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APR 27 2017 NFL Draft
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

NFL Draft

Crist | AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year Favorites

  1. Myles Garret – Defensive End, Browns

Four of the last seven winners of the Rookie of the Year award were pass rushers in some form or fashion. Garrett was considered a generational talent as an edge rusher, and look for that to translate to on field production from the day he steps on the field.

With elite athleticism and bend to dominate left tackles, Garrett still sets a strong edge versus the run. He has a chance at double digit sacks, and if he gets that combined with his pre-draft hype he should win the award.

National Scout Jon Ledyard believes 7-8 sacks is his likely number in his rookie season.

(Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)

  1. Zach Cunningham – Linebacker, Texans

Cunningham struggled with missed tackles at Vanderbilt, yet still averaged 9.6 tackles per game. He has the speed to cover sideline to sideline and was drafted into a good situation.

Brian Cushing has struggled with both injuries and his on-field play for multiple seasons now. Expect Cunningham to see a lot of playing time early in what will be a loaded front 7.

The talent in the front 7 will allow Cunningham to to flow freely to the ball without having to consistently take on blocks. He should be in on a ton of tackles and might get over 100 total tackles in his rookie year if he plays in every game.

Cunningham has the ability to cover in both zone and man could lead to him getting interceptions as well; the Texans have a pass rush that will have quarterbacks making a lot of mistakes.

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Eliot Crist

Eliot Crist is a National Scout for NDT Scouting Services. He also works for Pro Football Focus as an analyst. He has experience in draft breakdowns, tendency scouting reports, and player evaluations. Eliot is passionate about breaking down film, showing the good and bad of players explaining what he sees in a player. He frequently appears as a guest analyst on football podcasts.

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