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Published: May 6, 2015 at 11:40 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2015 at 03:18 p.m.

Instant-impact rookies from the 2015 NFL Draft

With the 2015 NFL Draft in the books, we can stop speculating about who will be drafted where and start thinking about who among the NFL's newest batch of talent will have meaningful rookie seasons. Let's forget, for a moment, about sky-high future potential and focus on players with the ability to produce today.

Below you'll find 12 rising rookies, listed in alphabetical order, who can make a real impact on the field in 2015.

12 Photos Total

  • Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions 12

    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

    Drafted in: Round 2, No. 54 overall.

    Abdullah left Nebraska with the second-most rushing yards (4,588) in school history. The very strong and quick back should fill the void left in Detroit by Reggie Bush. He'll make for a great third-down back, as he can catch the ball, run the screen and run the draw. He's a very dangerous runner, receiver and returner.

  • Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles 11

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 20 overall.

    Agholor is a triple threat -- receiver, punt returner and kick returner -- who will be a matchup nightmare in the Eagles' system from Week 1. He can do more than simply replicate what Jeremy Maclin did for Philadelphia before leaving for Kansas City -- Agholor can be an improvement.

  • Malcom Brown, DT, New England Patriots 10

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Malcom Brown, DT, New England Patriots

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 32 overall.

    New England needs someone to replace departed veteran Vince Wilfork, and Brown can be the man. He's very strong, has great quickness, runs well, is athletic and makes good use of his hands.

  • Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons 9

    Sam Riche/Associated Press

    Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

    Drafted in: Round 3, No. 73 overall.

    Coleman scored 29 touchdowns for a not-great Indiana football team in his college career -- and 15 of those went for 43 yards or more. I've never seen him caught from behind. Against Ohio State, he had 228 yards, with 72 coming after contact. Coleman is a big, strong guy who can run extremely fast.

  • Landon Collins, S, New York Giants 8

    Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL

    Landon Collins, S, New York Giants

    Drafted in: Round 2, No. 33 overall.

    Collins -- who tied for the fourth-best 40 time (4.53 seconds) among safeties at the NFL Scouting Combine -- makes a lot of tackles. He might need to lose a bit of weight, as he looked like he had better range in 2013 than he did in 2014, but he should step in right away and help the Giants' defense.

  • Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders 7

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 4 overall.

    Cooper is a playmaker without any real weaknesses -- he'll even block in the running game. One of the toughest positions at which to make an impact as an NFL rookie is receiver, but I have faith in Cooper, who racked up 1,000 yards as a true freshman at Alabama. Moreover, he's an outstanding person with an unbelievable attitude.

  • Ereck Flowers, OT, New York Giants 6

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Ereck Flowers, OT, New York Giants

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 9 overall.

    The very strong Flowers, who recorded 37 bench reps at the NFL Scouting Combine, should give the Giants great flexibility, as he can play left or right tackle. Based on what his college tape shows, Flowers has the ability to manhandle opponents.

  • Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers 5

    Andy Manis/Associated Press

    Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 15 overall.

    Gordon is a terrific competitor, a ball carrier who racked up the ground yardage -- he had 2,587 rushing yards at Wisconsin in 2014, the second-most in FBS history. His pass-catching skills were a worry at one time, because the Badgers didn't throw the ball much, but he worked on (and improved) that area of his game. He's a great fit for the Chargers.

  • Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams 4

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 10 overall.

    If Gurley -- who is recovering from a torn ACL -- had been completely healthy coming out of college, he would have been a top-three pick. He mixes Eddie George's running style with Steven Jackson's explosiveness. I'd be surprised if he doesn't start Week 1, but even if he misses a few weeks, he has a chance to make a huge impression.

  • Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks 3

    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    Drafted in: Round 3, No. 69 overall.

    Lockett -- who ran the fastest 60-yard shuttle among receivers at the combine -- is outstanding in the return game, having returned punts for Kansas State at an average of 19.1 yards in 2014. He's reminiscent of Tavon Austin. Lockett is quick and will be an unbelievable matchup problem; I expect him to make a ton of plays and take plenty of punts to the house.

  • Brandon Scherff, OL, Washington Redskins 2

    Justin Hayworth/Associated Press

    Brandon Scherff, OL, Washington Redskins

    Drafted in: Round 1, No. 5 overall.

    A five-year collegian -- like Cowboys standout Zack Martin was when he came out of Notre Dame -- Scherff is a very good athlete, not stiff at all. Washington wants to run the ball, and Scherff is going to just be a dominant blocker in the ground game. He'll get to the second level. He'll also be good at pass protection. Guys coming out of Iowa have been taught well.

  • Maxx Williams, TE, Baltimore Ravens 1

    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Maxx Williams, TE, Baltimore Ravens

    Drafted in: Round 2, No. 55 overall.

    Williams is good -- and he's going to get plenty of opportunities with the Ravens, who love throwing to the tight end and had a big need at the position, with injured veteran Dennis Pitta's future still a question mark. I expect the Minnesota product to step in, start and catch lots of passes.

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