Some NFL general managers will tell you that it's unfortunate when a team has to give a rookie significant playing time, but that's not always the case. Each year, a fresh batch of rookies enters the league ready to contribute right away. While teams such as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers normally draft players for the future and are reluctant to give rookies starting roles, other teams can have their fortunes change all on the back of game-changing rookies.
Certainly, it's not an enviable position to need to go into the first round and draft a rookie who can start at a position of need. But playmakers can be found all over the draft, and most teams in the league are often faced with big decisions to make when training camp comes around.
It's no different this year. The draft class was strong at the top, with most first-round picks looks like they'll compete for starting spots immediately, in addition to a slew of players who fell out of the first round and represented strong Day 2 or even Day 3 pickups for some teams.
There will be plenty of training camp battles and new-look rosters this offseason after the draft and a number of key free agency moves. We're taking a look at each team and highlighting the most interesting roster spots to pay attention to throughout the remainder of the offseason.
As usual, the Patriots don't need to depend on rookies right away. They're a very complete, deep team and all the rookies drafted by New England will have to battle for playing time, including DT Malcom Brown. Still, there are a few intriguing situations on the depth chart, but they mostly come from free agency with the additions of tight end Scott Chandler and defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard.
Miami will have some decisions to make at the wide receiver position, with Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry and rookie first-round pick DeVante Parker clouding the picture. This was essentially a complete rebuild of the position and it's anybody's guess as to how it shakes out. Jay Ajayi should be able to push Lamar Miller at the running back position as well.
The Bills passed on drafting a quarterback, which means they'll enter training camp with EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel. That will obviously be the most interesting position battle. Coupled with the addition of LeSean McCoy at running back and last year's selection of Sammy Watkins at wide receiver, the Bills are looking pretty set on offense if the quarterback position gets sorted out.
Although Jets OC Chan Gailey already named Geno Smith as the starting quarterback, the team still brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick and drafted Bryce Petty of Baylor in the third round. There will be competition at the position, whether the Jets admit it or not. There will technically be competition for defensive lineman Leonard Williams as well, but as the sixth overall pick -- who was considered the best overall player in the draft by many experts -- he should slot into a starting role.
The Colts have added a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball and feature one of the strongest teams in the league at this point. T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Andre Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Griff Whalen and Duron Carter is a very deep group of wide receivers, and with veteran Frank Gore added to the running game, the Colts are looking solid heading into training camp.
Houston is still searching for its starting quarterback, and hopes that either Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett or Tom Savage can be the guy. The Texans didn't draft a quarterback this year so they feel like that competition will yield something positive. With Andre Johnson now a Colt and an unclear No. 2 wide receiver, the Texans have more than one position to sort out on offense.
Tennessee wound up drafting Marcus Mariota at No. 2 overall, and while some criticized the Titans for not trying to trade the pick for more picks, Mariota will be most likely be the starter going forward. On top of that, they managed to grab two potential starters to help him out on offense: wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi.
The Jaguars had an excellent draft and one of the key positions on the roster is running back. Toby Gerhart was subpar after being a big free agent pickup in 2014, and Denard Robinson picked up the slack. Now the team has T.J. Yeldon, one of the top backs in a strong class, and that position battle should be entertaining to say the least.
The Broncos saw almost half of their offensive line leave the team this offseason. That could be devastating -- Peyton Manning is getting up there in years and probably can't take the same kind of hits he used to. Denver drafted Ty Sambrailo in the second round, traded for Gino Gradkowski and signed Shelley Smith. Will that be enough to keep Manning upright?
Like the Broncos, the Chiefs also have concerns along the offensive line. Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert both departed in free agency in recent years. The Chiefs drafted Mitch Morse, and he could be battling for one of the starting roles, but Eric Fisher should slot nicely into the left tackle role. The wide receiver position should also be getting shake up with Chris Conley joining the fray.
Denzel Perryman is an interesting selection at inside linebacker, considering the team currently has Manti Te'o, a former second-round pick. If they're battling for a starting spot, it should be one of the more intriguing competitions to watch this offseason. But there are also question marks at outside linebacker and in the secondary.
The story has been the same for Oakland for a long, long time: they're a few years away from competing, right? That might not be the case anymore, as the team has added a ton on offense to help quarterback Derek Carr, with two new starting receivers and a stronger offensive line than they've had in a long time. Are the Raiders ready to compete? Things are looking good.
He may have lost a step in recent seasons, but replacing the production of Troy Polamalu is still an incredibly tall order. That's what the Steelers have to do, and the big question is whether or not Shamarko Thomas can do it. With Dick LeBeau leaving, it really is a time of transition for Pittsburgh's defense. In a tough division, that's a huge deal.
The Bengals are playing in a very tough AFC North, and though they had a good offseason in general, they may not get any playing time out of their top rookies. With two starting offensive tackles already set for next season, the Bengals spent first- and second-round picks on offensive tackles. That's great for 2016, but they may not see the field at all as rookies, save for plays in which the Bengals employ extra blockers or in the case of injuries.
Ozzie Newsome always gets strong reviews for his draft classes and it's more of the same this time. Breshad Perriman should be able to be a starter right away, and guys like Carl Davis and Za'Darius Smith are potential starters to fill gaps left by Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee.
The Browns found no less than three starters, and potentially five of them in this year's draft. Most experts agree they had a good haul, and though the selection of Cameron Erving drew some criticism, the Browns plan to try him at each line position before assigning him a spot.
Dallas had one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL a season ago, thanks to the heroics of DeMarco Murray. His running completely changed the offense, but Murray departed in free agency and now the Cowboys need to find a starter. This was the draft to do it given how strong it was at the position, but the Cowboys passed on the opportunity and will instead roll with Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams.
The Philadelphia Eagles have undergone a bigger change than almost any team in the league over the past couple seasons. Head coach Chip Kelly is making this his roster and with a completely rebuilt offense, will the team find success? That likely has a lot to do with whether or not Sam Bradford can actually play a season without succumbing to injuries.
The Giants have had a lot of success in recent history, but that hasn't been the case the past few seasons. But the NFC East isn't the strongest division in football by any means, and if the Giants get the production they need out of rookies Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins, they could rebound in what is expected to be Tom Coughlin's final season as the team's head coach. Unfortunately, a whole lot more is going to be expected of Flowers after Will Beatty's recent injury.
Washington is an organization that could go in so many different directions over the next few seasons. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, despite being benched multiple times by multiple head coaches, will be given another season to try and prove his value as a starter and many of the questions surrounding the team have to do with whether or not he can actually succeed and if Washington can help him succeed.
The Panthers didn't change drastically this offseason, and given the fact that the NFC South was the weakest division in the NFL last season, that's a bad thing. Still, they may have improved the offensive line, and they drafted a very talented player in outside linebacker Shaq Thompson. The problem? The Panthers have to find a place for Thompson to play in his rookie season.
The Atlanta Falcons had the second-worst pass rush in the league a season ago. They've been trying to upgrade it for years, but smart money is on them finally being successful this time around. Atlanta took pass rusher Vic Beasley in the first round, and he should be able to start from Day 1. The running back position was also shaken up with Indiana's Tevin Coleman.
New Orleans made a big move this offseason, trading away the most productive tight end in the NFL, Jimmy Graham, and everyone is wondering who will be the primary pass catcher for quarterback Drew Brees. Marques Colston is 32 years old and Brandin Cooks is still a question mark.
Obviously, Tampa Bay's success going into next season depends on the success of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers used the first pick in the draft on Winston and most think that should turn out well, given that Winston is NFL-ready and fits the team's offense. But how quickly he picks up that offense and how two rookie offensive linemen hold up protecting him are the biggest question marks.
The Seahawks gave a vote of confidence to Lemuel Jeanpierre, Patrick Lewis and C.J. Davis at the center position, as the team neglected to draft a replacement for Max Unger. One position that's consistently underwhelmed for how good a team the Seahawks have been is wide receiver and there should be plenty of competition there with Kevin Norwood, Paul Richardsoon, Ricardo Lockette and Chris Matthews all vying for playing time.
Despite massive issues at the quarterback position, the Cardinals have been surprisingly relevant the past two seasons. It's easy to overlook that they've got a talented roster, but they do have their position battles. They need to figure out who is their starter at running back and at multiple offensive line positions.
After Frank Gore left in free agency, the 49ers are left with an uncertain running back position. Carlos Hyde is the presumed starter and the team added veteran Reggie Bush. There's also Kendall Hunter and intriguing prospect Mike Davis. Given the retirements of inside linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, there's also a lot to consider at that position as well.
The Rams made a good pick by bringing in Todd Gurley, though few expected they'd take a running back that high. The way seems clear from here: Gurley will be the starter there and Nick Foles will be the starting quarterback, though these things will have to play out in training camp first.
The Packers needed to address the inside linebacker position in the draft, but they didn't do so until the third day. There, they took Michigan's Jake Ryan, who should be able to compete for a starting spot as a rookie. Unlock most positions, starter-quality inside linebackers can be had on Day 3 and Ryan should be battling with Carl Bradford and Nate Palmer for one of the spots vacated by A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones.
The Lions have had one of the most productive offenses in the league over the past couple seasons, but they've still been unable to put it all together. A weak running game has been one of the biggest issues, but after taking Laken Tomlinson in the first round and Ameer Abdullah in the second round, the Lions should be able to diversify its offense and help Matthew Stafford out quite a bit.
The NFC North is a tough division to be in, and with guys like Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Alshon Jeffery playing for their rivals, the Vikings desperately needed to upgrade the secondary. They did that by taking Trae Waynes in the first round. They also shook up the linebacker spot with Eric Kendricks and ultimately came away with three potential starters from the draft.
The Bears are transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense this offseason with new head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Chicago brought in rookie defensive tackle Eddie Goldman with a second-round pick and whether or not he can hit the ground running as the starting nose tackle is the biggest question of the offseason. Wide receiver Kevin White should be able to step right into Brandon Marshall's former role.