Mandatory training camp is approaching quickly, and every team is looking for rookies to produce. Teams always expect their first-round picks to help them compete, but the best teams can get production from their late round draft picks. Look at the Saints, 2nd rounder Marcus Williams and 3rd rounder Alvin Kamara both had tremendous impacts in getting New Orleans back to the playoffs. With that being said, let’s take a look at one draft pick each team expects to produce. Note: I attempted to avoid first rounders as much as possible.
New England Patriots
The 6th round pick is going to need to be an immediate contributor after Julian Edelman’s suspension. He seemed to be a perfect match for the Patriots throughout the draft process. If he can develop chemistry with Tom Brady, Berrios should be able to seamlessly slide into the Patriot offense. It’s hard to look at Berrios and not see Julian Edelman, but only time will tell if his career will turn out that way.
New York Jets
A strong, athletic defensive tackle, the 3rd rounder has big shoes to fill. With the recent departures of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams is going to need help on the defensive line. Shepherd has a lot of room to grow, as he was drafted from Division II’s Fort Hays State. If Shepherd can learn from Williams during training camp, they could prove to be a formidable duo during the 2018 season.
The 2nd round tight end out of Penn State could be a sneaky Rookie of the Year candidate if everything falls into place for the Dolphins. While rookie tight ends usually have historically bad numbers, Gesicki has the skill set to change that. He’s a great red zone target, and athletic enough to gain a lot of yards after the catch. Ryan Tannehill is going to need a security blanket, and with Jarvis Landry now in Cleveland, Gesicki has a chance to be that guy. Devante Parker hasn’t lived up to the hype since coming into the league, and he doesn’t seem to be a reliable target for any quarterback.
I really wanted to put 3rd rounder Harrison Phillips in this spot, but the Bills need a quarterback desperately, and free agent AJ McCarron is not a long-term solution. Allen was selected 7th overall with clear expectations to be the franchise quarterback. He is already taking snaps with the first team and is looking to put any questions about his accuracy behind him. Even if Allen doesn’t start the year at QB1, it’s very possible he’ll have that role by the end of the year. Now the Bills need to put some receivers around him.