Five early round NFL draft picks that are likely to be slow starters

Some early round draft picks, like Odell Beckham, Jr., and Khalil Mack, get off to great starts as rookies thanks to their talent and fit on a team. For others like Whitney Mercilus and Vic Beasley, it takes some time to get acclimated.

Let's take a look at five early round draft picks from this year who might get off to slower starts in their rookie seasons than their fan bases might be expecting.

Picked: Round 1, No. 2 overall
There will be Bears fans who will expect the rookie to sit and wait behind free-agent signee Mike Glennon, and there will be fans who expect the second pick of the draft to come in and earn a starting job right away since Glennon hasn't had meaningful snaps since 2014. If the organization decides to give Trubisky an opportunity to show what he can do early on, the results could be disappointing. Trubisky was my top-rated quarterback in the 2017 draft, but there is no getting around the fact that he started for only one season in college. While I think Trubisky has a good shot to become a solid NFL starter, expectations should run extremely low this year.

Picked: Round 1, No. 11 overall
Lattimore was easily the best cornerback in the 2017 draft, in my estimation, and I thought the Saints lucked into an incredible addition at pick No. 11. However, let's do the math on this one. Lattimore has one year of starting experience after suffering through chronic hamstring injuries as a freshman. Despite his outstanding talent, Lattimore is still at the earliest stages of learning his position and improving his pattern recognition. Lattimore steps right into a division with Cam Newton, Jameis Winston and Matt Ryan. He will be challenged immediately by some of the top quarterbacks and receivers (Julio Jones and Mike Evans) in the game. I feel confident it will happen for him eventually, but his rookie season will offer difficult challenges.

Picked: Round 1, No. 22 overall
Harris is at the top of the food chain when it comes to his spin moves and ability to create a new direction of attack. For that very reason, I felt like Harris would be best-suited in a defense that allowed the former basketball star to stand and play in space, where he could utilize his athletic ability to confound tackles. As a 4-3 defensive end, his strength at the point of attack, or lack thereof, could become an early concern as he attempts to hold his ground when challenged in the running game. Harris might need to add more strength and overall bulk to his frame before he is ready to handle every-down duties at defensive end.

Picked: Round 1, No. 30 overall
Watt might have landed with the perfect team from a fit standpoint. He plays the game with a terrific motor and good physicality. He's technically proficient off the edge. With all of that said, I could see his rookie year becoming more of a redshirt season than a productive campaign. Watt should benefit from a year in the weight room to add muscle in preparation for his battles against NFL tackles. Watt is also an effort pass rusher who relies on a very good push-pull move to whip tackles. That move is much tougher to pull off against an NFL tackle and I think his rookie year could become a feeling-out process for what will and won't work. Without a big edge burst to get after the quarterback, his production could be a little light this season.

Picked: Round 2, No. 64 overall
Moton took reps at both left and right tackle for the Panthers in minicamp, but I still think the jury is out on whether his best position will be right tackle or right guard. Moton needs work with his pass sets and has a tendency to over-set, allowing pass rushers quality angles for inside moves. I'm also a little concerned about how wide he gets with his hands. While these issues can be correctable, they usually take time. There is also a chance that these issues won't get cleaned up. Regardless, I think Moton could have some big struggles if rushed into a starting tackle spot as a rookie.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content


See all the Action

Replay every game all season.