NFL rookie risers: 10 value draft picks paying early dividends

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While coaches might say otherwise, most first-round draft picks are expected to start and become major contributors in Year 1. For those picked outside of the opening round, expectations aren't usually quite as high. The vast majority of these rookies have time to sit and develop before taking on an important role every Sunday. That being said, we always see certain players exceed those expectations and contribute immediately.

I've identified 10 rookies selected after Round 1 who are already generating buzz and are likely to play significant roles for their drafting teams. Take a look:

Harold Landry, OLB, Tennessee Titans

Drafted: Round 2, No. 41 overall out of Boston College

Landry was one of the most gifted edge rushers in his draft class, and he's swiftly emerging as a force off the edge for the Titans. He used his patented dip/bend/wrap move to generate a sack in the first preseason game. Landry has double-digit-sack potential, and he's a perfect fit in Tennessee's defensive scheme.

Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Drafted: Round 2, No. 43 overall out of Auburn

Johnson was the sixth running back selected in the draft, and it looks like Detroit got quite the steal. He was outstanding in the preseason opener, showing tremendous vision and balance in the run game (seven rushes for 34 yards, with a 57-yard run erased by a hold) while creating yards after the catch in the passing game (four catches for 33 yards). The Lions are desperate to improve their production at the position, and this Auburn product looks to be up to the task.

Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Drafted: Round 2, No. 44 overall out of Washington

Pettis was easily one of the top route runners in the draft class. I saw him play live against Alabama two years ago, and he turned some very talented cornerbacks around in that college playoff game. Pettis has quickly emerged as a legitimate threat in the 49ers' offense, and he brings remarkable value in the return game. He showed off his big-play ability against the Cowboys last week, logging a 53-yard reception.

Uchenna Nwosu, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

Drafted: Round 2, No. 48 overall out of USC

Nwosu was a versatile playmaker for the USC defense over the last few seasons and he's picked up right where he left off. He was all over the field against the Cardinals this past Saturday, generating a sack while holding up well against the run. Nwosu will need to get more comfortable in coverage, but it's going to be tough for Gus Bradley to keep him off the field this year.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Drafted: Round 2, No. 49 overall out of South Dakota State

The Eagles love to incorporate the tight end position into their offense, and Goedert has already proven he can be an excellent complement to Zach Ertz. Trey Burton left the team in the offseason to join the Bears, and I expect Goedert to slide right into that vacated role. He doesn't wow you with speed or athleticism, but the 6-foot-5, 256-pounder runs clean routes, has a feel in zones and provides a big target in the red zone. Goedert snagged four balls for 66 yards and a touchdown in his preseason debut.

Rasheem Green, DL, Seattle Seahawks

Drafted: Round 3, No. 79 overall out of USC

Green was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. When healthy, he played at a very high level for USC. I was surprised he lasted until the third round, and he is on track to be one of the major draft-day steals of the 2018 class. He can line up at DE or inside at defensive tackle. In the Seahawks' preseason opener, he showed off a nice club/rip move to sack Andrew Luck from the defensive end spot, before sliding inside and combining on another sack later in the game. He'll be an impact player right away for a defense in the middle of a transition.

Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns

Drafted: Round 4, No. 105 overall out of Florida

If not for his off-the-field issues, Callaway likely would've been a first- or second-round pick. The Browns took a gamble on his talent and, so far, it's paying off on the football field. He is explosive and absolutely electric after the catch. In his preseason debut, Callaway made a pair of highlight-reel plays: a majestic toe-drag grab along the sideline and a 54-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Of course, he won't be able to help the team if he can't stay out of trouble off the field. He's already had one incident as a member of the Browns, but hopefully he will learn from it and avoid similar situations.

Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Drafted: Round 4, No. 134 overall out of Fordham

I was in the building to watch Edmonds' incredible touchdown run against the Chargers. He runs much bigger than his size (5-9, 205) and refuses to go down on first contact. While he played at a lower competition level in college, Edmonds did dominate and produce eye-popping career numbers (5,862 rushing yards and 74 total touchdowns). David Johnson will be the workhorse back in Arizona now that he's healthy again, but Edmonds will earn his fair share of touches this fall. He was an excellent value pick.

Shaquem Griffin, LB, Seattle Seahawks

Drafted: Round 5, No. 141 overall out of UCF

Griffin is so much more than a feel-good story. He proved that during his collegiate career, and he's already proving it at the professional level. He was a tackling machine in the Seahawks' opener against the Colts. He is so quick to key/diagnose the play, and he closes on the ball in a hurry. Some thought he might only contribute on special teams during his rookie season, but Griffin is showing he's capable of being a major factor on defense, as well.

Tim Settle, DT, Washington Redskins

Drafted: Round 5, No. 163 overall out of Virginia Tech

Settle played more like a first-rounder than a fifth-rounder in the Redskins' first preseason game. He was stout at the point of attack while also displaying excellent lateral quickness and range. Washington must get better interior-defensive-line play; Settle should earn some quality playing time alongside the Redskins' latest first-round picks, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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