10. CB Deandre Baker (Giants)
Sure it might be too soon, but that’s just how good Deandre Baker is. He was a first-team All-American at Georgia and the Giants fully expect him to step right in and start in New York. The Giants think they can contend in the NFC East and one of the biggest reasons is because they’ve had such a great draft. I might be reaching here, but I’ve been that impressed with Baker during his career at Georgia, and it looks like he will make the transition easily.
9. LB Thomas Davis (Chargers)
Thomas Davis deserves credit for many things, but longevity might be at the top of the list. He has played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, and he’s not done yet, signing a contact to continue playing with the Los Angeles Chargers. Davis has paid his dues too, coming back from three ACL tears in the same knee.
8. LB Justin Houston (Colts)
Justin Houston has had a great career thus far, spending 8 years with the Kansas City Chiefs before signing with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. Houston has been to 4 Pro Bowls and led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014, just a half-sack off the NFL record. He has battled injuries often since then, and hasn’t played a full season since. The Colts have faith he will bounce back, signing him to a 2-year $24 million contract.
7. RB Nick Chubb (Browns)
Nick Chubb missed out on a 1,000-yard season with the Cleveland Browns by just 4 yards, and he’s one of the key centerpieces to the Browns’ resurgence, where they seem to be poised to be playoff bound after two decades of futility since returning to Cleveland. Chubb scored on a 92-yard touchdown run against Atlanta, which was the longest run from scrimmage in Cleveland history.
6. RB Sony Michel (Patriots)
After a great career at Georgia sharing time with Chubb, Michel started to make a name for himself quickly in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl as a rookie with the New England Patriots. During the Patriots’ postseason run, he rushed for 336 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those scores were an NFL rushing record for one postseason.
5. LB Roquan Smith (Bears)
The rookie linebacker for the Chicago Bears made an instant impact last year, and he’s one of the key players on a defense that just might be the best in the NFL. Smith is looking like he will add to the great middle linebacker legacy in Chicago.
4. DT Geno Atkins (Bengals)
Geno Atkins, the 2010 draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, has had a great 9-year career, securing the middle of the line and already recording 71 sacks. Atkins has been a first-team All-Pro twice and has been to 7 Pro Bowls. Considering the Atkins wasn’t drafted until the fourth round — and No. 120 overall — he has far exceeded to draft resume. He’s getting paid well now, too, after signing a 4-year, $65.3 million contract extension last year that’s good through 2022.
3. QB Matthew Stafford (Lions)
Matthew Stafford hasn’t won like he would have liked in the NFL, but he’s still put up prolific numbers during his 10-year career with the Detroit Lions. He was the first overall pick of the Lions, and he has already thrown for 38,526 yards and 237 touchdowns. He has set the bar for total yardage, needing the fewest games to reach 15,000 yards. He also is one of 7 QBs to throw for 5,000 yards in a season. He’s only played in 3 playoffs games in his career though, and that hangs over him.
2. WR A.J. Green (Bengals)
A.J. Green has had a great career with the Bengals after being drafted No. 4 overall in 2011. He had 260 catches in his first 3 seasons — then an NFL record — and went to 7 Pro Bowls in his first 7 season. He has nearly 9,000 yards in receptions in 8 years, and that’s with missing half of last season with an injury.
1. RB Todd Gurley (Rams)
Running back Todd Gurley has turned into one of the most dominant running backs in the NFL during his 4 years with the Los Angeles Rams, culminating in a Super Bowl appearance this season. Gurley was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017, and he’s getting paid now too. He signed a 4-year, $60 million contract extension with the Rams last year, making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.