The new NFL season is almost here and we are just over a week away from the new season getting underway.

The quest will then begin for the 31 teams hoping to supplant the Los Angeles Rams as the next Super Bowl Champions, while the Rams will be hoping to become one of the rare teams that are able to defend a title win successfully the following year.

Currently, bet365 has the Buffalo Bills as the 6/1 favourites to win the Super Bowl this year, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 7/1 chance followed by the Chiefs at 10/1 and the Rams at 11/1.

However, if you’ve recently signed up with your bet365 bonus code and claimed the welcome offer and are looking for some solid longer odds or each way bets to back, you could consider the Green Bay Packers (12/1), Denver Broncos or San Francisco 49ers (both 15/1) or my particular favourites for an each way bet, the Los Angeles Chargers at 14/1.

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While many players will be returning for another season of NFL action, for a significant number, it will be their first season as a professional footballer as this year’s class of rookies from the NFL Draft will hope to make a name for themselves in the pro game.

Of course, the NFL Draft isn’t an exact science, and there is every chance that a player picked on the second or even the third day could surprise many and become one of the stand out rookies of the year.

However, many experts tend to focus on the picks at the top of the draft which includes this years first three picks off the board Travon Walker (DE), Aidan Hutchinson (DE) and Derek Stingley Jr. (CB) who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans respectively.

So, who out of the 262 players drafted this past April will make a name for themselves in the NFL this season? Here’s our top ten list of 2022 Draft Rookies to watch out for to make a name for themselves this season.

  1. Aidan Hutchinson (DE) – Detroit Lions

For me, Hutchinson was the most NFL-ready player in the draft this year and having moved to his home town Lions, he will have plenty of support to make an impact as an Edge Rusher for the Lions.

Detroit have long been something of a standing joke in the NFL given their poor performances, but Hutchison’s arrival and some changes made to personnel has the future looking brighter in motor city and that should be evident this season.

In a division that is not overstacked with great offensive line players, I expect Hutchison to cause huge problems in the backfield and I think he is the most likely rookie of the year recipient this year.

  • Sauce Gardner (CB) – New York Jets

Last year, the Jets pass defence was, for want of a better word, abysmal. Sauce Gardner offers them a huge upgrade at corner and while teams will still seek to pass on the Jets, I think that means Gardner could well be in for a big rookie year.

It may well be the case that Sauce has to play well. The Jets are still very much the underdogs in what is not a particularly strong AFC East but I think Robert Saleh can use this to galvanise the team to improve on last season.

Key to that will be stopping the pass and if Sauce can snag a few interceptions, as well as knockdowns, he should be a huge and instant upgrade for the Jets in the secondary.

  • Chris Olave (WR) – New Orleans Saints

With Jameis Winston back and throwing bombs, plus Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry on the team, Olave may well be used in certain situations in New Orleans, but I think that will mean when he is on the field, he is fresh and ready to make a big impact on the game.

With teams having to respect the Saints rushing attack with Alvin Kamara in the backfield, I can see the Saints using a lot of three-receiver sets, occasionally as a decoy, but I also feel the game plan will see the Saints try to stretch the field and Olave is a great option for this.

I can see Olave having a big year in the NFC South for the Saints and it would not surprise me to see him as the highest scoring rookie WR of the season.

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  • Jahan Dotson (WR) – Washington Commanders

With Terry McLaurin secured, the Commanders will be hoping Dotson will provide a great option for them at WR2 and I think Dotson has landed in a perfect position to make the most of his talents on a team that needs to make strides after a number of poor years.

A change of name notwithstanding, there’s also been a change of culture in Washington after many years of scandals and Dotson, along with McLaurin, could be two of the star players along with defensive players like Chase Young, to lead the Commanders into a new era.

With McLaurin likely to attract most of the double teams, I expect Dotson to become a well-used target in the Commanders offense this season.

  • Kaiir Elam (CB) – Buffalo Bills

Perhaps an unusual pick, but I think Elam will shine for the Bills simply because when he is on the field, I expect teams to feel that he is the weak link in what is a stacked Bills defence.

That may well be a mistake as he was one of the best corners in the draft and given he will likely have the support of a safety, I can see Elam probably having one of the best seasons of a defensive player in the NFL this season.

I’m not quite sure Elam is a shutdown corner in the NFL yet, but he has the talent to become one and on this Bills roster, he should get plenty of opportunity to showcase his talents this season.

  • Travon Walker (DE) – Jacksonville Jaguars

As first pick, much will be expected of Walker and I do feel he will be a strong option for the Jaguars on the edge. He certainly has the physical attributes to cause mayhem in the backfield for the Jags opponents this season.

The problem I have with Walker is that the Jaguars still have so many needs in other areas of the team that even if he shines on defense, I can’t see the Jags winning enough games to bring him into the equation for rookie of the year.

Walker will come good, and in a couple of years, he will be a beast, but he may have to endure a few growing pains this season with the Jags.

  • Malik Willis (QB) – Tennessee Titans

Perhaps the most intriguing of all the players in this list. Willis was a projected first rounder who fell to the middle of the third round before the Titans drafted him. However, after a very impressive pre-season, that is starting to look like an inspired pick.

Willis has shown some inconsistencies with his passing, and has made some bad decisions, but nothing to suggest the Titans have erred with this pick. In fact, Willis athleticism, speed and huge arm have already shown Titans fans that they may have found a potential franchise quarterback to eventually take over the reins.

I think Mike Vrabel will want Willis to sit and learn for most of this season, using him in certain situations only, but if Ryan Tannehill doesn’t produce his best form, then Titans fans will be clamouring for Willis to be given a chance sooner rather than later.

  • Kenny Pickett (QB) – Pittsburgh Steelers

At the moment, Mitchell Trubisky is the incumbent quarterback in Pittsburgh taking over from Big Ben. Having fought off a challenge from Mason Rudolph, Trubisky’s next battle will be against the Steelers first round pick, quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Many Steelers fans are already hopeful that the hometown draft pick will get his chance sooner rather than later as the Steelers new look offense takes shape. He may have to wait a few weeks, but if Trubisky has his struggles, then I can see Pickett taking over by the sixth or seventh game of the season.

As the top QB taken in the draft, Pickett will be expected to lead the Steelers for many years to come and he will have plenty of support in the stands wishing him well if he does get a chance to shine.

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE) – New York Giants

After frightening Giants fans after suffering a pre-season injury against the Bengals, due to a cut block tackle that sprained his MCL, Kayvon Thibodeaux should be out for just three weeks, rather than the entire season as it looked at one point after the play had concluded.

That may put Thibodeaux’s impact back a month or two though but once fully healthy, I expect the third top quality defensive end to go in the top five of the draft this summer to start producing solid numbers for the Giants.

He’s a little rough and ready, but he has shown in pre-season and practice that when he gets it right, he is a nightmare for offensive linemen to handle and he should start to make a real impact for the Giants from the midway point of the season onwards.

  1. Desmond Ridder (QB) – Atlanta Falcons

At the moment, Desmond Ridder is the defacto number 2 quarterback in Atlanta behind Marcus Mariota, but after some strong showings in pre-season games, the feeling in Atalanta seems to be that if Mariota doesn’t hit the ground running and start putting some points on the board, Ridder may be asked to come in sooner rather than later.

During the pre-season, Ridder has looked generally poised in the pocket and also athletic when rolling out to complete passes for the Falcons. His accuracy has generally been good and while there have been one or two duff plays, he has generally been solid.

Mariota will start the season, but if the Falcons struggle and the QB is part of that, then expect the clamour for Ridder to come in to grow, and if he does get a chance, I have a feeling he will take it.