The 2018 season is coming up at a torrid pace – with the usual and expected suspects expected to be doing their thing on the gridiron. After the most recent draft this off-season, there were plenty of great prospects that were snagged across the league. Where many teams are left looking at who are going to be the future players with new blood, the next generation of superstars
on the field for their new professional teams.
We are going to look at the top of the new group of young players, we have a VTD top 5 of the most explosive and potentially best players with the biggest promise for their teams this season.
5. Josh Rosen, QB, Cardinals
Drafted in the 1st round (10th overall)
He has great size at 6-4 and 220lb Rosen can flat out play the QB position. As a player with great vision and accuracy, he is a big play QB that can hit the deep ball targets for massive yards with a flick of the wrist. He finished his last year in UCLA with 26 TD passes for 3756 yards, and quite honestly, should have been the first QB taken off the board. But his personality, can be daunting, which is one of the reasons why I think some teams shied away from him. His passing ability will make him a better asset in Arizona, he has an incredible upside as the Cards QB, especially as a red zone passer, with 1000+ YD receiver, Larry Fitzgerald and adding WR Christian Kirk is going to be a lot of fun.
Rosen will be effective as their QB as he is a guy who isn’t afraid to move the ball downfield. As the last of the long list of quarterbacks that came off the board, Rosen lands in a great spot to showcase his talents as a natural passer. Arizona grabbed the best QB in the 2018 draft at 10. History has shown that Arizona Cardinals rookie QBs get on the field for the team. According to an Arizona Cardinals website, since ’98, QBs that were taken by them, in the 1st round of the NFL draft have gone on to play an average of 9.9 games their rookie year and make 8.3 starts for the Cardinals. And with Sam Bradford’s troubled history with injuries, the potential for Rosen getting to see his share of games during the 2018 season is pretty likely.
He has more than his share of talent to be in the talks of offensive rookie of the year coming into 2018.
4. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Bills
Drafted in 1st round (16th overall)
Edmunds is a smart defensive player, with perfect size at 6-5 and 250 solid lbs. He was awesome at the collegiate level, Edmunds was the true defensive leader for Va Tech with 108 tackles, 5.5 sacks and adding 3 forced fumbles. Edmunds tallied over 200 tackles in his 3 years at Virginia Tech. He has the potential to be a high volume tackling weapon with outstanding production for the long term for the Bills. He has similar play style of a faster Telvin Smith, or C.J. Mosley-type player. Edmunds is able to line up all over the field, and is excellent with coverage ability as well. With his great size and vision, and he has fantastic speed.
In the Bills defense, Edmunds should have the ability to create mayhem in all areas of the field and his coverage skills will give him the ability to make plays in front of a decent secondary. If the big plays come as I fully expect, he could make a big case for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Edmunds has great upside, and his low risk as a leader for this team, makes him a potential pro bowler.
3. Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
Drafted in 2nd round (47th overall)
Kirk is athletic and dynamic, at 5-11 and 200lbs. He didn’t rack up overly massive numbers at Texas A&M – but managed 71 catches for 919 yards and 10 TDs in 2017. Kirk was a very consistent WR for the Aggies, with 7 games of 60 or more receiving YDs, with no great QB, and anyone who played, was middling, at best. He also caught a TD pass in 7 of 13 games as well.
He has a knack on kick return as well – with 490 kick return yards, a bigtime 22.3 YD/return average, and a score. He has the ability to find the end zone, with impressive speed and great athleticism. In total, 45% of his season yards came in 3 games, where he tore up defenders. But Kirk’s nose for the end zone is what really intrigues me, as well as the perfect potential scenario he landed in, with RB David Johnson coming back, and Fitz on the outside.
He was a productive SEC player who racked up 234 catches for 2856 yards and 26 scores in 39 games for Texas A&M. His easy scoring TD ability was shown from the beginning of his collegiate career, with 7 TDs in 2015 – his freshman year, by 9 in 2016 then with the 10 in 2017.
Kirk will be extremely efficient on a team like Arizona with Larry Fitzgerald catching balls around him, taking eyes off his own catching ability. He plays much faster than some may realize, and he will quickly become the Cards chain mover, with Fitz taking most of the targets, and with quick cuts and good hands Kirk will get his quiet 4-5 catches/game. I would compare him to a Jarvis Landry or Doug Baldwin-player type, with his football intelligence and ability to run his routes. Overall, he is a skilled WR who has the makings of an immediate asset.
2. Bradley Chubb, LB, Broncos
Drafted in 1st round ( 5th overall)
Chubb is a strong LB, at 6-4 and 270lbs. As he posted 10 sacks for North Carolina State and 72 tackles as a senior in 2017. With 2 straight seasons with 10 sacks or more, and 3 seasons with 55 or more tackles. He finished tops on the team with 66 sack yards in 12 games played. He also tallied an incredible 23 tackles for loss, which was tops in the ACC. His career 55 tackles for loss, was also tops all time in the ACC. Adding to his already ridiculous football resume, he was the defensive player of the year in 2017. Chubb comes into the 2018 season, with more than his share of football awards and accomplishments.
His ridiculous physicality is an enormous plus, and a desperate team like the Broncos, that needs another defensive leader on the team, he has the potential to bring value in Denver the minute he steps on the field in 2018. Chubb has an incredible nose for making plays on the field that he had shown in 2017, having in all but 3 games, games of 1+ tackle for loss. And his great hand work, which will get him to opposing QBs on a weekly basis, will be more than welcome. Chubb’s size on the outside will keep him on the field on run downs, adding him with Miller as the #1 speed rusher is going to be an absolute nightmare.
He also has shown he has the added ability to attack as the secondary rusher in passing situations, alongside superstar sackmaster, Von Miller. His aggressive physical play and ability to go make plays, and get hard contested sacks, will draw some high comparisons to Bruce Irvin or Clay Matthews.
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Drafted in 1st round ( 2nd overall)
A true physical specimen, Barkley checks in at 5-11 and a powerful 235lbs. His unique blend of size and strength gives him the natural ability to have success in the running game, but will also make contested runs, where there may not have been an opening – including making his share of highlight reel runs. Barkley has natural ability to plow over DBs, and LBs, and the skill to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield as well.
Barkley started his college career in 2015, with 1076 rushing yards and 7 TDs, then moved on to bigtime things for Penn State in 2016.
He had a huge 2017 season with 5.9 yards/carry and added 632 YDs on career high 54 catches. Barkley will not only live up to the enormous hype as the best player in the draft, but has a great chance to be “that truly once in a lifetime player” from the 2017 draft. He rang up his share of big games of the TD runs, and 100+ yard games in 2016, then he returned in 2017, and hung big numbers again. This time, adding 632 receiving yards and rushing for 1271 yards and 18 scores on the ground. With 8 games of 100 or more total yards, he brings the complete perfect package to the Giant in their backfield.
Barkley was incredibly productive last season for PSU, with 10 games averaging 4.5 or more yards/carry during the 2017 campaign. And matched up with those ridiculous numbers, when Barkley got 75 or more yards on the ground, PSU went 8-0, as he went, the football
The ex-Nittany Lion phenom kicks out 100 yard games like they were nothing, and will be the perfect companion to the veteran QB Eli Manning, in the Giants backfield. He immediately will emerge as the main weapon on the NY Giants offense. He is comparable to Le’Veon Bell or Mark Ingram-type RB – and has the makings of a future super stardom with amazing strength and awesome speed.