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Published: July 30, 2015 at 12:57 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2015 at 03:10 p.m.

NFL rookies with the most to gain in training camp

Last year's rookie class was filled with guys who made an instant impact -- most of whom utilized training camp to develop as players and earn starting roles. As training camps kick into gear this year, all eyes will be on the top two overall picks in this draft class, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (first overall) and Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (second). But there are several other first-year pros who will be intriguing to follow over the next month. Here are my top 10 rookies with the most to gain during training camp, arranged according to draft order:

10 Photos Total

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 1, No. 7 overall.<br />
White was my top wide receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft, because of his combination of size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds), explosiveness and ball skills. However, he wasn't asked to run a large assortment of routes at West Virginia, and he'll need a lot of training-camp reps to get comfortable. Hopefully, he won't miss too much time with the shin injury that <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000504739/article/bears-wr-kevin-white-starts-camp-on-pup-list">currently has him on</a> the physically unable to perform list. 10

    Robin Alam/Associated Press

    Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears

    Draft position: Round 1, No. 7 overall.
    White was my top wide receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft, because of his combination of size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds), explosiveness and ball skills. However, he wasn't asked to run a large assortment of routes at West Virginia, and he'll need a lot of training-camp reps to get comfortable. Hopefully, he won't miss too much time with the shin injury that currently has him on the physically unable to perform list.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 1, No. 18 overall.<br />
Cornerback is one of the toughest positions to adjust to at the pro level -- but Peters likely won't have much time to sit and learn, following the <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000503417/article/chiefs-sean-smith-receives-threegame-suspension">three-game suspension</a> of veteran Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith. Peters would be wise to match up with new Kansas City receiver Jeremy Maclin as much as possible, in order to ready himself for the regular season. 9

    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs

    Draft position: Round 1, No. 18 overall.
    Cornerback is one of the toughest positions to adjust to at the pro level -- but Peters likely won't have much time to sit and learn, following the three-game suspension of veteran Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith. Peters would be wise to match up with new Kansas City receiver Jeremy Maclin as much as possible, in order to ready himself for the regular season.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 2, No. 34 overall.<br />
For first overall pick Jameis Winston to have a solid season at quarterback, he'll need Smith to protect his blind side well. To properly prepare for <a href="http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2015091311/2015/REG1/titans@buccaneers">the season opener</a> against the Titans, Smith needs to hog as many reps as possible during training camp; the Bucs don't have a backup plan. 8

    Cliff Welch/Associated Press

    Donovan Smith, LT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Draft position: Round 2, No. 34 overall.
    For first overall pick Jameis Winston to have a solid season at quarterback, he'll need Smith to protect his blind side well. To properly prepare for the season opener against the Titans, Smith needs to hog as many reps as possible during training camp; the Bucs don't have a backup plan.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 2, No. 38 overall.<br />
Smith -- one of my favorite players in the draft -- will have a chance to compete with Trent Murphy for the starting OLB spot in Washington opposite Ryan Kerrigan. He can learn a lot by challenging himself against left tackle Trent Williams every day. 7

    Luis M. Alvarez/Associated Press

    Preston Smith, OLB, Washington Redskins

    Draft position: Round 2, No. 38 overall.
    Smith -- one of my favorite players in the draft -- will have a chance to compete with Trent Murphy for the starting OLB spot in Washington opposite Ryan Kerrigan. He can learn a lot by challenging himself against left tackle Trent Williams every day.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 2, No. 51 overall.<br />
Orchard has created a lot of buzz prior to the start of training camp. With a strong performance, he could nail down a starting job in one of the most underrated front sevens in the NFL. 6

    David Richard/Associated Press

    Nate Orchard, LB, Cleveland Browns

    Draft position: Round 2, No. 51 overall.
    Orchard has created a lot of buzz prior to the start of training camp. With a strong performance, he could nail down a starting job in one of the most underrated front sevens in the NFL.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 2, No. 55 overall.<br />
The Ravens are very high on Williams, but he needs to earn the trust of quarterback Joe Flacco with a strong training camp. His combination of toughness, soft hands and intelligence should ease the transition from college to the NFL. 5

    Johnny Vy/NFL

    Maxx Williams, TE, Baltimore Ravens

    Draft position: Round 2, No. 55 overall.
    The Ravens are very high on Williams, but he needs to earn the trust of quarterback Joe Flacco with a strong training camp. His combination of toughness, soft hands and intelligence should ease the transition from college to the NFL.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 2, No. 59 overall.<br />
The Broncos suffered a big blow when left tackle Ryan Clady was <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000494533/article/broncos-ryan-clady-torn-acl-out-for-season">lost to a torn ACL</a> in the offseason --  and <a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/denver-broncos/post/_/id/13841/broncos-want-to-confirm-ty-sambrailo-is-ready-protect-peyton-mannings-blindside" target="_blank">the pressure will be on Sambrailo</a> to show he can take over. He struggled to anchor against power rushers in college, which is something he'll need to improve on during camp. 4

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Ty Sambrailo, LT, Denver Broncos

    Draft position: Round 2, No. 59 overall.
    The Broncos suffered a big blow when left tackle Ryan Clady was lost to a torn ACL in the offseason -- and the pressure will be on Sambrailo to show he can take over. He struggled to anchor against power rushers in college, which is something he'll need to improve on during camp.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 2, No. 60 overall.<br />
Gregory has several challenges to overcome in training camp: He needs to adjust to a new position, learn a new system and avoid dropping the weight he's added over the last few months. He has top-tier talent, and I believe he will use training camp to quickly make the necessary adjustments. 3

    James D. Smith/Associated Press

    Randy Gregory, DE, Dallas Cowboys

    Draft position: Round 2, No. 60 overall.
    Gregory has several challenges to overcome in training camp: He needs to adjust to a new position, learn a new system and avoid dropping the weight he's added over the last few months. He has top-tier talent, and I believe he will use training camp to quickly make the necessary adjustments.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 4, No. 113 overall.<br />
The Lions' interior defensive line was gutted in the offseason, with the departures via free agency of tackles Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley. The trade for Haloti Ngata will fill one spot, but the other is wide open. Wright is raw, but he is very explosive and should fit well into Detroit's scheme. He'll have the opportunity to learn from two of the top defensive line teachers in the NFL in coaches Kris Kocurek and Jim Washburn. 2

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Gabe Wright, DT, Detroit Lions

    Draft position: Round 4, No. 113 overall.
    The Lions' interior defensive line was gutted in the offseason, with the departures via free agency of tackles Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley. The trade for Haloti Ngata will fill one spot, but the other is wide open. Wright is raw, but he is very explosive and should fit well into Detroit's scheme. He'll have the opportunity to learn from two of the top defensive line teachers in the NFL in coaches Kris Kocurek and Jim Washburn.

  • <b>Draft position:</b> Round 5, No. 138 overall.<br />
Cobb was fun to study on college tape. He has excellent vision, patience and toughness. I think he's a real threat to emerge as the starter for the Titans if he has a solid training camp. 1

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans

    Draft position: Round 5, No. 138 overall.
    Cobb was fun to study on college tape. He has excellent vision, patience and toughness. I think he's a real threat to emerge as the starter for the Titans if he has a solid training camp.