2016 NFL All-Rookie Team Prediction
By Brian E. Murphy, Packers Insider senior editor
~It’s never too early to look ahead. That’s all we have really, between now and September. The good news is September is now only four months away.
Obviously a lot of things will happen between now and then, and between September and January. Position battles will play out. There will be some rookie surprises not only making teams, but having impact early. There will be some high picked rookies who do little to nothing.
There will be some big name rookies who don’t do much, but they’ll still make the All-Rookie team based on their name. Alabama players tend to get that.
I’m basing this on players I see getting starts, and having some impact as rookies. I don’t do place kickers or punters.
QB- Jared Goff, Los Angeles (1)
RB- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (4)
RB- Derrick Henry, Tennessee (45)
RB- Devontae Booker, Denver (136)
WR- Josh Doctson, Washington (22)
WR- Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (40)
WR- Braxton Miller, Houston (85)
TE- Hunter Henry, San Diego (35)
OT- Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore (6)
OG- Cody Whitehair, Chicago (56)
C- Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis (18)
OG- Joshua Garnett, San Francisco (28)
OT- Jack Conklin, Tennessee (8)
Notes: I think Goff is the most ready, and has a fine offense around him with the stud back in Gurley taking pressure off, giving him some shots to open guys. For Dallas to justify taking Elliott, they need to get 1500 yards from him. It’s possible if he doesn’t get injured.
I think the big man Derrick Henry will supplant Demarco Murray early in Tennessee, and run well. He reminds me of former Titan Eddie George.
And in Denver, Booker has a chance to be great.
Josh Doctson is fantastic. If Kirk Cousins plays well again, Doctson could lead all rookies in catches, yards and touchdowns.
Shephard and Miller being the jack of trades, in the mold of last year’s rookie stud WRs Lockett in Seattle and Diggs in Minnesota, won’t take long to have impacts.
DE- Joey Bosa, San Diego (3)
DT- Jarran Reed, Seattle (49)
NT- Kenny Clark, Green Bay (27
DT- Sheldon Day, Jacksonville (103)
DE- Robert Nkemdiche, Arizona (29)
OLB- Kamalei Correa, Baltimore (42)
ILB- Reggie Ragland, Buffalo (41)
ILB- Blake Martinez, Green Bay (131)
OLB- Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville (69)
CB- Eli Apple, New York Giants (10)
CB- Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville (5)
S- Karl Joseph, Oakland (14)
S- Darian Thompson, NY Giants (71)
There will be more impact guys on defense than on offense from the 2016 rookie class. That’s not surprising given the fact that the draft was top-heavy on defense.
Kenny Clark will make Packer fans forget about BJ Raji.
Jacksonville has a bunch of new guys on defense who will make that team better. That is, after a week one loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Their first five picks were all defense: Ramsey, Myles Jack, Ngakoue, Day, and Tyrone Holmes, OLB. Jack won’t play this year probably, but they should get back last year’s top-five pick Dante Fowler, who tore his ACL immediately in training camp.
While he shakes off the rust in that knee, both rookies will have an immediate impact for Gus Bradley’s pass rush, as will Sheldon Day from the line. Whoever wins the playing time between Holmes and Ngakoue will put up some nice numbers. They have the looks of a good defense very soon.
Eli Apple will shine in the Big Apple early, until the refs start to flag him for his repeated molestings. But that’s how a CB rises to the top. It worked for Richard Sherman and Aqib Talib.
Buffalo will get a big spark from their dynamic duo of Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland. Ragland will be an instant stud anchoring the middle of that defense. He’ll draw comparisons this year to Brian Urlacher of the Bears as he’ll be in the middle of numerous turnovers, in addition to his run-stuffing.
Don’t forget about Kevin White and Dante Fowler. They were premium top-ten picks last year who never played a down. Each missed the whole season with early injuries. Now usually it takes a player an extra year to recover and trust his knee. And these guys are basically rookies. Will either light it up as basically redshirt freshmen?