The offseason is an exciting time for NFL fans. It’s when their teams sign free agents and draft potential stars of the future. Rookies bring huge intrigue because you never quite know who will deliver at the highest level of the sport.
You have college standouts who look destined for the very top. However, there are always one or two who turn out to be busts. It’s always a risky move to bring new players into a team no matter how good they appear to be. Today, we’re going to look at 25 of the most exciting rookies in the NFL this season, via 247 Sports. Check out the list below.
25. Cesar Ruiz
The New Orleans Saints have high hopes for 2020, but Drew Brees will need protection. The veteran is still elite but is in the twilight of his career. They did release guard Larry Warford so they required a new face and drafted Ruiz from Michigan.
He looks like one of the toughest rookies from this year’s draft. Furthermore, he’ll hope to make an impact from the very start and follow in Erik McCoy’s footsteps. He has a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
The Chicago Bears have a crisis at quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky will probably start as the incumbent, but we can expect to see both him and Nick Foles this season. However, they also had a desperate need for defensive secondary reinforcements. That’s why they drafted Johnson.
Johnson has a history of shoulder injuries which is why he was available in the second round. Despite most college football fans pegging him as a first-round prospect, not many teams were willing to take a chance on him. But the Bears believe he’ll be a huge help for the team.
Reagor is one of those rookies who enters the NFL under the radar. First of all, his numbers at TCU don’t paint the full picture. He suffered from a lack of elite-level quarterback play but was still the team’s standout threat. The Eagles liked what they saw.
The thoughts of Reagor playing with DeSean Jackson is tantalizing. That is as speedy a duo as you can expect to see this year, but Reagor brings intelligence as well. Furthermore, it takes the pressure off of Jackson, who suffered injuries last season and in many seasons prior.
The New York Giants have well-documented issues with their defense. They gave up 377.3 yards per game last year. This was 25th overall in the NFL, which clearly isn’t good. Everybody knew they would go after reinforcements in the 2020 draft and that’s exactly what they did with the signing of McKinney.
McKinney comes from Alabama, where he developed into a superb safety. To sum up, the Giants knew he was one of the best defensive rookies in the league and arguably the best safety in the draft.
Following an excellent college career at Florida State, Akers will enter the NFL with a spring in his step now that Todd Gurley has departed the LA Rams for Atlanta. Akers will hope to make an impact and take Gurley’s place as the starter.
Akers also has the support of Sean McVey. The coach has been vocal about Akers entering the league this season. Furthermore, Akers should be confident of getting minutes from week one.
The Indianapolis Colts have revitalized their attack for 2020. They added veteran quarterback Philip Rivers as they look to make an impact in the AFC South this season. However, he does need weapons, and that’s where Pittman Jr. enters the picture.
Pittman is a big wide receiver from USC. At six-foot-four and 223 pounds, he’s a big target. If Rivers and Pittman can strike up a good partnership then the Colts will hope to go deep into the playoffs this year. They’re definitely one of the most interesting teams to watch with one of the most physically gifted rookies.
After an outstanding season for Ohio State, Dobbins is a favorite to potentially win Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Baltimore Ravens drafted him to spice up their attack and give Lamar Jackson another devastating weapon to utilize.
This season, Baltimore will want to manage Jackson very carefully. Everybody will target him after his outstanding MVP year. So it’s important that they spread their attacks and use their quarterback in a more efficient manner. Dobbins can contribute with his speed and power.
In 2019. George Kittle was San Francisco’s main receiving target. However, the tight end needed a decent wide receiver next to him and the 49ers drafted a potentially great one in Aiyuk. After starring for the Arizona Sun Devils in college, Aiyuk will want to prove he’s one of 2020’s rookies to watch.
With a college career average of 17 yards per catch, there are grounds to be optimistic about Aiyuk’s potential. The 49ers chose to pass on the likes of Ceedee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Justin Jefferson. In short, this shows how much faith they have in Aiyuk’s ability.
It’s a new era for the Los Angeles Chargers after the departure of their long-serving veteran Philip Rivers. Now they have a new young quarterback in Herbert. Tyrod Taylor is likely to start the season so that Herbert can grow accustomed to the league and develop on the training field.
The University of Oregon standout is one of the best in the league this year on paper. If he can usurp Taylor at some point, then things will definitely be interesting for the Chargers. With the likes of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry ready to catch his passes, it’s an exciting prospect.
Somehow the San Francisco 49ers managed to get their hands on one of the best defensive rookies in the draft. It’s hardly fair on the rest of the league, but that’s life. After trading DeForest Buckner, they needed to bring in a defensive line reinforcement.
Kinlaw definitely fits the portfolio of a defensive tackle that they needed. At six-foot-five and 324 pounds, he is a monster of a man. San Francisco decided to take him in the first round after his excellent performances for South Carolina. The sky is the limit for this big man.
Kerryon Johnson was the Detroit Lions’ big hope. However, his injury record is lengthy, which is why they’ve moved for reinforcements in the draft. Swift has the perfect name for a running back because he possesses ferocious speed and excellent agility.
Johnson has only started 14 games in the past two years. In sum, that total is nowhere near enough for Detroit to be able to rely on him. Bringing in one of the most exciting attacking rookies out there is a great move because he should up their rushing numbers.
Baker Mayfield had an abominable year for the Cleveland Browns in 2019, in part because of terrible line play. But Kevin Stefanski hopes that his quarterback can recapture the brilliance of his previous season. That’s why he focused on upgrading Cleveland’s line with some powerful reinforcements.
Wills learned his craft protecting Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama, gaining invaluable experience already. Now the offensive tackle will try and do the same for Mayfield in the NFL. One of four tackles that the Browns signed, he’s definitely one of the most interesting rookies out there.
The Carolina Panthers gave up a ridiculous 143.5 rushing yards per game last season. They had serious issues with their defense and needed to make several changes during the offseason. They went for Clemson’s excellent defensive prospect Brown in the first round of a draft where they drafted all defense.
Brown is one of the best rookies in the league this year. He’s superb at the point of attack and new head coach Matt Rhule hopes that he can help fix some of his defense’s most woeful statistics. His 22 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks over the past two years at Auburn show he has that ability.
The Minnesota Vikings lost an important player in Stefon Diggs. This meant that there was a big need to bring in some reinforcements at wide receiver. So they drafted LSU’s impressive wide receiver, Jefferson. He might not be a guaranteed starter in the beginning, but they’ll give him opportunities.
If Kirk Cousins and Jefferson develop a good relationship, it will be great news for Minnesota. He caught 82.8 percent of passes, the highest rate in college football. Either he’ll catch a lot of passes or he’ll draw defenders away from Adam Thielen to do some damage.
Many believe that Jeudy was the most complete receiver in this year’s draft. The Broncos look like they have got themselves one of the most exciting rookies out there. In short, he offers so much to their attack and will be a fantastic weapon for young Broncos’ quarterback Drew Lock.
The University of Alabama starlet should get plenty of opportunities to make a starting place his own because the competition in Denver isn’t fantastic. In sum, bookmakers believe that this makes him the most likely rookie to get 1,000 yards this season. Jeudy is a real blue-chip prospect.
Analysts give Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr a lot of criticism. However, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is sticking with his man and gave him a new weapon in one of the most explosive rookies in the league. In short, Ruggs won’t have it easy in Sin City, but he can definitely make an impact.
This man is frighteningly quick and his mere presence on the field should lift his teammates to another level. While the Raiders don’t have the best offense in the league, they potentially do have one of the most compelling individuals. Defenders won’t be able to take your eyes off Ruggs.
LSU had some excellent players in the 2020 draft. While Joe Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire get most of the attention, Queen is also one of the best rookies in the NFL this season. He helped LSU to a national title last season with 85 tackles.
Baltimore Ravens hope Queen is the answer to one of their biggest issues last year. Furthermore, he was a steal because they acquired him so late in the first round. Queen has the athleticism and the nous to make an impact from day one.
Tagovailoa would be in the top two on this list if it wasn’t for the fact he may not start for the Dolphins this season. But even if he barely plays behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, the reality is that he is one of the most exciting rookies out there today.
Miami must be careful with him as his body continues to recuperate from a season-ending hip injury. But if he does play, all eyes will be on him. Determined to prove that his body can sustain the physicality of the NFL, the former Alabama star wants to give it his all. He can’t wait to get on the playing field.
Many analysts believe that Young is the best individual out of all the new rookies in the NFL this season. Some critics will say he deserves to top this list, but they forget he will play for Washington. While he has some remarkable qualities, will he get to show his full potential in the capital?
With 21 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks in 2019, Young was magnificent for Ohio State. Furthermore, he was the top defensive prospect in the draft this year and has some outrageous physical qualities. He also joins a line of first-round picks like Jonathan Allen and Ryan Kerrigan, so this could be a new Washington.
One of the most interesting defensive players from this years’ draft, Simmons could be a very useful asset for the Cardinals over the next couple of years. While he is primarily linebacker, he is capable of operating across the backline because of his athleticism.
Almost guaranteed to get a lot of game time this year, Simmons will automatically improve the Cardinals’ defense. The Clemson star played safety, linebacker, and some slot corner as well as edge rusher. In sum, Arizona has one of the most interesting hybrid defensive players we’ve seen for a while.
Some believe that the Indianapolis Colts are dark horses this season because they’ve put together a very strong offense. They traded up to land Taylor in the second round and it looks like it could prove to be a stroke of genius. This young running back is one of the most electric rookies in the NFL.
The Colts are serious this year with the addition of Philip Rivers to join arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. A veteran quarterback of his aptitude with the likes of Taylor and Marlon Mack at his disposal will make this a team to watch in 2020.
Suddenly the Dallas Cowboys have arguably the most dangerous offense in the league. They still have two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott and one of the most exciting running backs in Ezekiel Elliot. Now they’ve added a young phenom of a wide receiver in the Oklahoma Sooners’ Lamb.
With Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup still in the mix, Lamb will have the opportunity to develop on the training field. However, one of the most exciting rookies in the league will definitely get game time in 2020. The Cowboys were lucky to land him with the number 17 pick.
Okudah’s numbers at Ohio State don’t look that impressive. Just three interceptions and 18 passes defended across three seasons are by no means off the scale. But they do prove how much quarterbacks tried to avoid throwing at him. With Okudah’s defensive aptitude, that’s no surprise.
In sum, this pick made a lot of sense for the Detroit Lions. They needed a strong cornerback and Okudah fits the bill. Last year, Detroit gave up the most yards per game in the entire league. To sum up, you can expect Okudah to quickly become a fixture in their backline.
After the best individual season in college quarterback history, Burrow will expect to start in week one. Burrow will also hope to replicate the impact of Baker Mayfield two seasons ago at the Browns. He helped LSU to a national title and now wants to lead the Cincinnati Bengals out of the doldrums.
The young man does have some very exciting weapons at his disposal like AJ Green and Tee Higgins. This is a young group of players that could be fun to follow in 2020. Burrow must learn on the job because there is no chance that the Bengals redshirt him. With that comes a lot of pressure, but he has the technical ability to live up to it.
When Patrick Mahomes handpicks you as one of his weapons, then you know you’re doing something right. Edwards-Helaire is definitely one of the most exciting rookies from this year’s draft. In short, the former LSU man has incredible, explosive skills and should make Kansas City even more dangerous.
While his running game is clearly impressive, Edwards-Helaire also has a great catching game. When you have the best quarterback in the NFL in your franchise, this is a fantastic asset to have. Not only is he a highly-skilled individual, but he fits into a balanced and proven team.