2014 NFL Draft: High-Grade Picks That Will Produce Quick Results

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMay 12, 2014

Houston Texans No. 1 overall NFL draft pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney smiles during an introductory NFL football news conference Friday, May 9, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

NFL teams will be patient with their rookies, but you can bet every franchise would love to see its selections hit the ground running.

Some of the teams will be fortunate to field rookies who will have an immediate impact. The obvious choices are the first-rounders—and there's one on this short list—but the others were taken on the second and third days.

Take a look at three players to watch right away in the NFL. The common theme with each of them is opportunity.


Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans, 1st Round

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

As the No. 1 overall pick, Clowney has the highest expectations on him. Those high standards were created because of his enormous talent.

As a pass-rusher, no player in the last 10-15 years has been as naturally gifted. His explosion and speed will make him a terror for opposing quarterbacks.

He's fortunate to be headed to a team where there's already an elite pass-rusher on the roster. J.J. Watt will garner a ton of attention, which should allow Clowney the room to be exceptional as a rookie.

The NFL's Twitter account is already telling fans and opposing teams to "get ready":

Look back at his freshman and sophomore seasons at South Carolina. With Melvin Ingram (as a freshman) and Devin Taylor on the same defensive line, Clowney wasn't the only man offenses were concerned with slowing down.

The Texans also locked up beefy nose tackle Louis Nix III from Notre Dame. Did any other team solidify one unit more than Houston did in the NFL draft?

I think not.

With Watt as a teammate, Clowney should have his opportunities to go one-on-one in his rookie season. These two could form the nastiest pass-rushing duo in the NFL, and soon.


Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans, 2nd Round

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29: Bishop Sankey #25 of Washington rushes the ball during the second half of a game against Washington State at Husky Stadium on November 29, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. Washington won the game 27-17. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Ge
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

It took a while for a running back to be taken—54 picks to be exact—but when the Titans took a halfback, they got a good one.

Sankey has speed, great hands and toughness.

With Chris Johnson being released, the Titans had a clear need for another running back. Sankey is a player who can do so many things well. Along with rushing for 1,870 yards, Sankey also caught 28 passes for 304 yards in 2013.

He is a player fantasy football owners should have their eye on. He's a prime candidate to become a major dual-threat back.


Brock Vereen, Chicago Bears, 4th Round

Oct 26, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen (21) tackles Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp (1) for a lose in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Jess

Most fourth-round picks won't come to camp expecting to be an immediate starter, but Vereen should be seen as the front-runner to start at free safety for the Bears.

Vereen played safety and corner at the University of Minnesota. He told the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Potash that he's ready to play either position for the Bears:

I feel comfortable at both [positions]. I felt that I made plays at both and whichever one the Bears think that I need to play to help them out the most, I’d be more than happy to be there. They haven’t specified which spot, but I’m more than happy to do whatever it take to be on the field. I’m just coming in willing to be coached.

Anyone who has watched the Bears play over the last two seasons knows Vereen is most needed at safety.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chris Conte has mustered a minus-17.7 rating in his time with the Bears. The team signed M.D. Jennings, but he isn't going to make anyone burn their Gary Fencik and Dave Duerson jerseys either.

Vereen's speed, aggressiveness and youth give him a leg up on the competition.