David Montgomery, Tony Pollard among 2019 NFL rookie risers Published: Aug 14, 2019 at 06:42 AM Gil Brandt Of the myriad surprises that pepper each NFL season, among the most pleasant are rookies who provide instant starter-level impact despite being drafted after Round 1. Think of linebacker , picked in the second round in 2018, leading the NFL in tackles and capturing the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Or running back , picked in the third round in 2017, racking up 1,554 yards from scrimmage to help power the second-most prolific offense in the league that year. Or, of course, quarterback , drafted in the fourth round in 2016, grabbing the starting job and leading Dallas to the playoffs in Year 1. Which rookies will make a similarly grand first impre sion in 2019? I talked to six different lead executives in player personnel from six different teams and asked them who they thought had the best chance to surprise among this year's rookies. Below is my list of the top 10 rookie risers, based on factors including preseason buzz, plucked from the ranks of players drafted in Round 2 or Tony Wolters Jersey later. 1) David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears Draft position: Round 3, No. 73 overall, out of Iowa State. Two years ago, when he was offensive coordinator for the , Matt Nagy helped turn a third-round pick (Kareem Hunt) into the NFL's rushing leader. Can the head coach work the same magic with Montgomery this year? In Chicago's , Montgomery looked like the second coming of Matt Forte, contributing on the ground (three carries for 16 yards and a score) and through the air (three catches for 30 yards). Montgomery's all-around skills make him a better fit for Nagy's offense than , who ran for a team-high 935 yards last season before being traded to Philadelphia. Montgomery will have every chance to become Chicago's bell-cow back, with and serving as complementary weapons. 2) Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints Draft position: Round 2, No. 48 overall, out of Texas A&M. After Max Unger's , the were in need of a center, away from Minnesota -- but that was before they had the opportunity to nab McCoy. New Orleans entered the draft scheduled to pick 62nd at the earliest, thanks to last year's trade up for , so Sean Payton and Co. must have been delighted to still land McCoy, who I thought should have gone in the first round, even if they did have to move up a bit in Round 2 to get him. McCoy started the preseason opener against Minnesota, . McCoy is going to play in this league for a long time and win a lot of honors. Easton, meanwhile, can be shifted into the valuable role of swing backup. 3) Juan Thornhill, S, Kansas City Chiefs Draft position: Round 2, No. 63 overall, out of Virginia. Time spent at cornerback and safety in college helped prepare Thornhill to make a quick impact in Kansas City, where his range and propensity for forcing turnovers in practice have made him to beat out incumbent for a starting safety spot opposite . A former high school quarterback, Thornhill understands the game very well -- you don't pick off 13 pa ses, as Thornhill did at Virginia, by accident -- and he's going to make a lot of tackles. If Thornhill does win a starting gig, he'd be in position to accomplish something relatively rare under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo; only James Laurinaitis (in 2009, with the St. Louis Rams), (in 2015, with the Giants) and (in 2017, with the Giants) have started 16 games as rookies on Spagnuolo-coached defenses. 4) Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys Draft position: Round 4, No. 128 overall, out of Memphis. Pollard Scott Oberg Jersey is one of the few people benefitting from 's decision to stay away from the team while seeking a new contract extension, as Pollard is now receiving more practice reps. This should help him further adjust to the NFL after serving primarily as a backup for in college. owner Jerry Jones for Pollard after his 4-carry, 16-yard , saying Pollard "looked confident out there" and is capable of "carrying the whole load." It's fair to gue s that Jones might be posturing some, considering his impa se with Elliott, but regardle s, Pollard is in line to become an immediate contributor. Even after Elliott returns, Pollard could help shoulder some of the burden that is annually placed on Elliott, who led the NFL in touches in 2018 with 381. 5) Jalen Hurd, WR, San Francisco 49ers Draft position: Round 3, No. 67 overall, out of Baylor. Hurd only transitioned from running back to receiver two years ago, when he transferred from Tenne see to Baylor, but so far, so good for this walking size-speed nightmare, who chipped in two scores . The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Hurd is a big, strong, talented receiver, and I think he's going to catch 50-plus pa ses for the Niners this season. Hurd's chances to take on a large role are especially strong in light of the suffered by David Dahl Jersey slot receiver . 6) Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders Draft position: Round 5, No. 149 overall, out of Clemson. Like Pollard, Renfrow benefited from the absence of a star topping the depth chart at his position, getting extra snaps while due to foot and helmet i sues. Even now that Brown is back, however, Renfrow should see extensive time in the slot. He's on the smaller side (5-10, 184 pounds) and isn't real fast (4.59-second 40-yard dash), but he have a history of producing for Clemson, especially in big games. And Oakland has been , giving him the flexibility to contribute even more in the years to come. 7) Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns Draft position: Round 2, No. 46 overall, out of LSU. The long list of LSU defensive backs making an impact in the NFL should continue with Williams. against Washington was marked by the kinds of up-and-down swings that are common for rookies at this point in the NFL calendar: Williams intercepted a pa s was part of a blown coverage that led to a touchdown. Before the draft, there were concerns about Williams' willingne s to tackle, but he's been working hard to . He should also continue to improve his physicality as he adds to his 6-2, 185-pound frame. If Williams winds up winning a starting gig, we'll see exactly what he's made of, as he'll definitely be tested playing opposite a cornerback the caliber of . 8) Dalton Risner, OG, Denver Broncos Draft position: Round 2, No. 41 overall, out of Kansas State. There are two positives to Risner's addition in Denver. First, he's a plug-and-play starter at left guard who has and is already looking like a veteran. Second, he'll allow the to switch Ron Leary to right guard, which is where . Risner should start and contribute in the NFL for a long time. 9) Miles Sanders Charlie Blackmon Jersey , RB, Philadelphia Eagles Draft position: Round 2, No. 53 overall, out of Penn State. Sanders had a disappointing offseason after being sidelined by a hamstring injury. Now healthy, Sanders is poised to push for the starting running back gig. Sanders managed just 3 yards on three carries in his preseason debut. But you can expect the competition , as the rotate through and sort out the options in their . The thing that I like so much about Sanders is that he's fresh, having played behind for most of his time at Penn State, he can catch the ball, which means he doesn't have to come out in obvious pa sing situations. I think he's going to impre s this season. 10) Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills Draft position: Round 3, No. 74 overall, out of Florida Atlantic. The did have a running back need going into the draft, having signed and to complement . But Buffalo couldn't resist grabbing Singletary, based on how highly he was ranked . And he's already showcasing the skills that helped him rush for 4,287 yards and 66 Ian Desmond Jersey touchdowns at Florida Atlantic, racking up 48 scrimmage yards on 12 touches . If Singletary continues to show he belongs on the field, one has to wonder whether McCoy will be traded at some point in 2019 to pave the way for him. He's the kind of player who will have a tendency to make something special happen whenever he's on the field. KEEP AN EYE ON: Jarrett Stidham, QB, New England Patriots Draft position: Round 4, No. 133 overall, out of Auburn. The have consistently found quality backups throughout 's incredible run as their starting quarterback, hitting on players like , and . Though he is currently likely to stick as the third-stringer, mastering the offensive system behind current backup , Stidham looks like his name could be the next added to that list. If he'd been drafted by a QB-needy team, I think we'd see him on the field a lot sooner, and he even become the person to take the reins from Brady, if and when he ever retires. ALSO CONSIDERED: , S, (Round 4, No. 116) , EDGE, (Round 5, No. 156) , WR, (Round 3, No. 93) , RB, (Round 6, No. 186) , WR, (Round 6, No. 174) , S, (Round 2, No. 61) , LB, (Round 3, No. 88) , LB, (Round 5, No. 155) , WR, (undrafted) , WR, (Round 3, No. 76). This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be mi sing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an i sue.
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