Best/worst-case projections for notable defensive NFL rookies

As training camps swing into gear around the league, NFL.com analyst and former scout Daniel Jeremiah projects the best- and worst-case scenarios for seven intriguing defensive rookies.

Chase Young, DE, Washington Football Team

Drafted: Round 1, No. 2 overall, out of Ohio State.

Best-case scenario: Young dominates games the way he did at Ohio State. He starts from Day 1 and teams up with Montez Sweat to give the Washington Football Team the best young pass-rush duo in the NFL. He racks up a couple multiple-sack games and more than holds his own against the run.

Worst-case scenario: The pass-rush opportunities are limited because his team rarely enjoys playing with a big lead. He still finds ways to impact the game with his overall skill set. I would put the floor at seven sacks this fall. He's just too talented to dip below that number.

Projected stats: 50 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

Jeff Okudah, CB, Detroit Lions

Drafted: Round 1, No. 3 overall, out of Ohio State.

Best-case scenario: He steps right in and fills the void created by the departure of Darius Slay. He uses his size and length to mirror and match the bigger wideouts in the division (Davante Adams, Allen Robinson). His physicality is also a tremendous asset in the run game.

Worst-case scenario: He struggles to get his hands on the smaller, quicker wide receivers and displays the stiffness that showed up at the NFL Scouting Combine. He gives up some plays underneath but his recovery speed helps to minimize the damage.

Projected stats: 55 tackles and three interceptions.

Derrick Brown, DT, Carolina Panthers

Drafted: Round 1, No. 7 overall, out of Auburn.

Best-case scenario: Brown starts immediately and dominates against the run. He creates a steady push as a pass rusher and helps 2019 first-round pick Brian Burns produce double-digit sacks. His effort and aggressiveness aid new head coach Matt Rhule in establishing an identity for his defense.

Worst-case scenario: He creates a lot of stalemates in the run game but fails to make plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He struggles to generate a consistent pass rush and starts to see those snaps taken away from him as the year progresses.

Projected stats: 45 tackles and three sacks.

Isaiah Simmons, LB, Arizona Cardinals

Drafted: Round 1, No. 8 overall, out of Clemson.

Best-case scenario: Simmons proves to be the perfect player for this team and the NFC West. He matches up well vs. George Kittle when the Cardinals face the 49ers and his range is a big factor in slowing down Russell Wilson in games against the Seahawks. His versatility allows his role to morph on a weekly basis.

Worst-case scenario: The coaching staff asks him to do too many things and he never gets completely comfortable. His lack of physicality shows up in a division where the opposition can run the football.

Projected stats: 75 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks.

K'Lavon Chaisson, edge, Jacksonville Jaguars

Drafted: Round 1, No. 20 overall, out of LSU.

Best-case scenario: The progress he showed last season carries over to this year. He takes another step in his development and refines his technique as a pass rusher, allowing the Jags to move on from Yannick Ngakoue. That frees up more pass-rush opportunities for Chaisson opposite Josh Allen, who is coming off an outstanding rookie year.

Worst-case scenario: Chaisson performs like he did early in his career at LSU: A great athlete who is very raw as a pass rusher. He fails to draw any attention away from Allen, which hurts their defense. And if Ngakoue isn't traded, the rookie's snaps will be somewhat limited.

Projected stats: 35 tackles and seven sacks.

Kenneth Murray, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

Drafted: Round 1, No. 23 overall, out of Oklahoma.

Best-case scenario: Teams up with Drue Tranquill to form a great duo at linebacker in Gus Bradley's defense. His speed jumps off the tape and he grows into the leader of the front seven.

Worst-case scenario: After a truncated offseason, he's not ready to supplant Denzel Perryman at the position from the jump. It takes a month or so into the season before he emerges as the full-time starter, but he still goes on to have a very impactful 2020 campaign.

Projected stats: 85 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.

Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Drafted: Round 2, No. 45 overall, out of Minnesota.

Best-case scenario: He emerges as a dark-horse Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. His ball skills carry over from college and he's highly productive playing behind a very good pass rush.

Worst-case scenario: It takes a while for him to become a starter. He can do a lot of different things, so his versatility might shine more than his production. The injury issues that plagued him in college carry over to the NFL.

Projected stats: 65 tackles and four interceptions.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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