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The Brandt Report
2017 All-Rookie Team
As I did last year, I thought I'd take a look back at the top first-year talent from the 2017 season and assemble an all-star team of the NFL's top rookies. Below is my position-by-position look at the cream of the rookie crop.
Just missed the cut: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars; Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars; Takk McKinley, DE, Falcons; Deatrich Wise, DT, Patriots; Zach Cunningham, LB, Texans; Haason Reddick, LB, Cardinals.
Jim Brown, Tom Brady among best offensive players I've seen
I have seen a lot of football over the years. In fact, I can say that I've probably seen every top player in the NFL since about 1959 or so, whether at the combine, during workouts or in training camp. And seeing a player in person can really leave an impression on you.
Inspired by NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016," I thought I'd go back over all the players I've watched in person and compile a list of the best offensive players I've ever seen.
This is not meant to be a definitive, all-time-best list; it is entirely subjective and reflects my personal opinions based largely on what I've witnessed with my own eyes. As with any list of this sort, many notable names were left out -- not because I've overlooked them, but because they just didn't crack the lineup.
Below is my list of the best offensive players I've seen, presented in reverse order.
Top 16 late-round picks since the Tom Brady draft
Saturday -- April 16, 2016 -- will mark the 16th anniversary of what turned out to be a momentous occasion in NFL history: the selection of Tom Brady with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
In honor of this date, I've compiled a list of the 16 best players selected in the fourth round or later in the past 16 drafts. It was tough to narrow the group down, as we could easily expand this list to 50 players -- note that some recent standouts, like Panthers CB Josh Norman (a fifth-round pick), did not make the cut. Below, presented in reverse order, you can see 16 studs who were uncovered after the elite prospects in their class were snapped up.
Noah Spence, Connor Cook among combine duds who can become NFL studs
The NFL Scouting Combine is important, but it's not everything. That is to say, falling short of expectations in Indy doesn't necessarily guarantee a player won't shine on the field as a professional.
Take Marcus Peters, for example. The 2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year had a less-than-dazzling showing at the combine last year, making my "combine duds who can be NFL studs" list, along with offensive lineman Rob Havenstein (who went on to start for the Rams) and running back T.J. Yeldon (who had a promising rookie season in Jacksonville).
Who among this year's crop should we expect to shine despite unexceptional combine performances? See my list (in alphabetical order) below:
2016 NFL Scouting Combine: Players with something to prove
Are you an NFL prospect looking to put to bed doubts about your football future or answer lingering questions about your potential at the next level? Well, the Lucas Oil Stadium turf is a great place to start.
Yes, it is incumbent on all participants of the NFL Scouting Combine to perform well, but some young players are facing higher stakes than others. Some have a great deal to prove when they show their stuff in front of scouts and coaches in Indianapolis.
Below, see my list of 10 prospects with something to prove at the combine, arranged according to how much they have to prove.
2015 All-Rookie Team
The 2015 rookie class might not have featured an overwhelming talent surge at any one position, à la the collection of rookie receivers who dominated 2014, but plenty of standout players entered the NFL this season.
When compiling my 2015 All-Rookie Team, for example, I did have to make tough calls at running back, with David Johnson of the Cardinals squeezed out by an undrafted free agent, and cornerback, with Kevin Johnson of the Texans and Byron Jones of the Cowboys not making the cut despite strong debuts. Notably, this year's group included four undrafted players, while just one -- kicker Chandler Catanzaro -- landed on last year's squad.
Let's get to the good stuff -- my 2015 All-Rookie Team: