Rookie Players to Watch: AFC North
The NFL Draft was almost a month ago and now OTA’s are starting up around the league. Each team has a bunch of rookie players on its roster and they are looking to make an impact in their first year in the league. The Bengals lost two of its top three wide receivers and once again couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs. The Ravens are looking to go back in the playoff hunt after having a disappointing 2015 season. The Browns have many new faces and are looking to start competing in the division. The Steelers seem to be just a few pieces away from winning it all, and the secondary needed some help. Let’s see which rookie on each team you need to watch out for in the upcoming season.
Cincinnati Bengals rookie to watch: WR – Tyler Boyd
The Bengals lost Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones this offseason, leaving a gaping hole in the receiver spot behind AJ Green. In walks Tyler Boyd. Boyd is going to be the number two receiver on the team and a great one at that. Boyd has strong hands and he can make the tough catches for the team. He isn’t a deep threat option, that job is AJ Green’s, but he will be a great possession receiver. He broke records at the University of Pittsburgh, first for most receptions in Panthers history with 254 and for career receiving yards with 3,361. He broke both of these records in just three years at Pittsburgh, imagine what he could have done with another year.
Cleveland Browns rookie to watch: LB – Scooby Wright III
A seventh round pick is the rookie to watch in Cleveland? Yes! Scooby Wright could have been a first round pick if he never had the injury problems he had at Arizona. He had a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee and a sprained right foot. These aren’t big injuries, but they are still something to note. Wright knows what type of play is coming and does everything he can do to stop it. Zone coverage skills are there and he can time a blitz well. Wright produced numbers at Arizona, getting 270 tackles, 43.5 for loss, 17 sacks, an interception, pass deflection, fumble recovery and five forced fumbles. He only played in three games last season, imagine those numbers if he played in all of them. Wright could be a huge steal for the Browns and taking him in the seventh round was the best plan for any team. You get a good rookie for cheap and he could be a great player down the road.
Baltimore Ravens rookie to watch: DT – Willie Henry
Mel Kiper Jr. said before workouts even happened that Henry could be a first round pick. Well, he wasn’t correct as Henry fell to the fourth round but that doesn’t mean Kiper didn’t see something good in Henry. Henry is good on the run defense, bursting through the line and being able to knock down the ball carrier. Double teams are issues he is used too and he knows how to take them on. If he has his eyes on the quarterback, he turns his speed up to 11 and is able to lock down the tackle. In three years at Michigan he had 85 tackles, nine and a half sacks, an interception and two pass deflections. Henry has a good chance to show people his athletic ability and become the number two defensive tackle for Baltimore.
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie to watch: CB – Artie Burns
The Steelers biggest weakness last season was in the secondary and Burns is here to help with that. Burns is six feet tall and ran track and field in college, giving him some speed with the height. His ability to snatch the ball out of the air are impressive and can trick the quarterback into throwing a ball that won’t work out well for them. When he makes a tackle, he finishes it and makes sure he gets a good lick on him. Burns had 93 tackles, seven interceptions, 14 pass deflections, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his three years at the University of Miami. While he won’t be the number one cornerback on the team and many scouts had him as a third round pick, others said he had the ability to be the best cornerback in this draft. Burns is a raw prospect and that could lead to a year or two learning some things and getting playing time as the number two or three cornerback, but if the Steelers know one thing, that is how to build a good defense and they can make Burns turn into the cornerback they need.https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/rookie-players-to-watch-afc-north/https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/AFC-North-1.jpg?fit=350%2C350&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/AFC-North-1.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1AFC NorthBaltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsFootballNFLPittsburgh SteelersRecent Posts#Steelers,AFC North,bengals,Browns,NFL,Ravens,rookieThe NFL Draft was almost a month ago and now OTA's are starting up around the league. Each team has a bunch of rookie players on its roster and they are looking to make an impact in their first year in the league. The Bengals lost two of its...Brandon KnappBrandon KnappKnappmb@outlook.comEditorBrandon is a senior at Central Michigan University majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sports Management. He loves the Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Red Wings, Lions, Tigers and Pistons, UFC, WWE and Video Games. Follow him at @BKnappBlogs on Twitter.MyFantasySportsTalk