September 5, 2015 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s Impact Rookies for 2015 NFL Season (AFC)
Steelers – OLB Bud Dupree
This choice was an easy one as Dupree is coming in to help the Steelers pass rush and he has the talent and size to contribute from day 1. Playing alongside other young LBs and the vet James Harrison should help him improve early with good chemistry.
Ravens – DT Carl Davis
Davis will be the guy that really helps replace Ngata after falling in the Ravens lap. He is a huge prospect with good strength to really make an impact on a strong front 7; look for Davis to improve the run defense.
Bengals – ILB Paul Dawson
Dawson was considered a tackling machine in college and with MLB Vontaze Burfict healing from an injury he might get a chance to be the starter in the middle. With the versatility of the LB core, Dawson should find time on the field.
Browns – DT Danny Shelton
Shelton has a good blend of size and quickness with a high motor. He will be able to give a good push up the middle on both run and passing downs while making plays in the backfield; he could be a star.
Colts – WR Phillip Dorsett
Dorsett is too fast and too good in space to not be used in this offense; they also used a 1st round pick on him. Dorsett should be able to make plays as the 3rd or 4th WR in an offense deep with weapons, but he should be going by midseason.
Titans – QB Marcus Mariota
It was tough to choose between Mariota and Dorial Green-Beckham, but the Titans are expecting Mariota to be that franchise guy and will give him every chance to prove it. He has good size, arm, and athleticism to make the most of his playmakers.
Jaguars – RB T.J. Yeldon
Yeldon has received high praise early while fighting for carries and appears to be considered the starter. He is considered a possible three down back who can really carry the load with his power runs and unexpected quickness.
Texans – CB Kevin Johnson
It was tough to choose between Johnson and WR Jaelen Strong who I think will come along later in the season, but Johnson will have a solid impact with many teams, especially in this division, having 3-WR sets. He is starter material, but he will come get a chance to play in the nickel which should help his growth.
Patriots – CB Darryl Roberts
Despite being a 7th round pick, Roberts has been given every chance to get time in a secondary that has loss Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner via free agency. Roberts has good size and cover skills, expect him to see time early amongst the young CBs left on the roster.
Jets – DE/DT Leonard Williams
Williams has the talent to be a star and could have gone #1 overall in the draft without people thinking twice about it. Luckily, he has an opportunity to show his skills with Sheldon Richardson’s suspension and he has the size, skills, and motor to make an immediate impact.
Bills – CB Ronald Darby
Darby is a physical press corner who will benefit from the pressure that the front 7 generates and will have an opportunity to solidify the job across from CB Stephon Gilmore. He is the tough type of corner that Rex Ryan loves and he has the ability to play inside and outside.
Dolphins – WR DeVante Parker
Parker is a player with good size, speed, and hands who was considered one of the best WRs in the draft. He has the skill set to become a #1 WR and the Dolphins will give him every chance to prove he can as a nice replacement for WR Mike Wallace.
Raiders – WR Amari Cooper
The Raiders lacked a true playing making WR last season, but Cooper has the ability to play inside and outside while running crisp routes; Cooper will grow with QB Derek Carr.
Broncos – DE/OLB Shane Ray
Ray fell in the Broncos lap and he seems very motivated after falling in the draft. He has top 10 talents and playing behind two of the best pass rushers should only make him better.
Chiefs – CB Marcus Peters
The Chiefs have a strong front 7, but need improvement in the secondary as seen by the moves made in the secondary. Peters will show that can be a solid long term piece at CB with his physical play and ability to be around the ball.
Chargers – RB Melvin Gordon
The Chargers have been without a reliable, consistent RB for years and Gordon will show that he is that guy once he gets going later in the season. He has the right combo of power and speed to take the pressure off of Rivers.