With the 2014 NFL draft in the rear-view mirror, rookies around the league are trying to acclimate themselves in spring OTAs and minicamps. The pace of the NFL is a massive adjustment for most—one that should temper expectations for even the shiniest new prospects.
Nevertheless, rookies will inevitably play critical roles on contending teams in 2014, even those selected beyond the first two days. Indeed, while the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Sammy Watkins are more likely to become foundational superstars, mid-round picks are the necessary cogs that sustain any long-term stretch of success.
When identifying potential mid-round steals, it's important to consider not only a player's upside but his environment as well. Thus, the prospects on this list are not necessarily the 20 best mid- to late-round players, but rather they are the ones who have the best opportunity to make a meaningfully positive impact in 2014.
With that in mind, here are the overlooked rookies most likely to emerge as important difference-makers next season.