With week one of pre-season underway we look at the NFC North rookies that will make an impact in 2019. From 12th overall pick Rashan Gary, 3rd round pick David Montgomery, to the tight end tipped to be the next Rob Gronkowski, how will this year’s group of NFC North rookies handle one of the toughest divisions in the league?
Picking David Montgomery in the 3rd round was good business by the Bears, off the back of an excellent season winning the division in 2018. The running back out of Iowa State ran for 1,216 yards in his third season in college scoring 13 touchdowns. He has already got fans excited with impressive runs in Bears practice giving a preview of what’s to come in the upcoming season. The Bears’ second pick came in the 4th round, in the shape of 6 ft 2 wide receiver Riley Ridley out of Georgia. His physicality and safe hands make him a steal for the Bears.
Seen by many as the next Rob Gronkowski, T.J. Hockenson has a lot to live up to. However, if you look at his numbers and overall game in college you can see why he is so highly rated. With 46 receptions, over 700 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns last year for the Iowa Hawkeyes, coupled with his ability to block, the 6 ft 5 TE seems destined to succeed in the NFL. Another notable draft pick by the Lions was second round line backer, Jahlani Tavai from Hawaii. The LB adds strength and power to strengthen the Lions defense which has been a weakness over the years.
Green Bay Packers:
Continuing their trend of picking defensive players in the first round, the Packers selected edge rusher Rashan Gary and safety Darnell Savage. A former Michigan Wolverine, Gary had an impressive college career recording his best stats in his sophomore year. He recorded a career high 58 tackles and 5.5 sacks during the season. He has been struggling with a shoulder injury following the draft, but his power and strength will excite packers fans. Darnell Savage, the safety out of Maryland, brings speed and athleticism to the Packers defense. This was highlighted at the combine when he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, the third fastest for defensive backs.
Unlike the Packers, the Vikings looked to strengthen their offense with the picks of Garrett Bradbury, center out of North Carolina State and 2nd round pick, tight end Irv Smith Jr. Smith Jr adds a passing game option for the Vikings, looking to connect with QB Kirk Cousins. The Vikings filled their need to bolster their offensive line by drafting Bradbury. The former tight end’s strength, power and quick feet will allow him to adjust to the fast pace nature of pro football quickly and cement his starting place.
This NFC North rookies article was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s been a New Orleans Saints fan since 2009 after watching them beat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44.
Photo Credit: USA Today