Hit The Ground Running – NFC Projected Most Impactful Rookies

We now enter the time of year with a pretty broad outlook on the season.

Who is going to be the new Cinderella team?

What team is going to make that late season push?

Who among the bottom feeders will rise to the top?

But, as of now, we are more curious about who of the newest additions to the league is going to push the team into being a perineal playoff or Super Bowl contender. Here are my choices for each NFC team this 2024-25 season.


NFC North

Chicago Bears

Austin Booker, Edge, Kansas (Round 5, Pick 144)

HT: 6’6″   WT: 245lbs

Booker has the frame and skills that fits the prototype pass rusher mold. The Bears traded for Montez Sweat in a deal with the Washington Commanders but still need a mainstay on the other side. Booker could end up being the full-time starter by year’s end next to Sweat and bolster an already improved defense.


Detroit Lions

Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Mizzou (Round 2, Pick 61)

HT: 6’0″   WT: 188lbs

The Lions were aggressive in addressing the defensive secondary this year. After taking Alabama standout Terrion Arnold in the first round, they doubled down and took Rakestraw Jr. in the second.

Rakestraw Jr. has the skills to play outside or slot corner, allowing matchup versatility for the Lions. His biggest impact will be allowing Brian Branch to play his natural safety spot, giving Detroit one of the best young secondaries in football.


Green Bay Packers

Marshawn Lloyd, HB, USC (Round 3, Pick 88)

HT: 5’9″   WT: 210lbs

Many have overlooked the halfback position but in the grand scheme of the game, they still matter. Green Bay signed veteran lead back Josh Jacobs but needed a stout running mate for him. Lloyd fills that role and some.

Jacobs has had some injury issues in the past and Lloyd could see a considerable uptick in snaps this season. Lloyd possess a balanced skill-set that will allow him to function in any situation, making him an integral part of the Packer offense.


Minnesota Vikings

Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon (Round 4, Pick 108)

HT: 6’3″   WT: 195lbs

The Vikings needed help on the backend and made it intentional this offseason. With Byron Murphy Jr. seemingly manning the slot, Minnesota needed to get more physical man-coverage corners on the roster.

Jackson looks like he will pair with either Akayleb Evans or Mekhi Blackmon to become the team’s new cornerback tandem. Jackson will be able to match up with bigger receivers and make it tough for opposing offenses to get the ball down field on Minnesota.


NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

JD Bertrand, LB, Notre Dame (Round 5, Pick 143)

HT: 6’1″   WT: 233lbs

Atlanta had to revamp the front seven of their defense, and part of that is getting rangy linebackers. Bertrand has the size, speed and heads-up awareness to be a steady starter next to Kaden Elliss, who took a major jump last season.

Bertrand can cover tight ends and running backs as well as come downhill in the run game. I would not be surprised if he is among the leaders on the team by the end of the season.


Carolina Panthers

Michael Barrett, LB, Michigan (Round 7, Pick 240)

HT: 6’0″   WT: 239lbs

Carolina has to rebuild this roster from the ground up essentially opening up opportunities for rookies to make immediate impacts. One such rookie is Michigan standout Michael Barrett.

Barrett has the skills to be a three-down linebacker in this league. With the losses of Jeremy Chinn and Frankie Luvu, Barrett will be thrusts into a major role. His coverage skills and power makes him a candidate to lead this team in tackles.


New Orleans Saints

Bub Means, WR, Pittsburgh (Round 5, Pick 170)

HT: 6’2″   WT: 215lbs

The Saints are a team that is moving forward from the previous regime’s players and looking to re-shape the roster. Part of that is revamping the receiver room with young talent.

Bub Means is a part of that initiative. His height and speed makes him a strong candidate to be the team’s “Z” receiver next to Chris Olave. He can fill that “Michael Thomas” role of the all-around threat early on and usher in the new era of New Orleans’ offense.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucky Irving, HB, Oregon (Round 4, Pick 125)

HT: 5’10”   WT: 195lbs

Tampa Bay made the playoffs last season off the backs of their defense and some gutsy performances from Baker Mayfield. They now have to think of the future as well as how to improve right now.

Bucky Irving addresses both of those and adds a different dimension to the offense. Irving’s speed and versatility in the passing game makes the Buccaneers even more dangerous, and he could end up being their most dynamic playmaker.  


NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Ryan Flournoy, WR, SE Missouri State (Round 6, Pick 216)

HT: 6’2″   WT: 205lbs

Dallas needed to have more threats on their offense than CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson. Flournoy immediately steps in as the WR3 and could end up being the WR2 when its all said and done. His smooth route running, sticky hands and top tier run after catch ability makes him a key piece early for the Cowboys. 


New York Giants

Tyrone Tracy Jr., HB, Purdue (Round 5, Pick 166)

HT: 6’1″   WT: 210lbs

New York lost Saquon Barkley to free agency and now they’re looking to move forward without him. Drafting Tracy Jr. is a step in the right direction, especially with Brian Daboll at the helm. His wide receiver background will be a valuable asset and will allow him to be on the field more often. He could also be a weapon in the return game. 


Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson (Round 5, Pick 155)

HT: 6’0″   WT: 230lbs

The weakest part of the Eagles defense was the linebackers and they needed to get talent to bolster their ranks. Trotter Jr. is a second-generation Eagle with the skill-set of a modern linebacker. His instincts and durability will make him the most effective inside linebacker on the roster. 


Washington Commanders 

Ben Sinnott, TE, Kansas State (Round 2, Pick 53)

HT: 6’4″   WT: 245lbs

Of all the picks in the Commanders’ draft class, this one makes the most sense for what they are trying to accomplish. Jayden Daniels needs a safety blanket and Sinnott will provide it. Sinnott has above average athleticism, strength and hands, giving him the ability to be the starting tight end at the start of the season. 


NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Darius Robinson, Edge, Mizzou (Round 1, Pick 27)

HT: 6’5″   WT: 296lbs

Head coach Jonathan Gannon utilizes defensive lineman like chess pieces. Arizona got the ultimate chess piece in Darius Robinson. Robinson’s ability to play the one-tech, three-tech or standup outside linebacker will allow him to attack offenses from multiple angles.

As such a disruptive force, he could end up with double digit sacks in his rookie season. 


Los Angeles Rams

Braden Fiske, DL, Florida State (Round 2, Pick 39)

HT: 6’5″   WT: 297lbs

The Rams have to start the season without the legendary Aaron Donald, but they have a young force that could carve his own legacy out. Braden Fiske has the talent to cause pressure on the quarterback while also disrupting the run game. This L.A. defense may not skip a beat with Fiske’s presence in the middle. 


San Francisco 49ers

Renardo Green, CB, Florida State (Round 2, Pick 64)

HT: 6’0″   WT: 186lbs

Just when it seemed like San Francisco couldn’t get better on defense, they did. They needed a cornerback next to Charvarius Ward and Green provides that. His strong frame and smooth footwork allow him to play press-man at a high level. Having another young corner who can match up with opposing No. 1 or No. 2 receivers makes this defense much better. 


Seattle Seahawks

AJ Barner, TE, Michigan (Round 4, Pick 121)

HT: 6’6″   WT: 251lbs

Simply put, the Seahawks need a dependable mainstay at the tight end position. Barner is already the most complete tight end on the roster and there is no reason why he won’t be an early contributor. Quarterback Geno Smith should be able to look his way early and often when the sticks need to be moved, and Barnes should deliver. 

Leave a Reply