Predicting Every NFL Team's Biggest 2021 Impact Rookie

Alex KayContributor IMay 12, 2021

Predicting Every NFL Team's Biggest 2021 Impact Rookie

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The 2021 NFL draft class is full of talented skill-position players, dominant linemen and impact defenders who are poised to make immediate impacts as rookies.

    While not every first-year player is bound to have a strong campaign—or even make a roster—many of these prospects seem like locks to thrive during their professional debuts.

    Read on for a look at the rookie on each team that has the most potential to shine in 2021.

AFC East

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    Buffalo Bills: Edge Boogie Basham

    The Bills selected a pair of edge-rushers with their first two picks in the 2021 draft, taking Greg Rousseau in the first round and Boogie Basham in the second. While both are projected to eventually play a big role on the aging Buffalo defensive line, Basham is the more pro-ready prospect of the two.

    Rousseau, the No. 30 pick, is a prototypical tall and athletic pass-rusher. However, the 6'6", 266-pounder is a late-bloomer at the position, having played safety and wideout for much of his high school career. Miami converted him to a full-time defensive lineman, where he has showed incredible promise and flashes, but he is still relatively raw and inexperienced.

    Basham should be a more consistent and reliable edge-rusher for Buffalo in 2021, having dominated during his time at Wake Forest. The 6'3", 281-pounder recorded 28 tackles—5.5 for a loss—five sacks and a forced fumble in just seven games last year. His ceiling isn't nearly as high as Rousseau's, but Basham has the experience, frame and strength to be an immediate contributor for the Bills as a rookie.

    Expect Basham to log far more snaps than his first-round counterpart in 2021, establishing himself as one of the NFL's better young defensive linemen.


    Miami Dolphins: WR Jaylen Waddle

    Although the Dolphins missed out on elite prospects like Ja'Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts after trading back to No. 6, they still picked up one of the class' best wideouts in Jaylen Waddle. In fact, they had Waddle ranked above everyone but Trevor Lawrence, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

    Waddle should get an incredible amount of opportunity in this Miami offense, which has sorely lacked quality wideouts in recent years. The Alabama product will be reuniting with collegiate quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who helped him become one of the most dangerous receivers in the country during his true freshman campaign in 2018.

    Waddle finished his career in Tuscaloosa with 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns on only 133 targets. The 5'10", 182-pounder may not be the biggest target, but he should dominate out of the slot as a rookie.


    New England Patriots: QB Mac Jones

    Few teams were more fortunate in the 2021 draft than the Patriots, who stayed put at No. 15 and still ended up with a potential franchise quarterback in Mac Jones.

    The Alabama signal-caller appears to be a perfect fit with the Patriots, who overhauled their roster this offseason following a disappointing 7-9 campaign last year. New England is ready to win now, but it was lacking a promising young quarterback to run the offense.

    Although head coach Bill Belichick expects Cam Newton to begin the season as the starting quarterback, it should only be a matter of time before the rookie usurps him.

    Jones was considered one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks of the five prospects selected in the first round. He has a great feel for the game and avoids mistakes, traits that should have him starting for the Patriots early in his career.


    New York Jets: RB Michael Carter

    The Jets are loaded with rookie talent at some of the most important positions on the field. They acquired a slew of potential stars such as quarterback Zach Wilson, offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker and wide receiver Elijah Moore early in the draft.

    While all of them are projected to play a big role in 2021, running back Michael Carter may end up making the biggest immediate impact of any Gang Green draft pick. The UNC product is one of the most explosive prospects in his class and ended up in a perfect situation to showcase his talents.

    Carter, who is capable of ripping off a big play at any time and can contribute as a pass-catcher, will have a legitimate opportunity to become New York's bell-cow back this season. The Jets' incumbent options leave much to be desired, and it would hardly be a shock to see Carter beat out Ty Johnson, Tevin Coleman and La'Mical Perine for the starting job.

    The versatile fourth-round pick looks to be the best of the bunch, which means he should have plenty of chances to put up huge numbers this season.

AFC North

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    Baltimore Ravens: WR Rashod Bateman

    The Ravens failed to sign a much-needed receiver in free agency, but they picked they best option on the board when they were on the clock at No. 27.

    Rashod Bateman was widely regarded as one of best prospects in a talented receiving class. While the Minnesota product fell to the bottom of Day 1, he landed on a club that desperately needs his abilities.

    Baltimore ran the ball far more than any other team in the league last year, which isn't a surprise given the lack of weapons for former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson to target. The cupboard was rather bare outside of Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews this past season, but Bateman will help fill the void in 2021.

    Bateman possesses incredible hands and strength and plays bigger than his 6'1", 193-pound frame suggests. He's extremely physical and runs crisp routes, a skill set that makes him one of the most pro-ready wideouts in this draft. Bateman should burst onto the scene as the Ravens No. 1 wideout right out of the gate, finally giving Jackson a reliable target outside the slot and tight end spots.


    Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja'Marr Chase

    Although the Bengals had some massive issues along their offensive line that they needed to address, they decided to forego drafting a surefire left tackle like Penei Sewell at No. 5 and instead took a game-breaking wideout in Ja'Marr Chase.

    The LSU product was widely projected to be the first wideout off the board due to his otherworldly athleticism and speed. Chase, who measured in at 6'0" and 201 pounds and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro day, has the ability to win balls like few others at his position can.

    His explosiveness and hands not only make him the best of the rookie wideouts, but will likely place him amongst the best in the league overall.

    Chase and Joe Burrow will be putting up eye-popping stats for years to come, becoming cornerstones that Cincinnati can build one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL around.


    Cleveland Browns: ILB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

    Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had one of the biggest draft-day falls of any prospect. The Notre Dame star was widely expected to be a first-round pick, but he didn't end up being selected until the Browns stopped his slide at No. 52.

    Expect Owusu-Koramoah to play with a chip on his shoulder after he was passed over so many times, adding an edge to his game that was already one of the most polished and pro-ready of any defender in his class.

    While he's technically listed as an interior linebacker, JOK can line up at several positions for Cleveland's defense. The 6'1", 215-pounder has the speed to cover receivers, the size to match up with tight ends and the strength to shed defenders and get into the backfield to bring down running backs.

    Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods will get to show off his creativity when deploying Owusu-Koramoah, who will likely end up being one of the better rookie playmakers in 2021. Whether he's blowing up the opposing quarterback, snaring interceptions or forcing fumbles, JOK's presence will be felt every time he steps on the field.


    Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris

    The Steelers had a glaring need at running back and decided to get the best on the board by drafting Najee Harris at No. 24 overall.

    No rookie back is more primed for a successful campaign than the Alabama product, who should immediately step in as a workhorse in Pittsburgh.

    Harris is in line for a ton of touches, and that volume will allow him to overcome any issues that the Steelers lackluster offensive line—which lost several starters this offseason, including longtime center Maurkice Pouncey—has in 2021.

    Harris is the type of all-around back that has been missing from the Pittsburgh roster since Le'Veon Bell was taking snaps in 2017. The former Crimson Tide star could end up putting up similar numbers to what Bell did during his heyday, racking up a ton of totes and reeling in a myriad of catches from the jump.

AFC South

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    Houston Texans: WR Nico Collins

    The Texans didn't have any picks in the first or second rounds this year thanks to the Laremy Tunsil trade. They made their first selection at No. 67, taking Stanford quarterback Davis Mills, but their other third-rounder is likely to make a bigger impact in 2021.

    Michigan wideout Nico Collins, the No. 89 overall pick, will provide some sorely needed depth to the Texans' thin receiving corps. Collins opted out of the 2020 season, but he hauled in 75 catches for 1,361 yards and 13 touchdowns across his 2018 and 2019 campaigns.

    At 6'4" and 215 pounds, the Wolverines receiver brings elite measurables to the table. He needs to become more consistent, but Collins will get ample opportunity to polish his game in Houston. Considering that the Texans traded up to make this pick, the coaching staff should be working to integrate him into the offense with a sizable role sooner than later.


    Indianapolis Colts: Edge Kwity Paye

    Despite having a massive hole at left tackle following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, the Colts didn't address the offensive line until the final round of the 2021 draft. Indianapolis instead used a pair of early picks to shore up the other side of the trenches, taking both Kwity Paye (No. 21) and Dayo Odeyingbo (No. 54).

    Paye should see significant playing time at right defensive end for the Colts this coming season. He should be comfortable manning that position after he lined up on both edges of the defensive line during his tenure in Ann Arbor.

    The Michigan product amassed only 11.5 sacks over his four seasons at Michigan, but he has the rare combination of size (6'2", 261 pounds), speed (he ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash at his pro day) and strength (putting up 36 reps on the bench) that makes him an elite edge-rushing prospect in the NFL.

    If Paye can put it all together and get deployed properly in Indy's defense, he might tally double-digit sacks as a rookie.


    Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence

    The Jaguars finally found the franchise quarterback they coveted.

    After drafting Trevor Lawrence with the top overall pick this year, the Jaguars are poised to move into their next era with a new signal-caller and head coach in Urban Meyer. They haven't fully cleared the path for Lawrence to start in Week 1—they have reportedly been taking calls regarding incumbent Gardner Minshew II—but it would be a major surprise if the Clemson star doesn't assume that role right away.

    Since Lawrence is a generational quarterback prospect, he should thrive early in his pro career. He's been successful at every stop along the way—including guiding the Tigers to a national championship as a true freshman—and that won't change in the NFL.


    Tennessee Titans: CB Caleb Farley

    After parting ways with both of last year's starting cornerbacks, the Titans completed a revamp of their positional depth chart during the draft by taking Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley at No. 22 overall.

    Tennessee released Adoree' Jackson and Malcolm Butler early in the offseason and didn't sign anyone outside of Janoris Jenkins that could conceivably start outside. In Farley, the Titans now have one of the more intriguing rookie defensive backs, one who could assume a starting job as early as Week 1.

    Farley stands at an impressive 6'2 and 197 pounds and is relatively fast for a corner of his stature. He's a certified ballhawk who recorded four interceptions in only 10 games in 2019, and he likely would have been selected much earlier had he not been plagued by back injuries during his collegiate career.

    If Farley can stay healthy, he has what it takes to be a breakout defender. He could lead all rookies in interceptions this season.

AFC West

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    Denver Broncos: RB Javonte Williams

    Although the Broncos didn't select quarterback Justin Fields at No. 9, they still improved their offense by using a second-round pick on North Carolina running back Javonte Williams.

    Williams was part of a dynamic duo with Michael Carter at Chapel Hill, and he should find himself in a similar role while splitting carries with veteran back Melvin Gordon III in Denver. While Williams will have to contend with Gordon for snaps, he should emerge as a dangerous weapon in his rookie campaign.

    The UNC product is extremely difficult to bring down—he led the nation in missed tackles forced last season with 76, per Pro Football Focus—and he set a record for broken tackles per rushing attempt with .48 per carry, according to Aric DiLalla of the Broncos website. Williams is both a battering ram and shifty, which is a terrifying combination for opposing defenses.

    Even if he doesn't get the lion's share of work right away, Williams appears to be the most talented of the Denver backs at this juncture. He should see his snaps increase each week and will wind up as one of the better young backs in the league in due time.


    Kansas City Chiefs: WR Cornell Powell

    The Chiefs parted ways with Sammy Watkins this offseason, letting the injury-prone wideout walk after three disappointing seasons in Kansas City. The team didn't bolster its receiving corps during free agency, which means sixth-round pick Cornell Powell may be picking up the slack in 2021.

    Powell was a late bloomer at Clemson, finally emerging during his senior season. After tallying only 40 catches for 329 receiving yards and three touchdowns across his first four seasons, he hauled in 53 catches for 882 yards and seven touchdowns last year.

    Powell still has to prove that his senior season wasn't a fluke, but he landed in a perfect situation to excel.

    Kansas City has few reliable options outside of Tyreek Hill, which means Powell should get an opportunity to earn quarterback Patrick Mahomes' trust. If the Clemson product can show enough during camp to integrate himself into the offense, he will be able to post some great numbers for a late-round pick.


    Las Vegas Raiders: S Trevon Moehrig

    The Raiders needed a safety this offseason and were able to get one of the best rookies on the board at an extreme value.

    TCU safety Trevon Moehrig, who was widely projected to be selected in the first round, didn't hear his name called until Vegas stopped his fall at No. 43 overall. It was an excellent pickup for the Raiders, who were looking for a free safety to install alongside Johnathan Abram.

    Moehrig is almost a surefire starter for the club, which recently released veteran safety Jeff Heath to clear a path for the rookie. The versatile defensive back is excellent in coverage and should shore up a Raiders defense that was susceptible to big plays last year.


    Los Angeles Chargers: CB Asante Samuel Jr.

    Asante Samuel Jr. was one of the more polarizing cornerback prospects in the draft. The Florida State product has the skills to be an elite defensive back in the NFL, but there were concerns about how his small stature would limit his ability to cover bigger receivers.

    Despite those reservations, the Chargers felt comfortable enough to take Samuel at No. 47 overall.

    The Bolts now have a prospect whose floor is a tremendous nickel cornerback, one who should get a huge amount of playing time as soon as Week 1. While he may end up spending most of his time covering the slot, Samuel has the athleticism and strength to outperform his 5'10" height on the outside.

    Chris Harris Jr. is the Chargers' only proven cornerback returning for 2021, so Samuel should get plenty of chances to show what he can do. Expect him to make the most of them by performing well in coverage and creating turnovers.

NFC East

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    Dallas Cowboys: ILB Micah Parsons

    The Cowboys secured one of the draft's best defensive prospects when they took Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons at No. 12 overall.

    Dallas made a shrewd move early in the draft, dropping down two spots and still coming away with a bona fide star who will help make its defense better. Parsons has all of the attributes a team could want in a linebacker, starting with top-tier athleticism and blazing speed that allows him to get sideline to sideline with ease.

    Parsons is the current favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, per DraftKings. Not only could he lead the league in tackles, but he could also come up with an impressive number of interceptions, sacks and forced fumbles.


    New York Giants: WR Kadarius Toney

    The Giants weren't able to select DeVonta Smith after the Eagles traded up one spot ahead to take the Alabama wideout, a move that reportedly enraged the New York brass, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. Although the Giants didn't get the reigning Heisman winner, the team should be quite happy with the player it landed after trading back to No. 20 overall.

    Kadarius Toney will likely line up in the slot regularly for New York as a rookie, and the 6'0", 193-pounder should be able to thrive in that role. He brings immense quickness and explosiveness off the line and has quality hands that allow him to make big plays.

    It would be a waste to only put Toney in the slot, however, as the Giants can scheme up all sorts of ways to get the ball in the rookie's hands. The Gators utilized him as a gadget player, and he could thrive in a similar role in New York.

    With Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton all in line for receiving targets, Toney can work as a big-play threat who will hit at least a few home runs for New York this season.


    Philadelphia Eagles: WR DeVonta Smith

    Even with an uncertain situation under center, it's hard to fault the Eagles for ignoring their quarterback position during the draft.

    They may already have a quality starter in Jalen Hurts, who took over the role from Carson Wentz late last season. They'll now get a chance to see what he can do with a star wideout.

    Philadelphia moved up to get DeVonta Smith at No. 10 overall, reuniting him with his college quarterback. Although Smith and Hurts hooked up only 12 times on 20 targets for 207 yards and two touchdowns between 2017 and 2018, per Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, that familiarity can't hurt as they prepare for the 2021 campaign.

    Although Smith's slender 6'1", 170-pound build raises concerns about his durability, there is no denying his production for the Crimson Tide. He's one of the most polished route-runners out there and plays tougher than his size indicates, which should make him an immediate contributor in the NFL.


    Washington Football Team: OLB Jamin Davis

    Washington was in the market for a quarterback during the 2021 draft, but it opted against paying the high price of moving up the board. The team likely won't regret the decision to stand pat, as it ended up with a tremendous linebacker prospect who may end up anchoring the defense for years to come.

    Kentucky's Jamin Davis landed with an ideal franchise to showcase his talents, playing behind a powerful defensive front that helped Washington win the NFC East last year. The linebacker boasts world-class athleticism and size for the position, and he has the speed that allows him to make plays all over the field.

    Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said he plans to deploy the Wildcats star at outside linebacker, but it hardly matters where Davis lines up. Whether he's rushing the passer, dropping back into coverage or stuffing the rush, Davis should be heavily involved in Washington's defensive plans for 2021.

NFC North

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    Chicago Bears: QB Justin Fields

    The Bears were a long shot to land the elite quarterback prospect the organization so desperately needed going into the 2021 draft, but fate smiled on the team—which held the No. 20 pick—during the event. After watching Ohio State's Justin Fields fall outside the top 10, Chicago managed to swing a trade with the Giants to move up nine spots and secure the promising signal-caller.

    Considering the Bears were planning to go to war with free-agent signing Andy Dalton as their No. 1 QB this year, Fields represents a breath of fresh air for a club that has been trying to find a franchise quarterback for more than half a century. It is far from certain the Buckeyes signal-caller will pan out, but he represents the best chance Chicago has had to employ a star under center in quite some time.

    Not only is Fields a quality passer—he finished his time in Columbus having completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 5,373 yards and 63 touchdowns against just nine interceptions in 22 games—but he's also a dual-threat who can make plays with his legs. Fields punched in 15 scores on the ground over the last two seasons, mobility that will give opposing defensive coordinators fits in the NFL.

    He may not be truly ready to run head coach Matt Nagy's offense in Week 1, but Fields will likely be asked to learn on the fly and should have more good moments than bad during his rookie year.


    Detroit Lions: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

    There is a full rebuild underway in Detroit after the team parted ways with numerous veterans from the Matt Patricia era this offseason. One position that will look almost entirely different in 2021 is wide receiver, as the Lions let both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr.—their top two wideouts last season—walk in free agency.

    There is a serious lack of proven options in the Detroit receiving corps, which has guys like Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams and Kalif Raymond set to play significant roles. It's not an ideal circumstance for new quarterback Jared Goff to inherit, but he'll have a promising rookie in Amon-Ra St. Brown to lean on this year.

    The USC wideout didn't come off the board until the fourth round, but he could see more usage than most of the receivers in his class. The Lions will likely have St. Brown working out of the slot, a position the speedy 5'11", 197-pound prospect had the most success at during his time with the Trojans.

    Considering how flawed this Lions team is, the offense will likely be tasked with throwing often to try to stay in games. St. Brown will benefit from this significantly, picking up a ton of volume and breaking out as a legit rookie slot receiver.


    Green Bay Packers: WR Amari Rodgers

    Coming off back-to-back NFC Championship Game appearances, the Packers had few needs going into the draft. They did have had some struggles getting consistent production from receivers not named Davante Adams in recent seasons but may have found a solution in the form of Amari Rodgers.

    Green Bay tapped Rodgers with a third-round selection, bringing in a player who could compete for the No. 2 wideout role immediately. The Clemson product mostly played in the slot during college due to his 5'9" height, but he has the bulk at 212 pounds and strength to work outside for the Packers.

    While Green Bay must address the massive problem of reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers revealing he doesn't wish to play for the team anymore, drafting a player like Amari Rodgers certainly doesn't hurt the club's case when it comes to enticing its quarterback to return. Regardless of who ends up under center this season, the talented rookie wideout will likely garner plenty of targets in 2021.


    Minnesota Vikings: OT Christian Darrisaw

    The Vikings had a huge void to fill at left tackle following the release of Riley Reiff this offseason. The team appears to have shored up the position for years to come with the selection of Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw, a hulking offensive lineman who thrived at LT over the last three years.

    Given his 6'5", 322-pound frame, Darrisaw has the size to protect his quarterbacks from any defender. He is surprisingly agile for such a massive player too, moving deftly on his feet to make blocks and get to the next level on running plays.

    Minnesota hasn't had a player of Darrisaw's caliber manning the blind side for quite some time, but it seems the organization finally found a prospect who can help turn this offensive line into a great one. Expect Darrisaw to start at LT from Week 1 and stay in that role for years to come.

NFC South

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    Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts

    Despite speculation that the Falcons would trade back on draft day, they decided to hang tight at No. 4 and took Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. He is a generational tight end who fits the modern mold as a huge playmaker.

    It's tough to envision a scenario in which Pitts, who just became the highest-drafted TE of all time, doesn't make an immediate impact. He'll create mismatches against linebackers in the middle, stretch the field against defensive backs and serve as a massive red-zone target who will rack up touchdowns. He's improved as a blocker as well, which was one of the few flaws in his game.

    Although tight end is a notoriously difficult position for rookies to pick up, Pitts is too talented to keep off the field. He should be a massive part of the Falcons' game plan in 2021.


    Carolina Panthers: WR Terrace Marshall Jr.

    The Panthers were widely expected to draft a quarterback at No. 8 after Teddy Bridgewater failed to impress in 2020. Instead, they traded for Sam Darnold in early April.

    Rather than select Mac Jones or Justin Fields as competition for Darnold, the Panthers instead shored up their weak secondary by taking cornerback Jaycee Horn at No. 8. They still managed to bolster their receiving corps by taking Terrace Marshall Jr. in Round 2, though.

    Marshall looks the part of a bona fide NFL receiver, standing at 6'3" and 200 pounds. The LSU product packs plenty of big-play ability into that frame, consistently coming down with contested catches during his time in Baton Rouge.

    While he may not be the fastest wideout in the class, Marshall is a great route-runner who can adjust to poorly thrown balls and make his quarterback look good. He's excellent in traffic and not afraid to take a hit, which should get him on the field early and help him make big plays.


    New Orleans Saints: CB Paulson Adebo

    Salary-cap constraints forced the Saints to cut a number of veterans this offseason, including No. 2 cornerback Janoris Jenkins. They appear to have found a budget replacement with third-round pick Paulson Adebo.

    The Stanford product has great size at 6'1" and 190 pounds and experience playing on the outside with the Cardinal. The Saints will likely end up using Adebo on the left side across from Marshon Lattimore.

    The rookie corner is a risk-taker who can come up with big plays just as easily as he gets burned, but he should do more of the former than the latter in New Orleans. He's best in man coverage and likes to get physical with his mark, which should make him one of the better young defenders on this team.


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Edge Joe Tryon

    After winning the Super Bowl and retaining just about every key contributor from that championship run, the Bucs had almost no true needs going into the draft. They still came away with a handful of prospects that could still help with a title defense, including first-round pick Joe Tryon.

    The edge-rusher out of Washington has some remarkable athleticism and a relentless motor to complement it, which should help him crack the rotation in this veteran-laden lineup.

    Tryon may not see a ton of snaps next year, but he should be able to accrue a few sacks while giving Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul a breather.

NFC West

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    Arizona Cardinals: ILB Zaven Collins

    After coming up just short of a playoff appearance last year, the Cardinals are ready to make a run in 2021. They worked on shoring up their defense during the draft, using five of their seven picks on that side of the ball.

    None of those picks should have more of an impact this season than Zaven Collins, the No. 16 overall pick. The 6'4", 260-pound defender is a unique weapon who can line up all over the field. He was extremely consistent as a three-year starter for the Golden Hurricanes, making plays in every facet of the game.

    Collins is listed at interior linebacker, but his size would allow him to secure the edge as well. Regardless of where the Cardinals use him—which could well be at multiple positions—he should find success.


    Los Angeles Rams: TE Jacob Harris

    The Rams got one of the bigger steals of the 2021 draft when they selected Jacob Harris at No. 141 overall.

    The UCF tight end has what it takes to shine at the position and could wind up being a useful target for a squad with Super Bowl aspirations. Harris measured in at 6'5" and 219 pounds, ran a blistering 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and had a 40½" vertical leap at his pro day, giving him eye-popping size and athleticism.

    Harris still has plenty to prove this offseason, as the Knights used him as a wide receiver over the last two seasons. His inexperience at the tight end spot was part of the reason why he wasn't picked until Day 3, but he could end up being a huge scoring threat in the red zone for the Rams this year.


    San Francisco 49ers: RB Trey Sermon

    The 49ers injected some youth into their running back platoon by selecting Trey Sermon at No. 88.

    After teammate Master Teague went down with an injury toward the end of the 2020 season, Sermon delivered a pair of monster performances in the Big Ten title game and Sugar Bowl. He racked up 524 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries in those two games, proving he can be a workhorse.

    While San Francisco probably won't utilize Sermon that way early in his career—he'll likely work behind incumbent starter Raheem Mostert out of the gate—the Buckeyes product should gain steam throughout his rookie year.

    Although Sermon still must improve as a pass-catcher, he's too talented to stay off the field. He should put up some impressive rushing numbers on early downs as a rookie and only get better as time goes on.


    Seattle Seahawks: WR D'Wayne Eskridge

    The Seahawks made the most of their limited draft capital, bringing in a trio of quality prospects. Out of those picks—they took wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge at No. 56, cornerback Tre Brown at No. 137 and offensive tackle Stone Forsythe at No. 208—Eskridge is the most likely to make an immediate impact.

    While Eskridge didn't match up with much top-flight competition at Western Michigan, he was selected on Day 2 due to his scorching speed and versatility. He'll be able to contribute as both a target for quarterback Russell Wilson and as a returner on special teams, making big plays in both facets.

    Eskridge likely won't get a ton of targets behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but he should benefit from their presence and make some incredible plays as a rookie.