Now that the 2011 NFL Draft is complete, the time has come to provide early predictions for these picks that have little basis in reality. Every year we see early predictions, but it’s even more difficult this year with free agency delayed by the NFL’s lockout of the players. Of course, this won’t stop Mel Kiper from developing his early impact player list.
Mel Kiper went through each of the three days of the draft and provided a list of players he thought could make an impact in their rookie season. For the Oakland Raiders, he included their two cornerbacks, Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa. Kiper’s inclusion of Van Dyke was in his notables section for day two. He simply pointed to Van Dyke as a great athlete who might need to step up if Nnamdi Asomugha leaves the Raiders in free agency.
Kiper focused in more on fourth round pick Chimdi Chekwa, who he thinks has a good shot at getting playing time if he can get past Van Dyke:
The impact: Chekwa is a solid, physical corner and — fittingly — flashed a surprising amount of athleticism at the combine, something the Raiders surely took notice of before they picked him in Round 4. With Nnamdi Asomugha gone next year, Chekwa could fight for immediate playing time.
The hurdle: He’ll have to beat out another rookie, Demarcus Van Dyke, who was taken in Round 3.
Our own James Brady discussed this very battle and thinks Chekwa was the better pick. We’ll see how that training camp battle plays out.