Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is behind us we can start to look forward to the 2018 season. First, we will need to get through training camp and four preseason games but at least those are real football stories. Among many of those storylines will be which rookies will make an impact with their new team. There are quite a few rookies who have landed in advantageous positions on both sides of the ball. On the offensive side we might see rookies make an immediate impact at several different positions. Here are five NFL rookies who could come away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy.
- Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals – Rosen probably will start the season on the bench but of all the quarterbacks he might have the clearest shot to start because he only really has Sam Bradford in front of him. Bradford could be a decent placeholder but his health record is hardly encouraging. Let’s face it, if Bradford gets hurt or is ineffective do you really think Mike Glennon is going to stand in the way of Rosen? We could see all four quarterbacks take in the top ten get at least an NFL start this season. Rosen was thought by many to be the most NFL-ready quarterback in this draft. Obviously that remains to be seen but he will have David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to help. Rosen could find himself in the running as the top rookie.
- Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots – The last time Bill Belichick took a running back in the first round it was 2006 and Laurence Maroney was the pick. Michel should be more successful than Maroney and, given the Patriots’ style of play, could thrive. There is also a chance he could get buried on the depth chart since Belichick is very unpredictable with his running back usage. Michel, however, should take the lead back role eventually in New England and could have a major impact.
- Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons – Ridley was arguably the best receiver in this draft and he fell into the Falcons’ lap which might be the perfect fit for the Alabama product. He will have Julio Jones to help him learn and to take the heat off of him. He already has Matt Ryan at quarterback. He will be given time to learn the offense and while receivers often get off to slow starts in their career there shouldn’t be a problem for Ridley. He runs excellent routes and gets open. That could translate to big things for Ridley.
- Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins – Guice was thought of as a first-round draft pick heading into the draft. However, he fell to the Redskins in the second round at 59th overall due to potential off-field issues and work ethic questions. There is no denying his production, however, as he rushed for 2,638 yards over his last two seasons at LSU. He also might have a chip on his shoulder which could lead to him putting in the work and becoming a star at the next level. The Redskins could use an impact player at running back and Guice could be that guy.
- Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants – The Giants haven’t said it yet but there is little doubt the second overall pick from Penn State will be the starter at running back. Jonathan Stewart is hardly the same player he was a couple of years ago and Wayne Gallman only has a couple of decent games under his professional belt. Neither is standing in the way of Barkley. The Giants love Barkley and head coach Pat Shurmur likes to get running backs involved in his offenses. With his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield Barkley could be the three-down with home run potential back the Giants have lacked since Tiki Barber manned the position. He also steps into an offense that has something to prove and has some young talent at the skill positions with Odell Beckham, Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram as well as a veteran quarterback and improved offensive line. He might not be a superstar right out of the gate but Barkley will see the football in his hands quite a bit which could lead to some gaudy numbers.