Which rookies will have the biggest impact on the team this season and over their careers?
Zach – This year, I believe the player we will see have the biggest impact is Nick Chubb. Running the ball is important in any offense and this is a great opportunity for the young man. Additionally, he’ll have help from Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. I see Chubb being the featured back. With a running back, you just plug him in and let him go. There isn’t a huge learning curve like other positions. Over a career, the obvious answer would be Baker Mayfield and if he becomes the franchise quarterback that will be my answer. But one guy I think has the potential to be amazing, if he says clean, is wide receiver, Antonio Callaway. With Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry taking up a lot of attention, I think Callaway will find himself open much of the time. Just stay out of trouble!
Will – Zach has taken Baker and I do believe that he will have and should have the biggest impact on his career. However, I think the Browns did a great job of drafting quality players in the earlier rounds who should all have lasting impacts that we are not used to. My favorite pick to have the biggest impact on his career is Denzel Ward. This first season will be the biggest learning curve for the rookie and might be the toughest for him. His biggest knock will be his frame and lack of size, which is true. I do not hold this against him as all players can and will put on weight as they move throughout their career. The struggle will be how will he hold up in the press against the bigger receivers in the league. The Browns and Greg Williams have made it known they are looking to use him as the press lockdown corner
The reason we have to look at Ward with the biggest long-term impact is that of the ability he gives the defense to make plays. Williams said it and Peter King wrote about it in his Monday Morning Quarterback article, Myles Garret just needed one or two more steps to make plays. Ward will be able to provide those steps to help Garret complete those impact plays such as sacks or a big tackle for a loss. Ward will also help the safeties which we all know were not played correctly last season.
I think the rookie that is going to have the biggest impact this season is going to be Chad Thomas. The factor that plays into this is the pick we used on him. As a third-round pick, there are not too many expectations for Thomas to be a game breaker or anything else that he may not be. He is a nice addition to our defensive line rotation. Thomas is a physical player and front office member Andrew Berry has said he is one of the most physical players in the draft. There is a drop off in talent at this moment between Thomas and our starters, Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah. I do believe that as long as Thomas continues to work and improve he could be just as good as Ogbah in his pass rush and run defense. Thomas proved he can play both outside and inside and on passing downs. I highly expect Williams to call packages that feature Garrett, Ogbah and Thomas.
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