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NFL Rookies to Watch in 2018 0

Posted on August 09, 2018 by Dean Hybl

2018-Browns-draftThere were 256 players chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, but only a handful will have a major impact on the upcoming NFL season. The challenge, of course, it to anticipate which rookies will have an impact on the sportsbooks come the regular season.

Here is a look at a number of high-profile draft picks that should have a chance to make an immediate impact in 2018:

Baker Mayfield & Denzel Ward – Cleveland Browns: While most of the attention regarding the 2018 draft for the Cleveland Browns was centered around choosing Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield with the first pick, it is likely that fourth overall pick Denzel Ward will have a larger impact during their rookie season.

From just down the road at Ohio State, Ward had his best of three collegiate seasons in 2017. If he can develop into an elite shut-down cornerback, it would certainly benefit a Cleveland defense that allowed 410 points, including 28 touchdown passes, in 2017.

Mayfield looks likely to start the season on the bench as the backup to veteran Tyrod Taylor, but with a great receiving corps, if he gets a chance to play, Mayfield seems to have a pretty good set of weapons at his disposal.

Saquon Barkley – New York Giants: There was a time when drafting a running back with a top five picks was a regular occurrence. However, over the last couple decades the conventional wisdom by many has been that star running backs can be found much later in the draft and therefore using a high pick on a running back is not a value pick.

However, in the last two years, Ezekiel Elliott (fourth pick in 2016) and Leonard Fournette (fourth pick in 2017) were immediate impact stars and helped propel their teams to playoff seasons. The Giants are hoping the same will happen for them in 2018 as they used the second overall pick on Saquon Barkley.

Considered by many to be the best player in the draft, Barkley could prove to be a once-in-a-generation superstar, or he could be over-shadowed this year by someone picked on the second or third day. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
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      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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