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NFC NORTH: Rookie impact on each team

The 2017 class of rookies in the NFC North have now had seven weeks to settle into a role with their respective teams, and we're starting to see the kind of impact they can have.

This week's NFC North column takes a look at the impact this rookie class has had on the division so far in 2017.


Record: 5-2

Draft picks:

Rd 2, Pick 41: Dalvin Cook, RB

Rd 3, Pick 70: Pat Elflein, C

Rd 4, Pick 109: Jaleel Johnson, DT

Rd 4, Pick 120: Ben Gedeon, LB

Rd 5, Pick 170: Rodney Adams, WR

Rd 5, Pick 180: Danny Isidora, G

Rd 6, Pick 201: Bucky Hodges, TE

Rd 7, Pick 219: Stacy Coley, WR

Rd 7, Pick 220: Ifeadi Odenigbo, DL

Rd 7, Pick 232: Elijah Lee, LB

Rd 7, Pick 245: Jack Tocho, CB

Instant impact: Dalvin Cook was everything the Vikings thought he'd be until a torn ACL suffered Week 4 vs. Detroit ended his rookie season prematurely. At the time of his injury, Cook was the second-leading rusher in the NFL with 354 yards.

Cook also proved to be a dangerous dual threat out of the backfield, something Minnesota hasn't had in some time. His loss was a big one for the Vikings' offense.

Showing signs of life: Fourth-round pick Ben Gedeon is the only rookie starter on one of the best defenses in the league. He's started five games now at weak-side linebacker, and has 15 tackles.

Not as impactful as expected: Jaleel Johnson started out playing more nose tackle when he first got to Minnesota after the team selected him in the fourth round, but he was moved to the three-technique in training camp. The Vikings like him better there, but he's not making much of an impact early on. He didn't get into the game last week, and has played in just two games with one tackle. The Vikings do have an experienced and veteran defensive line, so it was always going to be tough for Johnson to find a lot of reps.


Record: 4-2

Draft picks:

Rd 2, Pick 33: Kevin King, CB

Rd 2, Pick 61: Josh Jones, S

Rd 3, Pick 93: Montravius Adams, DT

Rd 4, Pick 108: Vince Biegel, LB

Rd 5, Pick 175: DeAngelo Yancey, WR

Rd 5, Pick 182: Aaron Jones, RB

Rd 6, Pick 212: Kofi Amichia, C

Rd 7, Pick 238: Devante Mays, RB

Rd 7, Pick 247: Malachi Dupre, WR

Instant impact: Josh Jones has been used by the Packers a lot like Miles Killebrew was in Detroit as a rookie. He's been a Swiss Army Knife that's filled a lot of roles in Dom Capers' defense. Jones has started just one game, but he's fourth on the team in tackles (28) and has also recorded a couple sacks and defended a pass.

Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett give the Packers a nice trio of safeties they like to put into the game together in certain packages.

Showing signs of life: Aaron Jones has quickly taken over the reins of Green Bay's run game as the featured back over Ty Montgomery. He had 125 rushing yards vs. Dallas Week 5, and another 131 yards last week vs. New Orleans. He leads the Packers in attempts (62), yards (346) and touchdowns (3).

Not as impactful as expected: Montravius Adams has struggled to find a role along Green Bay's defensive front. He's been active on gameday just once this season (Week 3). He played just four snaps on defense in that game and didn't record a statistic.


Record: 3-3

Draft picks:

Rd 1, Pick 21: Jarrad Davis, LB

Rd 2, Pick 53: Teez Tabor, CB

Rd 3, Pick 96: Kenny Golladay, WR

Rd 4, Pick 124: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB

Rd 4, Pick 127: Michael Roberts, TE

Rd 5, Pick 165: Jamal Agnew, CB/KR

Rd 6, Pick 205: Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT

Rd 6, Pick 215: Brad Kaaya, QB

Rd 7, Pick 250: Pat O'Connor, DE

Instant impact: Jarrad Davis certainly fits here, but fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew has really stormed onto the scene as a kick returner. Agnew leads the NFL with a punt-return average of 23.7 yards. He's already returned two punts for touchdowns, becoming just the fifth player in team history to record at least two return touchdowns in a single season.

Showing signs of life: Kenny Golladay got off to a hot start – two touchdowns in a Week 1 win over Arizona – but has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. Golladay's been doing more and more at the open portion of practice recently, and barring a setback, could return to the field this week vs. Pittsburgh. He's a deep threat and a red zone weapon, and the Lions will need both Sunday night against the Steelers' No. 1-ranked pass defense.

Not as impactful as expected: Playing cornerback in the NFL is no easy task, especially as a rookie. Just ask Darius Slay. Tabor has been inactive for most of the season, which speaks to Detroit's depth at the position. The Lions are taking it slow with Tabor and teaching him up, which is why he hasn't had much of an impact yet.


Record: 3-4

Draft picks:

Rd 1, Pick 2: Mitch Trubisky, QB

Rd 2, Pick 45: Adam Shaheen, TE

Rd 4, Pick 112: Eddie Jackson, S

Rd 4, Pick 119: Tarik Cohen, RB

Rd 5, Pick 147: Jordan Morgan, G

Instant impact: What a find Tarik Cohen has been in the fifth round. He's a terrific dual-threat complement to Jordan Howard in Chicago's backfield. He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and leads the Bears with 27 receptions. He also returns punts (8.5 average) and kickoffs (20.3).

Showing signs of life: Eddie Jackson almost single-handedly defeated Carolina last week with a long interception return touchdown and fumble return touchdown in Chicago's 17-3 victory. Jackson has started all seven of Chicago's games, and is fifth on the team with 27 tackles.  

Not as impactful as expected: Adam Shaheen has played in all seven of Chicago's games (three starts), but has caught just one pass for a two-yard touchdown. The Bears don't target anyone except Cohen a lot in their passing game, but Chicago was probably expecting more than one catch from their second-round pick through the first seven games.

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