Impactful NFL rookies can be difference makers for teams, as witnessed in 2020 when Bucs rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. helped the team to a Super Bowl. These 25 rookies could make a big impact in 2021.
1 of 25
Tutu Atwell, WR, Rams
Winslow Townson / USA Today Sports Images
The Rams allowed Josh Reynolds to walk in free agency, and Atwell could step in as the team's No. 3 wide receiver in his rookie season. The speedster out of Louisville also has a chance to contribute in special teams.
The Ravens desperately need wideout help, and found it with Bateman in the first round. He will battle Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins for snaps, potentially giving Lamar Jackson a formidable set of weapons.
The Jets waited until the fourth round to select Carter, but he could still start for the team in Week 1. He had back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons at North Carolina and enters a relatively thin backfield.
4 of 25
Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Bengals
Sam Greene / USA Today Sports Images
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, and is set to effectively replace A.J. Green at wideout for Cincinnati. A superstar at LSU, he already has experience catching passes from Joe Burrow, which could make the NFL transition easier.
Etienne was a surprise pick by Jacksonville after James Robinson's rookie breakout season last year. The team is expected to use the speedy back as a wideout, as well as at running back, as they look to manufacture offense.
Fields fell to the Bears with the 11th overall pick after a great career at Ohio State. While head coach Matt Nagy has insisted Andy Dalton is the Week 1 starter, it would be a shock to many if Fields isn't starting to begin the year.
8 of 25
RIchie Grant, S, Falcons
Dale Zanine / USA Today Sports Images
The secondary has been one of Atlanta's many defensive issues recently, and they let long-time safety Keanu Neal go elsewhere in the offseason. Grant could add a spark after being selected in the second round out of UCF.
Jones fell to the Patriots in the first round of the draft, but has already impressed in OTAs. With Cam Newton suffering a minor injury already, Jones has an opportunity to step in as the starter sooner than later.
Lance is seen as a long-term project behind Jimmy Garoppolo, but the future could be soon if the oft-injured Garoppolo doesn't rebound early in the year. Kyle Shanahan seemed enamored with Lance's athletic ability at the draft.
Lawrence is considered one of the best quarterback prospects in years, and had the college production at Clemson to back it up. There could be growing pains, especially on a bad Jaguars team, but Lawrence is expected to start in Week 1.
14 of 25
Terrace Marshall, WR, Panthers
Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today Sports Images
The Panthers lost star wideout Curtis Samuel in the offseason, but are hoping Marshall can lighten the blow. The rookie out of LSU put up big numbers in college but also has big shoes to fill.
Moore is a speedy wideout how joins a revamped wide receiver corps that also added Corey Davis in the offseason. There will likely be hiccups, especially with fellow rookie Zach Wilson at quarterback, but Moore should get his fair share of opportunities on the young Jets.
Pitts is considered a generational prospect at tight end, and is set for a big role in Atlanta after the team traded Julio Jones. He could effectively be Matt Ryan's No. 2 receiver immediately behind Calvin Ridley.
Toney joins a very talented wide receiver group in New York, and is unlikely to accumulate big receiving numbers immediately. However, he's a playmaker with the ball in his hands, and the Giants are likely to find ways to get their first-round pick the ball.
The speedy Waddle will need to fight for playing time with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller ahead of him, but he has plenty of deep speed and experience playing with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. If he proves healthy after last year's ankle injury, he has a huge rookie ceiling.
Williams is set to join a running back committee with Melvin Gordon after a strong career at North Carolina. He has a chance to unseat Gordon as the starter if he impresses early.
25 of 25
Zach Wilson, QB, Jets
New York Jets / USA Today Sports Images
Wilson will almost certainly start for the Jets in Week 1, giving fans hope after Sam Darnold failed to develop in New York. The organization has added more talent around him to make for an exciting first season.
Seth Trachtman is a fantasy sports expert and diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan still hoping for a Super Bowl win during his lifetime. He doesn't often Tweet, but when he does, you can find him on Twitter @sethroto.