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Predicting the rookie leaders from the 2017 NFL Draft

American Football

Predicting the rookie leaders from the 2017 NFL Draft

Predicting the rookie leaders from the 2017 NFL Draft

With the 2017 NFL Draft over, and OTAs well underway, teams around the league are trying to figuring out the best ways to utilise their newest draftees.

Here, we try to predict the rookie leaders in categories on offense, defence and special teams.

Receiving Yards

Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans – 1,300 yards

It’s between the three 1st round receivers in this category, but John Ross will slot in behind AJ Green on the Bengals depth chart, and Mike Williams will split targets with Keenan Allen with the Chargers.

Davis will enter the Titans building as the number one receiver, and in Marcus Mariota he has a quarterback who he can get to work with immediately. If it all comes together, Davis could be in for a big season.

Receiving Touchdowns

Mike Williams – LA Chargers – 9 TDs

Williams is much more of a threat in the red zone than Davis or Ross, and for that reason, he could well be the pass-catcher with the most touchdowns in 2017.


Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans – 82 receptions

Davis is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, and if the Titans can get it to him, he could see a lot of the ball in this offence. Look for this category to tie into the receiving yards category.

If Davis gets a ton of receptions, he could put up big receiving yards in 2017.

Passing Yards

Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – 2,600 yards

Whether there are any franchise quarterbacks in this draft class is still up for debate, but unlike Mitch Trubisky (who will presumably sit for a year behind Mike Glennon in Chicago) and Patrick Mahomes (who may do the same behind Alex Smith with the Chiefs), Watson could be the only one to start immediately.

If he doesn’t start straight away, don’t expect the Texans fans to wait long before they start calling for him to do so.

Passing Touchdowns

Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – 13 TDs

Similarly, with Watson the only quarterback who could start right away, he is the only real contender in this category too.

If he doesn’t start until the mid-season, expect him to throw for around 2,600 yards and 13 TDs in the final three quarters of the season

Rushing Yards

Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – 1,450 yards

In what was dubbed an historic draft class at running back, Fournette is easily the best of the lot, and he was drafted as such, taken fourth overall by the Jaguars.

He can transform this offence (with or without Blake Bortles), and comes in as the immediate number one lead back. He should have a big season.

Rushing Touchdowns

Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – 12 TDs

Fournette is a big, powerful, three-down back, and if he stays healthy and has a big season as many predict, he should score 10+ touchdowns.


Jamal Adams – New York Jets – 3 INTs

Adams is a ball-hawk, and had 5 interceptions over the past two years at LSU. If he can fix the drops he could be primed to have immediate production in the NFL.


Derek Barnett – Philadelphia Eagles – 9.5 sacks

A surprise pick here, as Myles Garrett could be the best player to come out since Andrew Luck. The problem I have with him isn’t actually a knock on the player himself, it’s the situation he’s been drafted into. People don’t expect the Cleveland Browns to win many games next season, and Garrett will get double-teamed A LOT.

In contrast, Derek Barnett has been drafted in a perfect spot. He should win that starting job at on the right-hand side of the Eagles’ defensive line, and with Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox alongside him, he shouldn’t have that sort of immediate focus from the opposition that Garrett will undoubtedly warrant.


Reuben Foster – San Francisco 49ers – 112 tackles

Foster is an animal, and is the perfect MLB for a team who need a hard-hitting line backer. His biggest question mark is whether he can stay healthy and clean, but if he can, he is primed to be a big contributor on this revamped 49ers defence.

Passes Deflected

Kevin King – Green Bay Packers – 16 PDs

Another surprise pick here, but Kevin King is the tallest corner in this draft class, and he uses his size and frame to make plays on the ball. Expect that production to translate well in the NFL.

Field Goals

Jake Elliott – Cincinnati Bengals – 26 FGM

Although I personally like Zane Gonzalez better than Elliott, I do believe Elliott can come in and be productive in the NFL quicker than Gonzalez can. The Bengals liked him enough to take him in the 5th round, and he’ll come in and be the immediate starter.

Return Yards

John Ross – Cincinnati Bengals – 550 yards

Whether the Bengals will use him as a kick returner or not remains to be seen, but in college Ross was an insanely good, and for that reason he is my prediction. If he is on kick returns, he could easily surpass 500+ yards on the year.

What do you think? Do you agree with these predictions for the 2017 Draft class? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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