After the NFL Draft, there is always huge media speculation about many players who are capable of producing wonderful performances for their new team – but that is all it is; speculation. The new season is well underway now and many rookies are starting their careers at the highest level with differing degrees of success.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz has opened up his NFL career like a seasoned veteran. The former North Dakota State star has overseen his Eagles offense to three successive victories – and some impressive statistics including five touchdown passes without an interception. The 23 year-old so far has shown all the requirements to succeed at the next level, and if Wentz can lead his team to the postseason, then he must be a very strong candidate for rookie honors.
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted two highly vaunted defensive picks in Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. However, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is further proof that the Jaguars’ scouting network is working extremely well. The third-round selection from Maryland leads the rookie league for sacks and forced fumbles after the opening four games. The Jags are an unlikely candidate for the postseason, but their defense looks to be in very solid shape in the short and long term with the aforementioned trio.
An injury to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo forced the selection of rookie signal caller, Dak Prescott, who has performed admirably in Romo’s absence. Prescott’s hand-off man – running back Ezekiel Elliott is already showing his worth to the Cowboys franchise. The three-down back’s workload has increased, but Elliott is producing very well behind the Cowboys’ stellar offensive line. Elliott’s ceiling of potential is endless, and even if the fourth overall selection from Ohio State doesn’t walk away with rookie honors this season, a long and successful career looks assured.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have found themselves a bookend corner in the shape of Vernon Hargreaves. With the 11th overall selection, Hargreaves was drafted behind fellow corner, Jalen Ramsey, but the Bucs could well have the better of the two impressive prospects on the early evidence at the NFL level. In comparison, Hargreaves does not possess the physical attributes of Ramsey, but the ball skills and coverage ability can ultimately show the former Florida Gator as the more likely option for rookie awards.
Fantasy owners of Odell Beckham Jr have yet to see their star Giants wide out flourish with huge numbers so far this season, one key reason is the emergence of Sterling Shepard as another option for quarterback Eli Manning. Shepard already has two TD’s – Beckham has yet to find the end zone – and has been a more popular target than veteran Victor Cruz for Manning. Shepard has the extra opportunity to shine as a rookie receiver this season with the untimely hand injury to Browns’ star Corey Coleman potentially putting the Giants man as the leading first-year wide man.
It was no real secret that the Atlanta Falcons had big holes to fill in the center of their defense for 2016, and with the selection of linebacker, Deion Jones from LSU, those holes have shrunk significantly. Jones leads the league for rookies with 30 tackles, and had the pleasure of intercepting Drew Brees in Week 3, returning the ball 90 yards for the touchdown. One of Jones’ main attributes is his athleticism, which will help his opportunities on the field for his new team.