The NFL draft is gone, the smoke has settled, & OTA’s are underway. There are numerous rookies with expectations to become important starters this season. A group of rookies was drafted to potentially replace veterans. The veterans below will be looking over their shoulders for the next couple of months.
- Giovani Bernard (RB)- The current change of pace back on the Cincinnati Bengals behind the second-year runner Joe Mixon. The Bengals selected RB Mark Walton. He’s playing style is very similar to Bernard. Both players are shifty/quick backs that possess the ability to receive the ball out of the backfield. Gio has two years left on his current contract. According to overthecap.com, if the Bengals desired to cut or trade him post-June 1st, they could save 5.8 million over the next two seasons (including dead money). Walton is a cheaper version of Bernard & whether he takes over this season or next, I believe Gio’s days are numbered.
- Quinten Rollins (CB)- The Packers’ slot/nickel corner is entering a contract year & could be on his way out of Green Bay. Cheesehead nation selected Jaire Alexander in the first round. One of the best pure corners in this draft class. He will be in immediate competition with Rollins for the nickel corner role this season. Packers could cut Rollins & save 699,885 towards their cap, but it’s probably best to keep him throughout the season. There is a strong possibility we will see Rollins on the market next offseason.
- Braxton Miller (WR)- The converted college quarterback turn receiver has yet to make a true impact on the Texans offense. Houston decided to draft Keke Coutee in the fourth round. The former Red Raider receiver is an explosive playmaker on offense and as a returner. Miller has two years left on his contract, he has not shown the ability to stay healthy throughout his short career. Coutee should push Miller for snaps early. Considering the explosive ability of the rookie receiver, the 3rd year wideout maybe lost in the shuffle.
- Elandon Roberts (ILB)- The 3rd year middle linebacker has played to the level of his draft selection (6th round). He is one of the worst players on the Patriots’ defense. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 41.6 for the season which is unacceptable. Insert this year’s 6th round selection Christian Sam out of Arizona State. Christian is a better athlete with the ability to drop into zone coverage. He has good instincts & frame to be a three-down backer. Roberts is a liability in coverage & is not a starting caliber linebacker. With two years left on his rookie deal, Roberts maybe starring at a backup position going forward.