One can never tell from year to year how many, if any, of the draft picks will contribute as rookies. It’s logical to expect the first-round draft pick(s) to contribute the most, the second-round pick to contribute a little more and so on down the line. But circumstances, the natural progression of careers and the hit-or-miss nature of the draft changes things quickly, making a Day 3 pick look better than a Day 2 or even a Day 1 pick.
Last year, Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater lived up to their first-round status. Barr was a starter from Day 1. Bridgewater would have been ready to start Week 1 of the preseason if Matt Cassel’s steady play hadn’t permitted the team to take a more cautious approach at a more fragile position.
This year, it appears that at least the top six picks — Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, T.J. Clemmings, MyCole Pruitt and Stefon Diggs — will contribute in some way or the other. The starting right tackle job is Clemmings to lose. Waynes and Kendricks are competing for key spots in the nickel defense and will be starters by next year at the latest. Hunter, Pruitt and Diggs will have smaller roles and boost the special teams.
Don’t count out the other draft picks — Tyrus Thompson, B.J. Dubose, Austin Shepherd and Edmond Robinson — either.
As we all know, Waynes has struggled in two preseason games. He was flagged three times in the Hall of Fame game and had a hand in allowing a 40-yard completion against the Bucs last Saturday.
Patience — something rarely discovered on Twitter — has been a preaching point for the coaching staff when it comes to their new corner.
“We think he’s right on course,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “Everybody is looking for an immediate impact out of him, but … there are a lot of different things that go mentally with the corner position other than just lining up and playing man coverage on a guy.
“So the adjustment from pro to college, the different rules, how far you can put your hands on him down the field, all those different things weigh into the equation. So where he’s at right now, we’re just going to keep building through the preseason and look to continue to get better. I think he went out the first game and learned something; I think he went out this past week, he learned something. As long as he keeps learning and keeps competing to get better, we think he’s right where we need him to be.”