NFL Rookies That Must Stand Out In 2017

leonard fournette jacksonville jaguars

This is a list of rookies that must perform at a high level this season, not only because they were high draft picks, but because their teams need them to if they are going to have a chance of fulfilling expectations this season.

– Leonard Fournette – RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
The last time the Jaguars had in their backfield a runner over 1,000 yards was in the 2011 season when Maurice Jones-Drew finished with 1,606 yards. Quarterback Blake Bortles still needs a player capable of taking the pressure off him and the team needs an effective runner to solidify the team’s ground game. With Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars must show they will finally get their ground attack going.

– Deshaun Watson – QB – Houston Texans
With Matt Schaub at the helm the Texans were very unstable at the quarterback position, Deshaun Watson must justify his first-round selection in the draft (remember the Texans traded up for him) by showing he can be the starter and having a superb year. In Houston, they expect Watson to become this year’s Dak Prescott.

– Taco Charlton – DE – Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys’ pass defense, ended as the seventh worst in 2016. Most of the players chosen in this year’s draft for now do not look ready to compete against the talented aerial attacks they will be facing this season. For the Cowboys pass rush to improve and limit the damage opponents can inflict by air they need Taco Charlton to become a very productive generating pressure to the opposing quarterback. The need for Charlton to have a rookie of the year kind of season stems from the fact that they have three of their defensive ends dealing with different suspension that will keep them out of action for different amounts of time.

– Myles Garrett – DE – Cleveland Browns
Expectations about the first pick of the Draft are usually very high year after year and this is no exception. DE Myles Garrett must prove why the Browns decided to make him the first draft pick and not QB Mitchell Trubisky. The worst team in 2016 needs their rookie to be as productive as possible from week one. The Browns were the second worst team in sacks in 2016 (they only got 26) so they need all the help they can get from Garrett.

– Malik Hooker – S – Indianapolis Colts
With the health of quarterback Andrew Luck in doubt, the Colts’ defense must step up and improve to help the team get some wins this season. The challenge for the Colts defense is to stop allowing as many points as in the past few seasons especially because their offense may not be hitting on all cylinders with Luck recovering from a January shoulder injury that has his status for week one in doubt. The Colts need rookie Malik Hooker to be a stalwart addition in the Colts’ defense.

– Garett Bolles – OT – Denver Broncos
The Broncos had a very complicated 2016 season offensively, on top of that this offseason they lost one of the most reliable elements of their offensive line: tackle Russell Okung. In 2017, the Broncos need their first pick in the draft to quickly become a solid player in their offensive line and help provide better protection to quarterback Paxton Lynch and help open some big holes for their running backs.

– Jarrad Davis – LB – Detroit Lions
The Lions need to improve defensively this season to remain competitive in the tough NFC. If they get a more balanced defense they might have a chance to compete for the playoffs and even the division title, but for that they need the rookie Jarrad Davis to take control of the center the Lions defense this season. Davis must prove why he was considered one of the best linebackers in this year’s draft.

– Tre’Davious White – CB – Buffalo Bills
The Bills lost CB Stephon Gilmore in free agency and later sent CB Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles, both were their starting cornerbacks in 2016, for this simple reason, rookie Tre’Davious White must become an impact player in the secondary. On top of that the Bills face an AFC East loaded with stud wide receivers that will try to exploit any hole a secondary allows. White must help fill those holes to keep those receivers in check.

– David Njoku – TE – Cleveland Browns
The Brown seem to have few weapons in their offense this season. Rookie David Njoku should become a reliable and safe target for the Browns’ starting QB in 2017 to give the offense some stability and help the team mount some long drives. Otherwise the team won’t have much chances of keeping an exhausted defense off the field.

– Marshon Lattimore – CB – New Orleans Saints
The Saints air defense was the worst in 2016 and so it’s too obvious they need rookie Marshon Lattimore to emerge as the perimeter leader they’ve been looking for in New Orleans for many years.

 

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