The 2021 NFL Draft has passed and rookies are already reporting to camps. It’s time for some of them to show what they can do and prove they were worth the draft picks.
Who were some of the best under-the-radar selections? Which Day 2 and Day 3 picks will have the biggest impact as rookies in 2021? And do any of them have what it takes to win some awards? Here’s a look at five players who will answer most — if not all — of those questions this season.
5. Walker Little, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars
This is a tricky one because Walker Little, although possessing the talent of a first-rounder, does come with some legitimate medical red flags. He has taken just 72 snaps over the previous two seasons. He suffered a knee injury that ended his season in 2019, and then opted out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means there’s going to be quite a bit of rust to knock off, and that’s assuming Little can stay healthy. However, if he can, the Jaguars landed a potential starting tackle of the future at pick No. 45 overall. The 6-foot-7, 309-pound Little logged a 93.3 pass-blocking grade (PFF) over the course of his college career and allowed just one pressure. Limited opportunities or not, that’s impressive.
4. Nick Bolton, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
At 6-foot and 231 pounds, there’s no denying that Nick Bolton is an undersized linebacker. It’s part of the reason why he slipped to the Chiefs at No. 58 overall and part of the reason why some believe he was still a reach at that point. We’ll argue that he was a steal, instead. Size aside, Bolton is an extremely instinctive linebacker who excels in coverage.