The NFL season is still a few months away but as training camp nears, many discussions are about this year's rookie class. How do they fit in? How much can they help?
The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race could be a fun one. Let's take a look a the top candidates:
Leonard Fournette, RB — Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon remain but Fournette, the No. 4 overall pick, is a different animal and is going to get the bulk of carries. If the Jaguars' O-line holds up better than recent years, Fournette could be the easy choice for offensive rookie of the year.
Mike Williams, WR — Los Angeles Chargers
Williams jumps right into a strong QB situation with Philip Rivers and could become one of the veteran signal-caller's favorite targets early in camp. Williams is a big-play threat down the field and his size should serve him well in the red zone.
Rivers has other options in tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry and wide receiver Keenan Allen, but Gates is aging, Allen hasn't been able to stay healthy and Williams is special.
John Ross, WR — Cincinnati Bengals
Like Williams, Ross jumps into a situation with a proven quarterback and the fastest man in NFL combine history gets to play opposite A.J. Green. Ross is a deep threat, which could lead to enough big plays and touchdowns for Ross to make a run at the award.
Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR — Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey may be one of the few favorites, depending on how Carolina decides to use him. But McCaffrey can run, catch and return and if he makes a mark in all three phases he may be the favorite.
O.J. Howard, TE — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Howard joins a growing offense with Mike Evans on the outside and DeSean Jackson as a deep threat. With a quality running game to support the air attach, Howard should be able to operate in the middle of the field, and he's a nightmare one-on-one with a linebacker or safety.
Corey Davis, WR — Tennessee Titans
Davis belongs here, but considering the Titans' offensive makeup — run first (third-most in the NFL), developing QB and now an added target in free-agent pickup Eric Decker to go with tight end Delanie Walker — he may be the third target to start the year. He's talented enough to change all that, however. Stay tuned.
Curtis Samuel, WR — Carolina Panthers
Samuel isn't that different from McCaffrey and the duo's presence on the same offense may cancel out their chances, somewhat. Samuel, too, is a candidate to return punts and/or kicks, and while technically that's special teams and not offense, voters will link the two.
Dalvin Cook, RB — Minnesota Vikings
Yes, the Viking signed Latvaius Murray over the offseason but Cook was not drafted to sit on the sideline and wait. He's multi-talented out of the backfield, offering big-play ability as a runner and receiver.
Garett Bolles, OT — Denver Broncos
Linemen don't win this award but Bolles is set to start from Day 1 and could garner a lot of attention if the Broncos offense improves as dramatically as the team believe sit can — no matter who the quarterback is come September.
Alvin Kamara, RB — New Orleans Saints
Kamara starts camp behind veterans Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson but he brings a few different elements to the table. For one, he's the better receiver of the trio and he offers a change of pace; he's shifty with a burst of speed at 5-foot-10 and just under 200 pounds.
Joe Williams, RB — San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are dedicated to improving their running game — starting up front — but Calros Hyde, as gifted as he is, has not been able to stay healthy and that could open the door for Williams. The team isn't going to win a lot, but he could be a surprise star under Kyle Shanahan.
Mitch Trubisky, QB — Chicago Bears
Of course, Trubisky will have to earn playing time from free-agent signing Mike Glennon, but quarterbacks have an inherent advantage in awards voting so even if he plays just 10-12 games he still may have a shot, particularly if he leads the Bears into playoff contention. It's a lot to ask, but the opportunity may be there for the No. 2 overall pick.