And with each of those minutes that passes, we know a bit more about what we are going to see. Who is going to start, who is going disappear from the national radar. Who is going to burst onto the scene and change the landscape of the NFL?
Well, let's take a look at this years rookie and who (I think) will have the biggest impact. After all, we have seen a couple preseason games, so we should have a good idea what is really going to happen when the games count right?......right? Ok maybe not, but that's half the fun.
First, the NFC EAST
The Cowboys have a decent shot of youth coming in this season with a couple players likely to see the field from this most recent draft class. However, only on of them is penciled in as a starter.
Travis Frederick C: The Boys took some heat for drafting an inside offensive lineman in the first round with their well-documented needs at tackle. If you are going to take a risk like that, you had better not miss. They believe that they didn't. Frederick has taken every snap in practice with the firs team, and will start either guard or Center. I still don't know about the value at the pick, but there is always value in a starter who can play 3 positions.
Julius Randle RB: Randle will remind you a lot of DeMarco Murray when you see him run. He runs a bit upright, lowering his pads as needed, and runs with good vision. He is more physical than you would expect from his size, and he catches the ball well out of the backfield. This is all very good considering Murray's injury history. He will likely miss some time, and for my money, Randle is the most talented backup they have. He has a couple spots on the depth chart to climb, but this kid will play.
Terrance Williams WR: Williams is slotted as the #3 overall WR on the team, but he is strictly an outside receiver at this point, so he is unlikely to start in the slot. Unless the Boys are willing to move Miles Austin inside, which is doubtful, he will see spot duty. That said, what are the chances the Austin remains injury free and Dez Bryant stays out of trouble? He will see the field, and he will get deep.
Gavin Escobar TE:
He is the second tight end on the team, and is pretty strictly a receiving tight end at this point. If the Boys are smart, they will move him around the field to try to absorb the attention of a linebacker or safety, rather than keeping him inline. Frankly, he can't block at this level yet, but he will be a nice addition for the passing game.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Projected Starters: Not a one
Justin Pugh OL:
Pugh is being brought along slowly, but the Giants think he projects as a starting tackle. He has worked to second string at left tackle and should see the field as s depth play this season.
Johnathan Hankins DT:
The Giants have been known for their D-Line, but Tackle has been a bit of a revolving door for them. They are hoping that Hankins will be a steal, and he has the potential to merit that hope. He is a big man who could be worth of consistent double teams, especially in running downs, which will free up other players to make tackles.
Damontre Moore DE/OLB:
Moore was the heir apparent to Von Miller for A and M last season and he is already showing flashes of why the Aggies thought so much of him. If he can be consistent in his effort and preparation, we could be looking at the next great pass rusher for the Giants.
Russell Sheppard WR:
Sheppard fell after a disappointing senior season and the Eagles brought him in as a Free Agent. He has played to his potential in camp and that, combined with injuries and drama, has him looking at being the #3 wideout for the Eagles...at worst. I expect to see him start some games on the outside, opposite DeSean Jackson.
Lane Johnson OT:
There are lot of questions about what kind of offense Coach Kelly is going to run. How much with they run the ball? How much will the QB run the ball? Can it be effective passing in this league? These are all good questions, but there is one thing that is not in question. His offense requires athletic offensive linemen. He expects a lot out of his linemen, and draft Lane Johnson to be the first in that mold for Philly. Johnson has stepped in at Right Tackle and put a stranglehold on the position in camp.
Zach Ertz TE:
Ertz has worked himself to the #2 tight end spot, and could be a starter with that on many weeks. He will see the field a lot as a rookie, regardless, and early signs have it looking like Kelly intends to use Ertz and his running mate Brent Celek all over the field.
Bennie Logan NT:
The Eagles want to run a 3-4 and needed depth at Nose Tackle. Logan is it right now. I don't know what that means for him as a player, but I do know what it means for him in terms of playing time.
Bacarri Rambo S: Rambo has worked himself to the top of the depth chart at FS. It's a bit surprising to see him there so quickly, and he may be up and down, but he will start games there this season. He is an aggressive safety with a lot of talent. That will likely put him in a lot highlights, on both sides of the plays.
David Amerson C: The Redskins felt like they needed to improve in the secondary, and Amerson is another piece of that. He has the prototype body of this new breed of 'big' corners that we are seeing around the league. He needs to learn when to take his gambles, but this kid has all the talent in the world.