When it comes to the draft, people wonder how good the players that can define the very future of a franchise will be. Indeed, for some franchises, even corporate survival (as reflected by a CBS Sports article from 2018) can be determined on the shrewd selection of a draft player. Regardless of what a rookie’s vision of the future may be, he will invariably want to outshine his fellow initiates. In practice, that means beating positional rivals on the field head to head, which means that the NFL will once again behold the sight of exuberant youths doing battle on the field. In that regard, there are several standout clashes that could make or break the next NFL dynasty.
The Most Anticipated NFL Rookie Duels
Sam Darnold Vs Baker Mayfield
Quarterbacks are always the major commodity when it comes to the NFL draft, and when the Cleveland Browns called the name of Baker Mayfield, it surprised many. One of the teams it might have surprised was the New York Jets who were looking for a star quarterback, and most predicted in their mock drafts that Sam Darnold was going to be the number one pick for the Browns. We will see in due time who was right and who was wrong, but you get no guarantees from a rookie quarterback and it might be the case that the best quarterback from the 2018 draft ends up being one that was drafted much later. For now, however, Mayfield will be desperate to show he is worthy of the number one pick, whereas Darnold will be desperate to show why he should have been the first choice.
NFL expert Rich Eisen believes that the New York Jets “won” the draft.
Minkah Fitzpatrick Vs Sam Darnold
With endless questions over the future of the Patriots, the NFL’s AFC East has just become a much more interesting division from a punditry perspective. While the Jets have a quarterback that has dominated the minds of draft experts, the Miami Dolphins are hoping for a stronger team unit with Fitzpatrick on the roster. Only accommodating his skills could enable the Floridian franchise to improve their current Super Bowl odds on Betway, which currently price the Dolphins as the second-longest shot at +10000. Many experts attest that there will be times when Darnold throws to the receiver that is being covered by Fitzpatrick, and it’s those kinds of moments when the watching audience will see whether the Jets have the All-American hero that has been elusive for so long. If nothing else, the Dolphins have a figure at safety that looks set to be a mainstay in the defense for years to come.
Saquon Barkley Vs Da’Ron Payne
Saquon Barkley is perhaps the most exciting player to come out of the 2018 draft. He is an electric running back who looks like a guaranteed star in the NFL. The winner of the NFC East last season won the Super Bowl with the Eagles, so everyone else has a lot of catching up to do. The Giants will be hoping Barkley can take the pressure off Eli Manning and lead them back to another Super Bowl. In his way for the Redskins will be the formidable Da’Ron Payne who is a huge tackler. As shown by his college statistics, he has the potential to be a real nemesis for fellow rookie Barkley.
Correct as of 13 May 2018, these are the stats surrounding this particular duel according to Sports Reference.
[Public Domain – Source: Sports Reference]
D.J. Moore Vs Calvin Ridley
There wasn’t a lot of buzz around wide receivers in the draft, but two of them still managed to go quite high. D.J. Moore was the 24th pick for the Panthers and Calvin Ridley was the 26th pick for the Falcons. Both teams are in the same division and also have world-class quarterbacks in Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, which can only add extra spice to this duel. The wide receivers won’t be short of great passes and opportunities to impress, but they have quarterbacks that will be expecting a lot from them. Both of these teams have been to the Super Bowl recently, and Ridley, in particular, will be hoping to show why he should (as suggested by a significant number of experts) have been the first wide receiver picked in the draft.