Analysis  

 

Deshaun Watson, Myles Garrett head 2017 All-Rookie Team

Print

After months of projecting prospects and wading through scouting reports, we're getting closer to seeing how the NFL's latest crop of rookies will actually perform on the field for their new teams. As rookie minicamps get underway across the league, let's take a look at which players will prove to be the best rookies at their respective positions by the end of the season. Below, I've assembled my predicted 2017 All-Rookie Team.

Quarterback: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

The ultimate big-game quarterback steps into a perfect situation with a strong supporting cast and championship-caliber defense behind him. Watson's experience and winning pedigree at Clemson will help him shine as a rookie starter for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

Running back: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

There's always a place in the league for old-school runners with size, strength and power. Fournette's freight-train running style will set the tone for the Jaguars and help them get back on track in the AFC South.

Running back: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

The electric runner will add plenty of juice to the Vikings' offense as a dynamic weapon in the backfield. Cook's combination of skills could make him a 1,000-yard rusher and 50-catch receiver in Minnesota's redesigned offensive attack.

Wide receiver: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers has helped plenty of big-bodied pass catchers earn all-star status (see: Keenan Allen and Vincent Jackson) by feeding them relentlessly on the perimeter. Williams could be the next "alley-oop" specialist to take the league by storm with the Bolts.

Wide receiver: Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills

Jones has all of the tools to emerge as a 1,000-yard receiver opposite Sammy Watkins in Buffalo. As a polished route runner with exceptional hands and ball skills, the WR2 could become QB Tyrod Taylor's favorite target in critical situations.

Tight end: Evan Engram, New York Giants

The Giants' new TE1 will terrorize opponents as the featured mismatch playmaker in the team's quick-rhythm passing game. With defenses intent on slowing down receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, Engram could post big numbers as a first-year starter.

Offensive tackle: Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos

The ultra-athletic Bolles possesses all of the tools to quickly develop into an elite blindside blocker for the Broncos.

Offensive tackle: Cam Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Robinson's ability to move defenders off the ball will help the Jaguars transform into more of a smash-mouth squad under Doug Marrone.

Offensive guard: Forrest Lamp, Los Angeles Chargers

The versatile Lamp is poised to fill a variety of roles for the Chargers, but he could really thrive as an athletic "people mover" on the inside.

Offensive guard: Taylor Moton, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers could use Moton on the edges in place of Michael Oher or plug him into the lineup as a starter on the inside. Regardless, he is one of the pivotal players who should help QB Cam Newton return to form in 2017.

Center: Pat Elflein, Minnesota Vikings

The rock-solid interior blocker should shore up the Vikings' weakness at the point of attack as a first-year starter.

Defensive end: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns

The freak athlete should terrorize AFC foes with his combination of size, strength and explosive quickness as the designated playmaker in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' scheme.

Defensive end: Derek Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles

The crafty pass rusher falls into a "Wide-9" scheme that is a perfect fit for his skills. Barnett could lead all rookies in sacks as an exceptional hand-to-hand combat specialist.

Defensive tackle: Solomon Thomas, San Francisco 49ers

Thomas is an energetic inside-outside pass rusher with exceptional first-step quickness and burst. He has 10-sack potential as a polished rusher with violent hand skills and a nonstop motor.

Defensive tackle: Jonathan Allen, Washington Redskins

Allen is a rugged blue-collar defender with a power-based game. He should thrive as a 5-technique in the Redskins' scheme and create more big-play opportunities for Ryan Kerrigan off the edge.

Linebacker: Raekwon McMillan, Miami Dolphins

Fueled by a draft-day snub, McMillan -- drafted in Round 2 with the 54th overall pick -- could blossom into a punishing tackling machine in the middle of a Dolphins defense that features several playmakers along the front seven.

Linebacker: Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions

The hard-hitting defender from Florida possesses a combination of speed, quickness and instincts that could make him the most dominant linebacker to play for the Lions since Chris Spielman manned the position in the Motor City.

Linebacker: Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers

After enduring a surprising draft-day slide due to concerns about a surgically repaired shoulder, Foster could wreak havoc on the league as the designated playmaker in the middle of the 49ers' defense. The ex-Alabama standout will team with NaVorro Bowman to give the 49ers a nasty 1-2 punch inside.

Cornerback: Tre'Davious White, Buffalo Bills

Sean McDermott's No. 1 pick has a blue-collar game that's ideally suited for the Bills' zone-based scheme. White's combination of athleticism, instincts and intelligence could make the rookie corner one of the best first-year ball-hawks in the game.

Cornerback: Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens

This rock-solid cover corner should thrive as the CB2 opposite Jimmy Smith. Humphrey not only possesses the length and athleticism to challenge receivers at the line, but he is a tough tackler willing to thump runners on the perimeter.

Nickelback: Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals

The feisty slot defender is a multi-faceted playmaker poised to thrive in the Cardinals' attack-style scheme as an explosive "hit, run and cover" guy. Baker's combination of skills and versatility should lead to plenty of splash plays.

Safety: Malik Hooker, Indianapolis Colts

As a natural center fielder with exceptional instincts and ball skills, Hooker should terrorize quarterbacks as the post safety in the Colts' single-high safety scheme. If the Colts can generate a little pressure up front, Hooker could feast on tips and overthrows between the hashes.

Safety: Jamal Adams, New York Jets

The Jets' new defensive leader will deliver plenty of splash plays as a roving center fielder or rugged box defender for Gang Green. Adams' underrated versatility could help him make a run at the Defensive Rookie of the Year award as a stat-stuffer with big-time production and impact.

Kick returner: T.J. Logan, Arizona Cardinals

The dangerous return man has speed to burn and a knack for finding creases with the ball in his hands. Opponents will quickly discover that Logan is a big play waiting to happen when he brings the ball out of his own end zone.

Punt returner: Adoree' Jackson, Tennessee Titans

The electric returner with world-class athleticism and dynamic playmaking ability should put the ball in the paint a few times as the Titans' designated home-run hitter in the kicking game.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop