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Dri Archer drawing comparisons to Jamaal Charles?

With offseason practices in full swing, football fans from east to west are getting a first look at this year's class of rookies.

Non-contact sessions don't tell us much, with running backs and shifty wideouts given the green light to flow through defenders untouched.

What we can gather, though, are clues on how first-year players are being used schematically by their coaches.

Let's round up what we're hearing about a handful of talented newbies: 

1. Dri Archer



Around The League predicts the Week 1 starting lineups for all 32 teams, analyzing the potential impact of each rookie class.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | 49ers | Rams | Seahawks

In his latest offseason video notebook, NFL Media's Albert Breer stressed that a primary focus in Pittsburgh is improving a ground game that finished 27th in the league last season. While free-agent addition LeGarrette Blount has "impressed" coaches and figures to form a one-two punch with second-year back Le'Veon Bell, one young X-factor looms: Dri Archer.

The runner out of Kent State "has been tagged internally as a miniature version of Jamaal Charles" in Todd Haley's offense, per Breer.

It's also worth nothing that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert previously drew a parallel between Archer and former Lions return man Mel Gray, another hint that Pittsburgh has big plans for the 5-foot-8 jitterbug.

2. John Brown


The Cardinals third-round pick from Pittsburg State has drawn "favorable" comparisons out of the slot to Colts burner T.Y. Hilton, Breer reported. Brown was "blowing everyone away" last month at rookie camp and the team remains impressed with his route-running and 4.34 speed -- identical to Hilton's, who thrived under coach Bruce Arians in Indy.

3. Terrance West


With the Browns taking a conservative approach to Ben Tate's practice activity, rookie running back Terrance West "has been getting reps with the first team," The Plain Dealer noted Wednesday. The newspaper also tabbed West for a "major role" this season, while NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly believes the rookie could wind up starting in Cleveland.

Another rookie to keep an eye on in this crowded backfield? Former five-star recruit Isaiah Crowell.

4. Calvin Pryor


Want a sneaky pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year? How about Jets safety Calvin Pryor, who instantly endeared himself to Gang Green faithful by announcing his hatred for the Patriots and Giants. He's backed up his talk in practice, with ESPN.com's Louis Riddick hearing the hammer-dropping run-stuffer has been "special."

The end to the latest "Around The League Podcast" is full of shock and awe.

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