NFL training camp 2018: Five under-the-radar rookies to watch
NFL teams are preparing to ramp up their preparations for the new season as all 32 teams get set to start training camp.
There will be plenty of rookies looking to make an early impression but, while the merits of each first-round selection have been discussed at length, there are always some less heralded first-year players who cause a stir in every NFL season.
Third-round pick Alvin Kamara lit up the league last season with the New Orleans Saints, and here we look at some candidates to do the same from the 2018 class.
Five under-the-radar rookies for 2018
1. Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Round 2, Pick 6): Jones joins a Buccaneers team whose leading returning rusher had under 400 yards in 2017. He will absolutely make an impact from day one and Tampa Bay can consider themselves fortunate to get him in the second round, with Jones viewed by many as a potential first-rounder. Jones is the quintessential modern-day running back, possessing the ability to run between the tackles and split out wide and run a crisp route. Think Reggie Bush without the notoriety.
2. Maurice Hurst, DT, Oakland Raiders (Round 5, Pick 3): Former Michigan defensive lineman Hurst was seen as high-round talent throughout the scouting process. However, a heart issue showed up in the weeks leading up to the draft and he tumbled down the board because of it. It's a similar situation to what 2013 Carolina Panthers draft pick Star Lotulelei went through, but he still managed to carve out a nice career in the NFL. If Hurst can play like he did in college, he will undoubtedly be an impact player on a Raiders defense that ranked 23rd in total yards allowed in 2017.
3. Jordan Lasley, WR, Baltimore Ravens (Round 5, Pick 25): Lasley was Josh Rosen's favourite target throughout his college career at UCLA and racked up seven 100-yard games, including two 200-yard efforts, in 2017 despite missing four encounters. Lasley is big with very good hands and should prove a reliable target for Joe Flacco this year and eventually for Lamar Jackson, providing he stays on the field.
Go go, @rojo. #GoBucs pic.twitter.com/Q3NRFjenNH
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) July 2, 2018
4. John Kelly, RB, Los Angeles Rams (Round 6, Pick 2): Kelly was Tennessee's undisputed best player in a lost 2017 season and should have a chance to impress as Todd Gurley's backup right off the bat. A violent runner with legs the size of tree trunks, Kelly excelled last season despite a lack of surrounding talent or a capable quarterback. He will have neither of those issues in LA.
5. Bo Scarbrough, RB, Dallas Cowboys (Round 7, Pick 18): When Scarbrough is healthy and at his best, he's a fantastic, hulking back with speed disproportionate to the evolution of man. The former Alabama runner has all the ability to be a final-round steal for the Cowboys and could help keep starter Ezekiel Elliot fresh as they bid to bounce back from a disappointing 2017.