The NFL Draft realized many players’ childhood dreams and ushered in a new wave of talent. But who are the best of the best? And what should we expect to see from them with their new teams? Here are seven exciting athletes to watch as camps open up.
Baker Mayfield: Cleveland Browns, Quarterback
Going No. 1 overall may have surprised many people, but not Baker Mayfield. There are a lot of questions surrounding Mayfield, but the Browns are ready to build their team around last year’s runaway Heisman Trophy winner. He has tremendous accuracy and makes the big throws when needed. He also has the special ability to keep the play alive in the pocket, which has drawn him comparisons to Russell Wilson. The Browns are counting on Mayfield developing into a franchise player who’ll help turn things around in Cleveland.
Saquon Barkley: New York Giants, Running Back
Barkley has the full package. At 6’0” and 234 pounds, Barkley is a tremendous athlete who has so much potential to thrive in the NFL. He has great breakaway speed and is extremely hard to tackle in a one-on-one situation. Good luck catching him once he breaks away in the open field! Barkley instantly changes the way that teams will approach the Giants. It will be interesting to see how the Giants scheme to Barkley's strengths.
Bradley Chubb: Denver Broncos, Defensive End
The Broncos got exactly what they needed when they took Chubb with the fifth pick overall. He sets a physical edge, attacks the quarterback, and will form a scary combination when added to a defensive line with Von Miller. Chubb won the 2017 Nagurski Trophy, an award given to the nation’s best defensive player. The Broncos believe his pass-rushing ability will help get their team back to winning ways. Whether it’s disrupting the offensive flow or taking opposing quarterbacks’ towels, Bradley Chubb is a game-changing player on the field.
Josh Rosen: Arizona Cardinals, Quarterback
Josh Rosen is one of the most highly anticipated prospects of this year’s class. He demonstrates good mechanics, throws fluidly, and stands tall in the pocket at 6’4”. Rosen has great poise when under pressure and can thread the needle to find his teammates in tight coverage. This season, Rosen will have Larry Fitzgerald as a prime target. He has a great understanding of the game, the defining factor separating elite QB’s from the good ones.
Tremaine Edmunds: Buffalo Bills, Linebacker
Tremaine Edmunds has rare speed and power at his size. Picking up Edmunds with the 16th pick was a huge steal for the Bills. A formidable presence at 6’5” and 253 pounds, he is the best linebacker in the rookie class. Football runs in the Edmunds family. Tremaine’s dad, Ferrell, was a Pro Bowler for the Dolphins; his older brother, Trey, is currently playing for the Saints; and his younger brother, Terrell, just went to the Steelers in the first round. At the NFL draft, Edmunds described himself as a guy who can do everything.
Lamar Jackson: Baltimore Ravens, Quarterback
As the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson will have a lot of expectations to live up to on the field. Eventually replacing Joe Flacco for the Ravens will be an intimidating task. Jackson will rely on his strengths as a dynamic runner who knows how to carry a team on his shoulders. However, he will need to improve his accuracyx. Fortunately, Jackson has shown glimpses of superstar play during his tenure with Louisville.
Shaquem Griffin: Seattle Seahawks, Linebacker
Football fans can all agree that Shaquem Griffin, who had his hand amputated at a young age, is a really inspiring player and an incredible athlete. But he is not just a feel-good story. He ran a 4.38 at the NFL combine, the fastest 40-yard dash time for a linebacker since they began recording in 2003. Griffin joins a Seattle defense that was leading the league a few years ago but has taken a recent hit. He brings exceptional speed, good coverage, and strong tackling ability. Griffin is not just a feel good story; he’s an extremely competitive athlete ready to work.
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