Every year in the NFL draft there are players who will be stars, players who will play a role and players who will “bust.” When a young man is a first round pick in the NFL draft, there is a certain aura around that player. He is expected to help a team get to the next level, or even carry them into a new era. This is a lot to put on the shoulders of a kid straight out of frat-parties, juggling girlfriends and handing in a science lab on time. When you’re a star though, you welcome that pressure and are excited to see how well you will be in the NFL. Here are three players taken in the first round who will have a positive impact on their teams from week one.
Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys, Fourth Pick in the Draft
This one is the most obvious choice. The Cowboys thought they could lose Demarco Murray and replace him with just about anybody behind that offensive line. Joseph Randle was the one people though would carry the torch, but he proved himself to be a knucklehead (for lack of better words) and Lance Dunbar proved to be “just a guy” on the roster. They were lucky enough to take a gamble on Darren McFadden last year, when most teams in the league didn’t want to touch the often-injured back. McFadden carried the ball for over a 1000 yards, but to expect that again would be asking for a lot. The Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to a deal which many thought would be enough. The pairing of Morris and McFadden behind the offensive line seemed to be a match that could work but the Cowboys, like most gunslingers in the wild west would think – there is never enough ammunition. Looking at his play in college, Elliot has the abilities to transcend himself in the league to be a top-five back in the NFL today. That’s something McFadden can’t say, and Morris – well to be nice, he could be a top ten back. . .
Many thought that Dallas should upgrade their defense with this pick, but the Cowboys realized one young player on their defense won’t help to satisfy all their woes, so they decided to stockpile on the offensive side of the ball where they can do their damage. Elliot can give the Cowboys a running game closer to what they had with Murray, which will make this offense one of the best in the league (of course this all goes hand in hand with keeping quarterback Tony Romo healthy, but a strong running game will leave the veteran QB less vulnerable.)
Predicted Stat line: 1,350 Rushing Yards, 10 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.8 yards per carry
Robert Nkemdiche, Arizona Cardinals, Thirtieth Pick in the Draft
If it wasn’t for “character concerns,” Nkmediche would have been a top ten pick, easily. This was a smart move by the Cardinals who have a good roster as is, and were only looking for most pass rushers, particularly from the inside. NFL.com has him listed as a defensive tackle, but his athleticism and quickness will no doubt see him attacking from the outsides more. He is an aggressive pass rusher who uses his athleticism and balance well against the opposition. If Nkemdiche can’t work with head coach Bruce Arians, who is without a doubt one of the best in the NFL, then he won’t be able to work with any coach in this league. This is a great landing spot for Nkemdiche who is used to a winning tradition with talent around him and now he has that same formula at the next level where his skills should show an immediate impact.
Predicted Stat Line: 7 sacks, 80 tackles
Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns, Fifteenth Pick in the Draft
Although the best receiver of this class is Laquon Treadwell, who got drafted by the Vikings with the twenty-third pick overall – it’s Coleman who will be more heavily relied on in the Browns offense. Where Treadwell has Adrian Peterson, Coleman has Isiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. . . Where Treadwell has Teddy Bridgewater, Coleman has RG3 and/or Josh McCown. In other words, everything around Coleman is inconsistent where Treadwell is steady. This is good and bad for Coleman. Bad because, well. . . the Browns are bad. There is just no other way around it. The good news for Coleman though, is that he is already the team’s best wide receiver and outside of left tackle Joe Thomas, he is also the teams best offensive weapon. Coleman is the type to make a catch and immediately tries to make something big happen. McCown and/or RG3 are both capable enough at the quarterback position (and smart enough) to get the ball into Coleman’s hands as much as they can. If RG3 happens to catch half the magic he played with in his rookie year, Coleman will put up monster numbers. He’s a deep threat, and chances are the Browns will be faced with a lot of second and long and third and long situations. . . they’ll also be playing from behind a lot. . . . so there’s that. . .
Predicted Stat line: 85 catches, 1235 yards, 7 touchdowns
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