While some rookies have the ability to have an instant impact in all formats, others will require some patience. These guys can be buried behind a viable starter or might need some seasoning. Those who are patient and willing to wait will be rewarded handsomely. Six guys stand out to me as players that are worth the wait.
Matt Jones – Washington Redskins
Matt Jones is a name I had in my top 15 running backs before the NFL Draft. He is a big, physical running back that can make plays on all three downs. He is entering a very interesting situation, behind Alfred Morris. Morris has battled injuries in the past and is a free agent after this season. The Redskins also added Brandon Scherff in the first round who is a mauler that will help the run game in Washington. Jones has the potential to help this season but next season is when i expect his break out to come.
Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens
Buck Allen is physical back out of the University of Southern California. He has enough speed to be productive at the next level. He heads to Baltimore with the opportunity initially to be a perfect complement to current starter Justin Forsett. Forsett was very impressive last season and earned a three year deal during the off season. Last season, was the first season he showed he could be anything more than a part time player. Allen should be able to spell Forsett initially but will have the chance to be the lead back in a season or two.
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Cameron Artis-Payne – Carolina Panthers
Cameron Artis-Payne is a bowling ball at running back. He will create contact with the ball in his hand. He enters an situation with a ton of questions. Who will be the primary back up with DeAngelo Williams moving on? Can Jonathan Stewart stay healthy and if so, can he be productive. All of these questions make Artis-Payne a guy i want to invest in. Id draft him assuming on him getting a real shot next season, but the potential is there for instant impact this season, even if it takes a few weeks. Think C.J. Anderson in Denver last year.
Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears
Jeremy Langford is name I really liked in the 2015 NFL Draft class. He was a highly productive runner at Michigan State, who impacted both on the ground and through the air. He is a physical runner that went into a spot with some potential. Matt Forte is in the final year of his deal. Langford has the potential to garner carries as the lead back after this season. Ka’deem Carey is entering his second season in Chicago and will likely get the first crack at being a feature back. Langford will be buried on the depth chart behind Forte, Carey and newly acquired Jacquizz Rodgers. He will provide tremendous value in dynasty drafts this summer.
DeAndre Smelter – San Francisco 49ers
DeAndre Smelter was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round. If not for a torn ACL late in his final season at Georgia Tech, he likely would have gone higher. The Niners are willing to wait on Smelter and fantasy owners should do the same. He has immense talent. He has the size at 6’2″ and 226 pounds. He will refine his route running at the next level and produce sooner than later.
Clive Walford – Oakland Raiders
Clive Walford has the potential to be the best tight end in this draft class. He has the athleticism to succeed on the next level and is headed to an offense that will be ready to produce. The Oakland Raiders are building a serious offense and Walford will benefit from that. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Andre Holmes and others will garner attention on the outside. He can occupy the seam and be a real red zone threat. With a lack of guys you can cant on at tight end, Walford may be able to produce and produce consistently.