It’s no secret that the 2016 draft class was considered weak. Despite an overall below average grade, a few diamonds lay in the rough. Let’s have a look at rookies who we think can make a major impact this season:
RB – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
With arguably the best offensive line in the game, Ezekiel will have his fair share of holes to earn serious yardage. He is clearly one of the most complete running backs to come out of the draft in a long time. The one obstacle he has is the log jam of players at his position. Ezekiel will have to outperform veteran Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris early to ensure he becomes to Cowboys’ lead back.
QB – Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Despite not being as talented as former top QB recruits such as Jamies Winston or Marcus Mariota, Goff will lead the Rams offense as of week 1. The question isn’t will he become a franchise quarterback, but rather how long will it take? Odd are that this will be a learning year for Goff.
WR – Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins had a break out year in 2015 and now with the addition of the speedy Doctson, Washington is manned with a dangerous offense. Doctson, 6’4, ran a 4.50 at the 40 yard dash, making him one of the most explosive players to come out of the draft. Now with two explosive receivers, Doctson & Desean Jackson, the Redskins man the field with a fierce combo which is coupled with their premier tight end, Jordan Reed.
Like in all professional sports, building through the draft is the key to success for the majority of franchises. Last year we all saw the emergence of Teddy Bridgewater, Devonta Freeman and Mike Evans last year. Which young talent will be able to turn the corner this year and assert themselves as NFL elite
WR – Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Lockett showed flashes of brilliance last year, but lacked the consistency to be an every game contributor. With the retirement of Seattle’s top back, Marshawn Lynch, their offense is pegged to be pass heavy in 2016. Despite being WR2 behind Doug Baldwin, Lockett has the ability to emerge as their top receiver.
WR – Kevin White, Chicago Bears
It was supposed to be the Jeffery and White show last year. However White’s season was cut short by injury. We will now have the chance to see this dynamic duo in action. Jeffery, established as one of the best in the league should allow White to face single coverage on the majority of plays this season. I wouldn’t want to be a defensive coordinator game planning to stop both of them. White has the athletic ability and size to be one of the best in the league. Let’s see if he can reach his potential.
WR – Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis Colts
Dorsett had a disappointing season in 2015, however showcased incredible speed. Overall the Colts underperformed thanks to Luck’s Injury. Now with their star QB back and the release of Andre Johnson, Dorsett has the chance to fill the number 2 hole and benefit from Andrew luck’s immense talent.
RB – Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
The most hyped player after preseason last year, ended up having a disappointing season. However, with a year of experience under his belt and Calvin Johnson’s retirement, we should expect big things from Abdullah. With no one in his way except himself, Abdullah will have a lion’s share of carries this year.