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As Rookies Arrive, How To Rank Potential Impact

A power list of who might start, beginning (of course) with MHJ

The rookies arrive at the Dignity Health Training Center for the first time Thursday. (OK, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Darius Robinson have been here already, but you get the idea.)

The 12 draft picks, three undrafted rookies and a handful of tryout players will take physicals, meet the coaches, and then Friday have their first "practice" -- although it isn't expected to be much beyond a light intro to what is to come and much different than the rookie minicamps I covered a decade ago.

The draft has garnered much praise, although again, there is no way to really know what the Cardinals got with their picks or truly analyze it until at least a couple of seasons have passed. Yet with where the lineup is right now and the needs that could develop, this time before the rookies first get on the grass seems like a great time to speculate. So I shall.

Looking at the class, I have my personal power ranking of the top five rookies that have the best chance to end up in the starting lineup this season. Doesn't mean they will, and this isn't to say they are the starters Week 1. But it's a educated guess kind of thing. Remember this is an exhibition and not a competition, so please -- no wagering.

  1. WR Marvin Harrison Jr.
  2. CB Max Melton
  3. DL Darius Robinson
  4. G Isaiah Adams
  5. TE Tip Reiman

Harrison is a given. Ultra-talented, and you don't spend the No. 4 pick on a non-QB and have them not play immediately. While Robinson is a first-rounder, I think Melton from the second round has a chance to start sooner because of need; cornerback remains a question mark and with the two veterans the Cardinals added on the defensive line plus a couple of holdovers, Robinson to me will have a steeper hill to climb right away atop the depth chart.

Adams might have the most straight shot to a starting job, so maybe No. 4 is too low. The Cardinals do need to figure out what they are doing at left guard, and perhaps heading into training camp Adams will find his way to the first string. I wouldn't rule it out. But as a third-rounder, I'm still going to hesitate to put him in my top three until some stuff on the field happens first.

Finally I have tight end Tip Reiman slightly ahead of Rabbit, aka safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson. Reiman brings a specific skillset -- in-line blocking -- to an offense that figures to use it in two tight-end sets with Trey McBride. That feels more likely right away than Rabbit, who seems to have caught the attention of a lot of pundits as a sleeper for playing time. I am curious to know how this secondary plays out; does Garrett Williams stay in the nickel between Sean Murphy-Bunting and Melton? Does Williams move outside and give Rabbit an opportunity? It's all possible. (Rabbit will be a factor on special teams from jump, regardless of his role on defense).

A long way to determine how it actually plays out.

G Isaiah Adams
G Isaiah Adams