Having written about impactful offensive rookies in my previous article. This latest one is about the defensive rookies ready to take the league by storm in the AFC East. Previous star AFC East defensive rookies from this division include Darelle Revis, Jason Taylor, Devin McCourty, and Kiko Alonso. So here are my predictions for each team about who is going to become a star this season.
Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver – DT
The Bills got a steal when Oliver fell to them at the 9th pick. He was a phenom for the University of Houston, drawing comparisons to reigning defensive player of the year Aaron Donald for his size and speed. Oliver is a threat on every down to blow up the play. Now that he is playing with good veteran defensive linemen such as Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander. They can mentor him and help him on the field in every aspect. Expect Oliver to burn bright in the cold Buffalo night for years to come.
New England Patriots – Chase Winovich – DE
Already the butt of memes from Julian Edleman because of his long hair, you can tell his fellow teammates respect Winovich and not just for his locks. During his time at Michigan, he played at tight end, linebacker before settling on the defensive line. This is the type of versatility that wakes Bill Belicheck up in the morning. Winovich will see a lot of playing time this season because Malcolm Brown and Trey Flowers both left in free agency this season. He will be easy to spot this season because of his hair and due to the amount of time he’ll spend in the opposition’s backfield. Expect to wig sales and sack numbers skyrocket in New England this season.
New York Jets – Quinenn Williams – DT
Quinnen Williams is going to be a freak for the Jets. He has the power of a bull and the speed of a hurricane, so expect him to blow through offensive lines all season long. He was named a unanimous All-American, All-SEC and won the Outland Trophy last season. Williams might not get the same awards now that he’s in the NFL but that doesn’t mean he won’t give it his all. He’s going to make an impact with the Jets with Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson giving him the one on one matchups he needs to be successful.
Miami Dolphins – Christian Wilkins – DT
Wilkins was a dominant member of two national championship-winning teams during his time at Clemson. He’s hoping to bring that success to the NFL for the Dolphins. They are hoping that he can successfully fill the gap left by the departure of Ndamukong Suh in the offseason. Wilkins has the potential to reach the level of play that Suh has given the league for years. He’s going to form a strong spine for Miami’s on defence this year, with Reshard Jones, Xavien Howard and Kiko Alonso.
Alex Riley is a 49ers fan who’s followed the game since 2010, He’s currently at the University of Leicester. You can find him on Twitter at @NFLRiley and his blog at www.rileynfl.wordpress.com