NFL Rookies with Big Potential
The 2017 NFL Draft was a selection marathon for the upcoming NFL season. The mini-camps will display the newest and youngest talent from college to step up to the next level. There is a lot of potential that will develop quickly or overrated potential that makes the draft a gamble on human nature from a birds-eye view.
Can these rookie draft picks extend their strong college talent to their new NFL team.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette was an easy pick for the Jags. He was the most talented running back available in the draft that Tom Coughlin wanted in Jacksonville. Fournette will face a learning curve if he can focus on the game. The former Tiger will need to round out his game to find the same sort of success Ezekiel Elliott did in his first year with Dallas, but his enthusiasm and interest must remain intact for his great potential to excel.
The Jaguars knew exactly what adjustments Fournette would need to make at the next level, but they’ve pieced together an offense that will allow him to flourish despite that ongoing transition. He’ll be effective as a first and second down back and make third downs more manageable for Blake Bortles. Fournette can become a dominant three-down back who creates a strong weapon against opposing defenses.
Fournette may struggle a little early in the season but he is a talented back and hopefully motivated enough to be a top league running back. At that point, he’ll be one of the most talked about rookies in the entire league.
Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett was selected No. 1 in the NFL Draft because he is the most complete NFL-ready player available and his potential is considered a sure thing. Garrett is being compared to Julius Peppers in his prime and Garrett will show sudden impact. He is projected to record double-digit sacks in 2017 and will menace quarterbacks.
Cleveland hasn’t had a solid pass rush in over 10 years and Garrett will change that. His presence will make Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib better, and it will take pressure off the secondary, and boost not just the defense, but the entire Browns team. Cleveland did their homework and their draft selections were highly regarded.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffrey adds a variety of play calling for the Panthers offense, especially when you have the athletic ability of Cam Newton at quarterback. It creates a dilemma for opposing defenses to adjust to the versatility of both players. McCaffrey has shown the ability to be a successful three-down back, and that’s unlikely to change in the NFL. He can find holes or bounce things to the outside.
McCaffrey will also help produce higher percentage passes for Newton as defenses will have to play a tighter field position essentially opening up the field for other playmakers. McCaffrey can also enter the game as a return man and is a multi-talented player who is likely to have an immediate impact in Carolina.
Jamal Adams, Safety, New York Jets
The Jets were totally pleased and did not expect Jamal Adams to be available — no one could have. But the NFL Draft is full of surprises at times and anything is possible when your are prepared to act according to your scouting consensus.
While the Jets had been preparing to go in a different direction, they landed the best safety available and immediately upgraded the position ahead of 2017. The Jets let go of their top safety Revis and some other well known Jets but their one safety gap was filled quickly.
Adams will be the starter in New York. He will be a leader in the secondary and he will eventually become a defensive captain. He’ll be in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year because he is legitimately that good.