The way I see it, there are two parts to every calendar year: football season and non-football season. I doubt you’d have to think too hard about which is my favorite. But this particular part of the non-football season is especially difficult to sit through.
For me, the feeling compares to when you have your heart set on a brand new restaurant, but forgot to make a reservation. You show up and ask for a table, but the host informs you that it’ll be about an hour wait. You’ve already looked up all the delicious items on the menu, but have to sit through what seems like the longest hour of your life as you fantasize about how awesome it will be when you finally get a taste. Hurry up, NFL, I want a taste.
A few teams opened their rookie minicamps today, but it just feels like the host telling me the table will be ready in ten minutes. We both know it’ll be longer. So as we anxiously await that far-off moment when we finally see our server come out of the kitchen with our food, I’ll share with you what I have learned about the NFL’s new menu.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers: 15/2
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars: 23/3
Deshaun Watson, Texans: 8/1
Mike Williams, Chargers: 8/1
Corey Davis, Titans: 17/2
John Ross, Bengals: 9/1
Evan Engram, Giants: 12/1
Though Leonard Fournette is likely to take the lead running back role from Day 1, he will be running behind a rather uninspiring offensive line in Jacksonville. I also see him relinquishing third-down snaps to TJ Yeldon. For those reasons, Christian McCaffrey, who will be used all over the field in Carolina, becomes the favorite for OROY. I expect the former Cardinal to serve as a 1b in the Panther backfield, while receiving a lot of touches in the short passing game.
Deshaun Watson is the rookie QB with the best chance to start Week 1, just having to beat out Tom Savage. If Watson is under center, he will have a lot of weapons at his disposal.
Myles Garrett, Browns: 8/1
Malik Hooker, Colts: 25/3
Haason Reddick, Cardinals: 9/1
Jamal Adams, Jets: 9/1
Solomon Thomas, 49ers: 19/2
Marshon Lattimore, Saints: 10/1
Gareon Conley, Raiders: 11/1
The first-overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft is going to be an impact player in the pros. But Garrett will have to deal with every offense scheming against him in his rookie season; the Browns defense is still a work in progress, and he’s already their most dangerous weapon. He’s too good to be held in check on every play, though.
With a high-powered offense on the other side of the ball, Malik Hooker and the Colts defense should see plenty of balls put in the air against them this season. The former Buckeye is a tremendous centerfielder who will feast on the poor decisions made by Blake Bortles and whoever starts under center for Houston.
Lattimore was the best cover corner available in the draft, but he may not look it when he lines up against Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin six times in his rookie season.
Photo Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire.
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