10) Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions.
After an excellent week one, Abdullah went down the following week only to miss the full season. With Theo Riddick as the only real threat to get touches, Abdullah should get plenty of chances to breakout in his crucial 3rd year, as long as he can stay healthy.
9) Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints.
Rankins was one of my favorite prospects in the 2016 draft coming out of Louisville as a ferocious pass rusher that can also plug against the run. He was only able to appear in 9 games as a rookie, but has all the skills to become a perennial Pro-Bowler.
8) Noah Spence, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Spence recorded 5.5 sacks as a rookie, appearing in all 16 games.. only 3 of which he started. Spence should seize a starting role this year and could very well have a double-digit sack season.
7) Hunter Henry, TE, LA Chargers.
Henry is a hot candidate to have a big season, and I can’t find any reason to argue. He’ll likely start over the ageing Antonio Gates.. however, for you fantasy players, look for Gates to still get plenty of red-zone looks.
6) Dante Fowler Jr, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 2015 #3 overall pick missed his entire rookie year with a torn ACL, and had a lackluster 2016 recording just 4 sacks and 1 start. He has all the tools to be an All-Pro, and I expect him to bounce back from his dreadful season similarly to how Vic Beasley did (doesn’t hurt that he’ll be playing with Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Yannick Ngakoue).
5) Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings.
A former 5th round pick, you could argue he’s already broken out after putting up 903 yards last season. However that was only in 13 games (and he played much less than 100% in many of those games). Year 2 with Sam Bradford, and a group of WR’s around him that should continue to improve (yeah, I’m looking at you Treadwell). So we’ve really yet to see what the 23 year old Viking is fully capable of.
4) Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns.
With one of the top offensive lines in the NFL in-front of him, improved weapons all over the offense including Njokue, Coleman, Britt, and Peppers…? I expect Kessler to win the starting QB job, and I actually think he’ll be pretty serviceable with the players he has around him. With all of these improvements, look for Crowell to go over 1,000 yards and 10 TD’s.
3) Kony Ealy, DE, New England Patriots.
Kony Ealy wasn’t able to justify the 2nd round pick Carolina used on him (except for his performance in the Super Bowl) and was dealt to New England. I expect the Pats will unlock the player that showed up in that Super Bowl, and that Ealy will turn into the type of player that keeps offensive coordinators awake at night.
2) Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jameis has played some pretty good football in his first 2 seasons, and has looked the part of a #1 overall pick. In his 3rd season I think he’s going to put everything together, cut down on the turnovers, and lead his team to the NFC championship game. The additions of D-Jax, OJ Howard and Chris Godwin will pay dividends.
1) Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ramsey was snubbed of winning Rookie of the Year last season (which is why he’s on this list and Bosa isn’t). Ramsey looked like a seasoned veteran during his rookie season, and will only get better playing next to AJ Bouye this year. Ramsey has the skills as well as the swagger to not only be an All-Pro.. but a future Hall of Famer. Bold praise for such a young player, but if the 22 year old continues to improve.. I like his chances.