisman Trophy and the BCS National Championship as a freshmen in 2013, and lost in the first round of the National College Playoffs in 2014. The real hit to Winston is the off-field problems. If he can’t stay on the field because of an arrest, he can’t make any impact.
3. Landon Collins, S New York Giants
A hard hitting, in-the-box safety, Landon Collins should become a leader for the Giants’ defense. Giants’ defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, spoke highly of Collins during the rookie mini-camps. Regarding rookies and more specifically Collins, Spagnuolo said:
“They come here initially and they’re feeling their way through. They don’t really want to say anything, but by the time we got to that last team period (Saturday), Landon was moving people around and directing, so if he can keep doing that every day, I think we’ll have exactly what we thought we had when we took him.”
There are currently no safeties on the roster that have started an NFL game for the Giants, so Collins will have an un-measurable impact amongst these players.
4. Amari Cooper, WR Oakland Raiders
The fourth overall pick, Amari Cooper will be thrown into a weak group of wide receivers and will have second year QB, Derek Carr, throwing to him. Cooper will take this group of misfit wide receivers and turn them into a top-fifteen group. Cooper is an insane athlete, smart player and a strong leader.
5. Tyler Lockett, WR Seattle Seahawks
Similar to Cooper, Lockett will be thrusted into a weak wide receiver corps and expected to make an impact. Lockett’s situation is better however, because the Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson to take away attention from him. Lockett’s value could be hampered by Chris Matthews, who had a breakout game in the Superbowl this past year.