The New England Patriots have added significant depth to their team over the last few days: The team drafted a total of nine players and is also expected to bring up to an additional 10 in on unrestricted free agency deals. There will be plenty of competition over the upcoming weeks and months for roles on the team, but of course not all 19 men will be able to make the Patriots' 53-man roster and have the same impact on the team.
In fact, there is a real chance that only a handful of players will actually have any kind of impact this upcoming season. After all, New England's roster is set at the top at pretty much all positions with mostly only depth spots up for grab. The best example for this is linebacker, where Dont'a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy are the top two options. This, in turn, leaves rookies Ja'Whaun Bentley and Christian Sam fighting for backup spots.
The same goes for other rookies, whose impact barring any injuries to the starting options will mostly come in rotational roles and in the kicking game – if at all. There are, however, a few exceptions, namely the three highest-drafted players on the team: Offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, running back Sony Michel and cornerback Duke Dawson should all be at or near the top of the depth chart at their respective positions.
Of those three, the players projected to have the biggest impact are Wynn and Michel. While Dawson will see regular snaps as the Patriots' fourth or fifth cornerback, the two Georgia Bulldogs are expected to slide right into the starting lineups: Wynn has as good a chance as anyone to earn the starting left tackle spot formerly occupied by Nate Solder, while Michel could do the same at Dion Lewis' old running back position.
If both of those things happened, Wynn will naturally see more playing time as starting offensive linemen rarely ever leave the field. Michel, meanwhile, might have a profound impact on the Patriots' ground game as a physical runner that also fares well as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and a pass protector. All in all, the two youngsters should play big roles in year one.
If you had to choose one player, though, who should it be? Who will have the biggest year-one impact of New England's rookie class?
Which Patriots rookie will have the biggest impact in year one?
This poll is closed
OL Isaiah Wynn
RB Sony Michel
Other (name in comments)