Here are some of the non-rookies and how the 2018 NFL Draft impacts their roles.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos
Keenum signed a two-year deal, but there were some rumblings the Broncos could draft a quarterback and they didn’t. Instead, they added weapons to the offense with wide receiver Courtland Sutton, running back Royce Freeman, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton and tight end Troy Fumagali.
Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers didn’t spend one pick on a running back. The other backs on the current roster are Matt Breida, Joe Williams, Raheem Mostert and Jeremy McNichols. McKinnon is locked in as a solid RB2 unless the 49ers sign a free agent to siphon away some carries. The 49ers helped McKinnon by drafting tackle Mike McGlinchey.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals needed to address the offensive line and they did. They acquired left tackle Cordy Glenn and drafted center Billy Price with their first round pick. Mixon was better towards the end of the season, but he can be better than what he showed and it starts with the improvement to the line.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Not that Martavis Bryant was going to stymie Smith-Schuster, but trading away Bryant to the Raiders paves the way for Smith-Schuster as the No. 2 receiver and an increase in targets. The Steelers did draft James Washington, who should step into Bryant’s role as a deep threat. In the game that Bryant missed last season, Smith-Schuster had 32.3 percent of the targets and caught seven passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. Smith-Schuster will be a WR2.
Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
Abdullah has failed to impress and the Lions drafted Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson in the second round signaling the end for Abdullah. LeGarrette Blount was signed and Theo Riddick is on the roster, too. The Lions have produced the fewest rushing the yards the last three seasons.
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
Things were looking good for Booker when the Broncos released C.J. Anderson. Then the draft came and the Broncos drafted Royce Freeman in the third round and David Williams in the seventh round. Freeman could be the workhorse running back and will compete with Booker for the job. Booker has averaged 3.6 yards per carry in 29 games with the Broncos.
Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
Burkhead will still have value, but expectations have to be lowered with the Patriots drafting Sony Michel in the first round. It’s uncharacteristic for the Patriots to invest that much in a running back. Michel, Burkhead, James White, Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill are on the roster for now. Burkhead still had a solid role with as good as Dion Lewis was last season, but he was touchdown dependent.
Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns
Hyde stayed healthy for an entire season for the first time last year. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns with the 49ers and he caught 59 passes. We knew that wasn’t going to happen again in Cleveland with Duke Johnson there. Then the Browns drafted Nick Chubb 35th overall, making it likely he competes with Hyde.
Samaje Perine / Rob Kelley, Washington Redskins
Perine had a chance to make his mark last season and failed. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry, had ball security issues and struggled in pass protection. The Redskins took advantage of the slide of Derrius Guice and he will be the early down back with Chris Thompson as the pass-catching back.