Early-impact rookies: Rounds 2-3

Marqise Lee, Carlos Hyde among Day 2 players who should contribute early

Updated: May 13, 2014, 2:14 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Marqise Lee, Carlos HydeGetty ImagesMarqise Lee and Carlos Hyde were elite college players who went in Round 2 of the 2014 NFL draft.

When we started Round 2 of the draft Friday, I noted on Twitter that I saw about 18 players still available who could have gone in Round 1 and it wouldn't have been a surprise. And last year we saw plenty of impact from players taken on the second night of the draft.

Consider:

• Only four players from Round 2 played in fewer than double-digit games, and injuries played a role in a couple of cases. Tank Carradine, in one case, was drafted with the expectation he'd sit out the year.
• The Round 2 running backs played big roles. Eddie Lacy had nearly 1,200 rushing yards; Giovani Bernard gained nearly 1,200 all-purpose yards; and Le'Veon Bell came on late once healthy.
• Round 3 gave us the likes of Keenan Allen, who battled Lacy for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Larry Warford, who was easily playing at a Pro Bowl level at guard in Detroit.

It's possible these two rounds will provide the combined impact of Round 1 because the drafting philosophy in these rounds is similar: Get players you believe can start and make an impact. Let's take a look at possibilities from this class.

Remember: For this, immediate fit is most important.

More Kiper NFL draft content:

Draft Grades | Impact players: Round 1 | Rounds 2 and 3


Offense

Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars quarterbacks had a league-worst 45.4 Total QBR targeting wide receivers last year. Don't assume these two will be effective because they'll be catching passes from rookie QB Blake Bortles. I'd bet they're impactful because Chad Henne is getting them the ball. Although I wouldn't expect big numbers, what you can expect is that, on a depth chart that includes Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders as the top options before the draft, these guys will both challenge to start early.

Joel Bitonio, OT/G, Cleveland Browns

It's not an accident that Cleveland went with Bitonio here even while WR was a clear need. Not only could he slide in at left guard and form what would be a fantastic left side next to Joe Thomas but the Browns also have some questions on the right side. Versatile Bitonio also could end up at right tackle or guard. The bottom line:

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst