Reactions to Atlanta's 2015 draft were overwhelmingly positive. The team did an effective job of addressing need and drafting for value, and they've added a contingent of rookies who have the potential to positively impact the team this season. But which rookie will have the biggest impact in 2015?
Vic Beasley, a dynamic young pass rusher who is the ideal fit for the LEO role in the Falcons' new defensive scheme, is the easy answer. Beasley is an immediate, necessary upgrade at Atlanta's position of greatest need, and particularly after seeing how well he's adjusting to NFL speed throughout minicamps and OTAs, I do expect Beasley to be an impact player immediately.
Tevin Coleman is a fantastic fit for the zone blocking scheme Atlanta will be running this season, and while he will compete with Devonta Freeman to earn the bulk of the carries, it's fair to assume that both guys will get plenty of opportunities this season. Atlanta's run game has been sorely lacking for years, and Coleman has the potential to help turn that around this season.
Grady Jarrett, Beasley's Clemson teammate, has undeniable talent, but his lack of ideal size to play defensive tackle in the NFL caused him to fall to the fifth round in the draft, which allowed the Falcons to select a potential impact player at great value. Jarrett's athleticism should allow him to bring pressure up the middle, and for a team that has struggled to put much pressure on quarterbacks at all, that will be a welcome change.
Cornerback Jalen Collins is still pretty raw, especially after missing a portion of offseason activities with a lingering foot injury. Justin Hardy certainly has the talent and ability to contribute, and I believe he'll be a factor, but I think his impact may be limited by the guys ahead of him on the depth chart. Jake Rodgers and Akeem King aren't likely to get many opportunities this season, but we'll see.
Which rookie do you think will have the biggest impact in 2015?