2021 NFL Draft: Rookies that Could Make Immediate Impactby Charlie Parent May 4, 2021 0 comments
After three exciting days, the NFL Draft is now over. The league’s newest players head to their teams and prepare for training camps. Each of the rookies will look to make an impact right away, but only a few can separate themselves from the pack. Now it’s time to look at which rookies can make a huge impact on their teams in their first year.
These players are not all first-round selections and we’ll break down a few ‘diamond in the rough’ candidates to make such an impact. We will also exclude the obvious choices such as Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson who are clearly expected to start right away.
Rashawn Slater – Los Angeles Chargers
Rashawn Slater saw a tiny bit of a fall Thursday night but ended up in a perfect situation. The Los Angeles Chargers have completed their offensive line rebuild now by taking Slater at pick 13. Slater will get to start immediately, and the best part is, he can play anywhere. If the Chargers feel comfortable at tackle, they can just slide Slater in at guard and have a near-perfect unit to protect Justin Herbert.
For more on Slater, check out our scouting report here.
Rashod Bateman – Baltimore Ravens
Bateman falling right to the Baltimore Ravens at pick 27 was one of the steals of the first round. The Ravens are in desperate need of receivers and they got one of the top ones (outside of the big three) all the way back at 27. They can now use Marquise Brown in a role where he stretches the field a bit more, and not ask him to be their WR1. The Ravens are nowhere done rebuilding their receiver core but Bateman should get some serious touches early on because of the lack of talent around him.
For more on Bateman, check out our scouting report here.
Kendrick Green – Pittsburgh Steelers
Green is a very nice Day 2 pickup for the Steelers. With B.J. Finney listed as the current starting center, Green can come in and take this role immediately. Even if he doesn’t work out at center at first, he can make a transition to guard later in his career. It would’ve been nice if the Steelers addressed the offensive line earlier in this draft but Green is still a great fit for them in the third round.
For more on Green, check out our scouting report here.
Amon-Ra St. Brown – Detroit Lions
Another wide receiver here. St. Brown was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft after a large slide. This is highly regarded as one of the best picks in the whole draft and for good reason. Before drafting St. Brown, the best wide receiver on the Lions’ roster was Quintez Cephus. While Cephus isn’t a bad player, he is nowhere near the talent level of a number one receiver. St. Brown will easily slot in at number one and get the chance to really make a name for himself off the bat.
For more on St. Brown, check out our scouting report here.
Michael Carter – Jets
Carter was an amazing day three pickup for the Jets. One of the best pure runners in the draft, Carter has been a bit hidden behind Javonte Williams most of his career. With Frank Gore not getting any younger, the Jets finally address the future of the running back position with this selection. Carter could even take over the lead-back role by the time the season is over as New York will try to transition him into a full-time early-down back.
For more on Carter, check out our scouting report here.
Zaven Collins – Arizona Cardinals
Another first-round guy here, the Arizona Cardinals selected Collins at pick 16 on Thursday night. This could be one of the most perfect landing spots out of any player in this draft. With the departure of outside linebacker Haason Reddick this offseason, the Cardinals select Collins who will perfectly fit their scheme and replace Reddick right away. He will most likely start out the gate and play in the 3-4 outside linebacker role, Reddick’s specialty in Arizona.
For more on Collins, check out our scouting report here.
Caleb Farley – Tennessee Titans
If Farley’s medicals are good to go, he should be able to start right away for the Titans. The two top cornerbacks for the Titans are currently Janoris Jenkins and Kristian Fulton. Neither are bad options, but Farley should be able to beat them out because of his insane talent. Look out for Farley to put up some major production this year if he is okay to play.
For more on Farley, check out our scouting report here.
Paulson Adebo – New Orleans Saints
Another cornerback who could make some noise early on is Adebo. Unlike Farley, however, Adebo was selected in the third round. The Saints are in dire need of cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore and the Stanford product could be just the right solution for them. He is a sticky coverage corner who can do it all and fits the bill for what the Saints want to do perfectly. Another guy who can make some serious noise right off the start and was one of the best value picks from day two.
For more on Adebo, check out our scouting report here.
Richie Grant – Atlanta Falcons
Grant was an excellent selection for the Falcons in round two. After being one of the worst defenses in the league last year, Atlanta was desperate for safety help. The starters before the draft were Jaylinn Hawkins and Erik Harris. Now, Grant can plug in for one of them and start to lead a young, rebuilding defense. Thanks to the playing time he could get, Grant could be this year’s Jeremy Chinn, a rookie safety who gets starting reps on a bad team and makes some great plays.
For more on Grant, check out our scouting report here.