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Who will be the best 2017 rookie in the NFC South?

We hope it’ll be Takkarist McKinley, but we’re not betting on it.

SiriusXM At The 2017 NFL Draft Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM

We’re getting close enough to the season that we can start really thinking about the production we’re going to see from players this season. That’s an exciting time, and it’s also an excellent time to indulge in flights of fancy about how good these Falcons rookies might be.

That’s also true for other fanbases, of course. The Falcons website put together a list of the ten rookies that could have an impact in the division, and it’s a pretty good list. It also got me thinking about who might be a Rookie of the Year candidate in the division, and a candidate for the best rookie in the NFC South.

My guess is that McCaffrey will be considered the best rookie when all is said and done, simply because he has the easiest path to gaudy stats. Cam Newton can use a weapon who has the speed to go deep and the shiftiness to get away from defenders near the line of scrimmage, and McCaffrey should get plenty of carries behind an oft-banged up Jonathan Stewart. He’s also, bluntly, a white running back who is already plenty famous from school, which helps his case whether we’d like to acknowledge that or not.

Other top contenders include Howard, who should find plenty of targets the Buccaneers’ offense; McKinley, who figures to be an aggressive, productive pass rusher as soon as he’s fully healthy; and not Marcus Lattimore, because the Saints pass defense isn’t going to be good enough to give him the recognition he may wind up deserving. Bet on McCaffrey, though, if you’re a betting soul.