In recent years, we have seen rookies come into the NFL and dominate at their positions, last year we saw Deshaun Watson, throw all over the Legion of Boom, Marshon Lattimore was a lock down corner in New Orleans and Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing in his first year in Kansas City. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard were monsters in the ground game, ranking 1st and 2nd respectively in rushing yards. So, it not uncommon for these young guys to come into the pros and show them, they are going to take the league by storm. There are three players, in the 2018 NFL draft, who could come into the league and dominate.
LB, Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears
Photo: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune
The 21 year old linebacker is going to be part of a nasty front seven in Chicago; With the likes of Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan and co. Smith has the ability to play all three downs and play sideline to sideline. At 6’1″ 236 pounds, he has the perfect size to stuff the run down hill as well as, have the speed to cover on passing downs. His talent level is that of a league leading tackler and should make plays all over the field, by creating turnovers. Playing next to Trevathan in the 3-4 defense, it should sure up the front seven and ensure the Bears to have a top 5 defense in the NFL.
RB, Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
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The best prospect in the 2018 NFL draft has arguably the highest expectations to perform as a rookie. Few rookies have the expectations of an All-Pro player in their first year. the reason Barkley has those expectations, is because he is THAT talented. In back to back years, a rookie has led the league in rushing, and it would not surprise me if Barkley continued that trend. At 234 pounds, Barkley has the speed of Adrian Peterson and the shiftiness of Ladainian Tomlinson. That was my comp of him coming out of college. He will be the featured piece of that Giants offense along with Odell Beckham jr.. Watch out NFL, Barkley is coming for the throne.
S, Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals
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Bates, a free safety coming out of Wake Forest was a player I had as a first round prospect. A rangy play maker that was built to play the free safety position, as he covers the back end like no other player in this draft. He’s an easy 6’2″ 200 pounds, and will come up to the line of scrimmage if need be and smack the running back on his ass. I was not the only one to have a high grade on Jessie Bates III. The Bengals got their star safety to cover tight ends and play the deep ball for the next decade. He will be connected to Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James for the rest of their respective careers. Think Kevin Byard when you mention his range. Overall, a very instinctive cover safety who will compete for the league lead in interceptions.
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