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Top 5 Rookies To Make An Impact in 2019

by Michael Stewart on May. 1, 2019

Introduction: Now that the 2019 NFL draft is in the rear view mirror, let’s take a look at which rookies will make the most impact in their 1st season in the NFL. This list will be based on one major factor and that’s playing time. It wasn’t easy selecting the top 5 in this draft with the abundance of talent taken and not just in the 1st round. So here are my top 5 prospects (in no particular order) that will make the most impact in 2019 and be a household name by mid season in 2019.

  1. Kyler Murray (QB) Oklahoma-5’10/195: It’s his show and the Cardinals are going to either sink or swim with him. Murray’s combination of throwing and running abilities will be evident and he will bring a totally different element to the Cardinals offense that they haven’t had. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and a healthy David Johnson will help immensely in Murray’s development and let’s not forget the drafting of wide receivers Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler who will be favorite targets of Murray as the season progresses.  
  2. Devin Bush Jr. (ILB) Michigan-5’11/225: The Steelers traded down ten spots to get Bush and that’s a strong indication that they plan to start him at ILB and let him play. Bush is the only defensive player on my list and will flourish in the Steelers defense with the talent they already have in place around him and it wouldn’t be a reach if Bush isn’t one of the leaders in the league in tackles.  The Steelers fans will embrace him and teammates will respect him as Bush will lead by example by giving 100% during the games and also in practice. Bush will carry the torch of the great Steelers linebackers of football past once his career is over.
  3. Mecole Hardman (WR) Georgia-5’10/185:  Hardman is my first and only pick taken out of the 1st round (2nd round) who I believe will step in and replace Tyreek Hill who is suspended. Hardman ran a 4.33 and is very similar to Hill in his style of play. The Chiefs will utilize his talents at the wide receiver position and also on special teams where I believe Hardman will deliver a few highlight moments. With Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback, Hardman will have every opportunity to succeed and become a lethal weapon for the Chiefs just like Hill in 2018.
  4. Josh Jacobs (RB) Alabama-5’10/215: Jacobs was under- utilized at Alabama as he shared the running back duties with Damien Harris. Jacobs only had 120 carries in 2018, but under Head Coach Jon Gruden, expect Jacobs to possibly doubling that in 2019. Gruden will feature Jacobs not only in the running game, but also in the passing game with screens and short passes to utilize his talents. As the only running back taken in the 1st round, Jacobs will be a workhorse for the Raiders and help them to return the silver and black teams of vintage past.
  5. N’Keal Harry (WR) Arizona State-6’3/215: Harry couldn’t have asked for a better situation than being selected by the New England Patriots in round one of the 2019 NFL draft. The Patriots despite their long success since their first Super Bowl win, have only had one big wide receiver who was a threat anywhere on the field; especially on deep routes and that was Randy Moss. Harry will give the Patriots and deep threat and quarterback Tom Brady a big target to help offset the retirement of Tight End Rob Gronkowski. Harry will benefit having wide receiver Julian Edelman along side of him getting most of the attention by opposing defenders. However; as the season progresses Harry should be on every defensive backs radar, and a favorite target of Tom Brady. It’s not a reach to project Harry to possibly lead all rookie wide receivers in receptions and/or yardage by season’s end.

Final Thoughts: As I mentioned earlier, this was a very deep draft filled with talented rookies and I could have chosen five other prospects to have success as well. I expect to see many players from this draft to come out of the gate running and have solid seasons for their respected teams. Honorable mentions that failed to make my list, but could prove to be worthy are: Nick Bosa (San Francisco), T.J Hockenson (Detroit), Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), Devin White (Tampa Bay), Josh Allen (Jacksonville) and Ed Oliver (Buffalo).