The 2015 NFL Draft has come and gone and now it is time to prepare for the 2015 season! This rookie class has talent and will make an impact in the NFL this upcoming season and for the next decade. For fantasy football fans, the question is which rookies will make a splash in 2015, like Aaron Donald did last season?
DL: Leonard Williams – New York Jets (Round 1, Pick 6)
Talk about a guy that can do it all. At a 3-4 defensive end, Williams could work his way easily into the NFL defensive rookie of the year. In that talented Jets defense, offensive lines will have to play 1-on-1 blocking against him and that could prove to be deadly for opposing quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield. Expect big things from Williams this season and beyond.
DL: Malcolm Brown – New England Patriots (Round 1, Pick 32)
Falling to No. 32 was a little bit of shock to a top-20 talented player, but Brown had to be happy to land with the Patriots. He will be a great addition to the defensive line and be a disrupter in the backfield along with tearing down the line of scrimmage to make tackles in that 3-4 defensive end spot.
DL: Arik Armstead – San Francisco 49ers (Round 1, Pick 17)
Armstead has all the physical tools to be successful in the NFL, he will just need time to develop into the NFL style of play and his 3-4 edge-setting position. At 6-foot-7, with long arms and a quick burst, he could have a mighty impact on this team in a hurry coming off the edge. He may need time to truly season into his role and abilities, but the talent is there to produce.
DL: Carl Davis – Baltimore Ravens (Round 3, Pick 90)
He will be a nice addition to that line and can play multiple positions with his physical attributes. He has the ability to hold at the point of attack and make a tackle or go up field and put his hat on the running back to bring him down. He will be a key part of the Ravens’ defensive line in 2015.
LB: Stephone Anthony – New Orleans Saints (Round 1, Pick 31)
They drafted him to be the leader in the middle of that defense. He has great instincts and has a nose for the ball. Inside linebacker will be his home for a long time in New Orleans where he will rack up huge tackle numbers for the Saints.
LB: Eric Kendricks – Minnesota Vikings (Round 2, Pick 45)
Head coach Mike Zimmer had to be pleased to add the most athletic linebacker in the draft to his roster. He has a great football IQ to go along with his ability to make plays from sideline-to-sideline. Not only will he put up great tackle numbers, but also pick off a few passes with his burst to the ball. Zimmer and the Vikings found a great linebacker for years to come in that defensive scheme.
LB: Paul Dawson – Cincinnati Bengals (Round 3, Pick 99)
If any team in the NFL can get a player to produce at a high level through his immaturity or lack of athleticism, it’s the Bengals. They did it with Vontaze Burfict and now Dawson will team up with him to create a great duo of tackling machines in the middle of the defense. If he can get his act together and stay on the field, he could be a producer in 2015 and beyond.
CB: Trae Waynes – Minnesota Vikings (Round 1, Pick 11)
In coach Mike Zimmer’s defense, cornerback play is vital in the passing game as well as the run game. Waynes will have to make plays against the run and pass and will have a great opportunity to produce as a rookie. He will play Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago twice a year, which means lots of balls thrown his way.
CB: Marcus Peters – Kansas City Chiefs (Round 1, Pick 18)
He looks to be the starter and will face teams in 2015 with quarterbacks named Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Derek Carr, which means he will see plenty of balls his way being the fresh face in the secondary. He is a physical player who won’t back down in the heat of the moment on the field and will come up to make tackles or get his hands on some balls in the air.
CB: Eric Rowe – Philadelphia Eagles (Round 2, Pick 47)
His versatility will create much production in 2015. Coach Chip Kelly will line him up everywhere in that secondary and he will be expected to make a lot of plays against the run and in the air. He will play outside corner, nickel corner, nickel safety and possibly safety. He will be all over the field, which also means all over the stat sheet.
CB: Quandre Diggs – Detroit Lions (Round 6, Pick 200)
Diggs is my sleeper of this rookie class in the secondary and he should make an impact from the nickel corner position. He can man-up the slot receivers and make tackles, go upfield and take down the ball carrier, or go sack the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will love his demeanor and attitude and keep him on the field whenever he can.
S: Landon Collins – New York Giants (Round 2, Pick 33)
The Giants wanted him so badly that they traded up for him. He is the best strong safety in the draft and will rack up big tackle numbers in a weak Giants defense. He will be expected to do a lot in his rookie season, which means lots of opportunities to produce.
S: Adrian Amos – Chicago Bears (Round 5, Pick 142)
I place him here in a weak rookie class because he could honestly be the starter for the Bears at free safety in 2015. Rolle will most likely play strong safety and Amos will be the centerfielder. Amos is pretty disciplined and could be a decent starter in this Bears’ revamped 3-4 defense.