Projected 2014 All-Rookie team

Carr, Cooks, Shazier among newcomers set to immediately contribute

Updated: September 4, 2014, 11:15 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Derek Carr, Brandin Cooks, and Ryan Shazier USA Today Sports, Getty ImagesDerek Carr, Brandin Cooks and Ryan Shazier all could star for their respective teams this season.

Last year I provided rankings of rookies every couple of weeks during the season. Aside from the fact I can't believe how much time it took me to go through every game with an eye on the rookies specifically, I enjoyed watching the progression of players I spent so much time evaluating during the previous four years. I was asked to kick off this season projecting a possible all-rookie team, by position. So I'll do that, with a couple of things to keep in mind.

• Opportunity can trump talent. I have a bunch of guys here as tops at the position even though I don't consider them better than another player.

• I hit every position here, but I used an extra player or two in spots.

With that said, here you go -- my projected all-rookie team for 2014.


Offense

QB Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Teddy Bridgewater is my pick if all things are equal and every rookie gets to start. But I have to give the edge to Carr because he'll have more reps. I do expect Bridgewater to do well when he gets the chance. I also think Blake Bortles could end up here if he gets the ball soon. Carr has a chance to succeed, but he needs the offensive line to play better than it looks on paper because he can struggle with pressure. I also expect to see Johnny Manziel at some point, but won't completely bet against Brian Hoyer.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst