2014 NFL preview: 5 rookies to watch

Brandin Cooks, Saints

The hype is real ... we think. Cooks has looked good from the first day of camp and hasn’t slowed down. The expectations might be too high — NFL Network recently predicted a 1,000-yard season — but the Saints receiver should pick up plenty of yards.

Sammy Watkins, Bills

Watkins was an incredible receiver at Clemson. He hasn’t looked that way in preseason games, but he might need some time to settle into a new offense before he starts lighting it up. The belief here is that he will get to that point.

Jadeveon Clowney, Texans

The top pick in the draft is a special talent who should prove worthy of all the hype he generated while at South Carolina. Playing in a defense with J.J. Watt, the rookie pass rusher should have plenty of opportunities to make plays.

Johnny Manziel, Browns

It’s possible that Brian Hoyer wins the starting job and never gives it up. It’s possible that Manziel takes the job and becomes the most exciting player in the NFL. It’s also possible Manziel fails miserably. However it plays out, it will be fascinating to watch.

Ryan Shazier, Steelers

The linebacker put up big numbers at Ohio State, with 143 tackles and six sacks during his final season. That shouldn’t change much in Pittsburgh. The Steelers get the most out of their linebackers, which should help Shazier fill up stat sheets.