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NFL Rookies to Watch in Training Camp

Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota

As the NFL readies for the start of training camps this week, the 2015 rookies will surely be the center of focus for many. Take a look at some of the most important first-round picks to watch during camp and the upcoming season (listed in draft order):

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Related: 2015 NFL Training Camp Dates and Locations

Jameis Winston (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 1)

Winston has the perhaps most pressure out of any of the rookies this year to perform at the highest level. But at the same time, he might have some of the NFL's best weapons. With receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Winston has the potential to shine right away. Off-the-field issues seem to be a thing of the past now, and after two great college seasons, he already looks pro-ready. The Buccaneers desperately need him to be special. He was the No. 1 overall pick after all.

Marcus Mariota (QB, Tennessee Titans, No. 2 overall)

Coming from the high-paced Oregon offense, Mariota definitely has some adjustments to make in his transition to the NFL. Both the Titans and Mariota will have to get on the same page as to what is most comfortable for him and what works best for the team. He’s not the NFL prototypical pocket passer, but he is a playmaker, winner and true leader. There is no doubt that he will garner plenty of respect, but how long will it take him to get to his full potential. It also wouldn't hurt if Mariota and the Tians could finally put the finishing touches on his contract either.

Brandon Scherff (OT, Washington Redskins, No. 5)

The Redskins allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL last season, and much of that came about due to the inconsistent play at right tackle. They went through two starters during the year and are now hoping that Scherff can be the long-term answer. However, the former Iowa standout is making a move from left tackle to the right side, where he had some struggles during minicamp. This shift will take some time, but the Redskins will need him to be fairly settled in by Week 1.

Leonard Williams (DE, New York Jets, No. 6)

The Jets seemed to have a lot of depth at defensive end, but since Sheldon Richardson is suspended for four games, Williams could see plenty of snaps early on. So far, he has received early praise from fellow players and coaches. His playing time during the season will be interesting to watch, considering the Jets have one of the league’s best defensive lines. Williams will have plenty of time to learn and develop from some of the best defenders.

Kevin White (WR, Chicago Bears, No. 7)

Replacing Brandon Marshall will be no easy task for the Bears, but White provides both great size and speed at receiver. With Alshon Jeffery as Jay Cutler’s primary target, White should give the Bears another legitimate pass-catching threat and the potential to form one of the league’s best wide receiver duos this year. However, White suffered an injury at minicamp, so that should be something to keep an eye on when camp opens.

Todd Gurley (RB, St. Louis Rams, No. 10)

It’s been about eight months since Gurley tore his ACL, ending his junior season at Georgia after just six games. Gurley said he was aiming for a return by training camp, so the wonder is when he will be back, and how much will his surgically repaired knee limit him. The Rams have depth at running back, starting with Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham. They don’t need to rush Gurley back, but he is expected to play a big role in St. Louis' backfield this season.

Danny Shelton (DT, Cleveland Browns, No. 12)

After allowing a league-worst 141.6 yards rushing per game, the Browns drafted Shelton to make an immediate impact up the middle. Cleveland's defense needs to be stout all around, especially with plenty of concerns on offense. The Browns seem solid on the back end of their defense, so the hope is that Shelton can be a strong presence right away to boost the front line.

Marcus Peters (CB, Kansas City Chiefs, No. 18)

Immaturity got him kicked off the team at the University of Washington early last season, but his impressive play in the two prior years was enough to make Peters a first-round pick. But a year removed from football only creates wonder if there might be any rust. Yet, if he can play up to the talent he showed in college, the Chiefs will have gotten great value. The Chiefs were ranked second in the NFL against the pass last season, so there doesn't figure to be a lot of pressure on Peters for him to perform right away.

Bud Dupree (LB, Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 22)

For the third straight year, the Steelers took a linebacker in the first round of the draft. However, they hope they get more out of Dupree this year than their previous two picks (Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier), who have each dealt with injuries. On top of this, Dupree will be replacing Jason Worilds, one of the strengths of Pittsburgh's defense the last two seasons who retired unexpectedly. So not only will Dupree have to try and fill some pretty big shoes, he also must handle the pressure of being a high pick at a position that hasn't produced the best results in recent seasons.

Breshad Perriman (WR, Baltimore Ravens, No. 26)

After Torrey Smith left in free agency, the Ravens drafted Perriman to fill the void as the team’s deep threat receiver. Much like Smith early on, questions about Perriman’s hands have come up, as drops were certainly a problem in college. He has acknowledged this issue, and the team is focusing on fixing it. If the Ravens want to be successful on offense under first-year offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, they will need Perriman to live up to his draft status sooner rather than later.