NFL

25 NFL Rookies Set To Make Big Impacts In 2020

Darren - August 10, 2020
NFL

25 NFL Rookies Set To Make Big Impacts In 2020

Darren - August 10, 2020
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

18. Brandon Aiyuk

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

17. Justin Herbert

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.

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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.

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16. Javon Kinlaw

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: Macon Telegraph

15. D’Andre Swift

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

14. Jedrick Wills

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.

Mandatory Credit: University of Alabama Athletics

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.

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13. Derrick Brown

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.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

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.

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12. Justin Jefferson

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

11. Jerry Jeudy

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

10. Henry Ruggs III

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.

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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.

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9. Patrick Queen

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.

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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.

Tua Tagovailoa
Mandatory Credit: Alabama Athletics

8. Tua Tagovailoa

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Chase Young

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?

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

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6. Isaiah Simmons

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

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5. Jonathan Taylor

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.

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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.

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4. Ceedee Lamb

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Jeff Okudah

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Joe Burrow

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.

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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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

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.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

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.

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