Who The First Round Picks Replace: AFC

It has been over one week since the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft took place. Draft classes have been graded, and the way too early versions of 2017 mock drafts have been posted. The next step in the offseason are rookie minicamps, which are already underway for some teams. With the first round picks seeing the field for the first time, who are they expected to replace on their respective rosters? This article just looks at rookies in the AFC. An article on NFC rookies will be posted soon. Baltimore Ravens: OT Ronnie Stanley Stanley was drafted to be the Ravens' franchise left tackle, which means incumbent Eugene Monroe is being replaced. Monroe is a good offensive tackle, but he has missed 15 games the past two seasons due to injury. It seems likely that Stanley, a strong pass protector, will take over protecting Joe Flacco's blindside this season. Monroe is expected to stay around for 2016, but Baltimore can save about $4.5 million in cap space by releasing him next season. Buffalo Bills: DE Shaq Lawson When the Bills released disgruntled defensive end Mario Williams, the position became a significant need that was expected to be filled in the draft, as Buffalo doesn't have much cap room. Lawson, who led the NCAA in tackles for loss last season with 25.5, will take Williams' spot. Adding Lawson allows the Bills to keep a bigger body opposite of their other defensive end Jerry Hughes, who is a smaller player. Cincinnati Bengals: CB William Jackson III For the third time since the 2012 draft, the Bengals selected a cornerback in the first round. Neither of these other two cornerback, Dre Kirkpatrick (2012) and Darqueze Dennard (2014) have lived up to expectations yet. Cornerback is known as a position that takes a while to adjust to the NFL, but Jackson's selection puts pressure on these two. Kirkpatrick is a free agent at the end of the season, so he may not be back in 2017. Cleveland Browns: WR Corey Coleman The Browns' wide receiver depth chart wasn't looking too good before the draft, hence the team drafting four. Coleman instantly comes in as the No. 1 option. Travis Benjamin was the leading receiver in 2015 with 68 receptions for 966 yards and five touchdowns. However, Benjamin signed with San Diego in free agency, leaving Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins as the best options. Coleman, a speedster like Benjamin, seems like a safe bet to fill the void left by Benjamin, if not improve upon his performance. Denver Broncos: QB Paxton Lynch Figuring out who Lynch replaces in Denver is simple, but it is a tough task for the Memphis quarterback. All he has to do is replace the most prolific quarterback in NFL history. No pressure, right? Peyton Manning's performance may have declined in recent years, but he was still Manning and replacing him isn't as easy as Andrew Luck has made it look in Indianapolis. Lynch may not start at the beginning of the season, that likely falls to veteran Mark Sanchez, but Lynch is sure to see the field as a rookie. Houston Texans: WR Will Fuller Houston already has one of the league's best wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, but they didn't have much after him. Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III were the next two leading receivers for the Texans in 2015. Washington left in free agency, but Shorts is still around. Schematically though, Fuller really isn't replacing anyone. This is because the Texans lacked a fast, vertical receiver last year. His blazing speed is the main reason he was selected in the first round. It will provide a new element to the Texans' offense and hopefully take away safety help from Hopkins. Indianapolis Colts: C Ryan Kelly The starting center job in 2015 was split between Khaled Holmes (early season) and Jonotthan Harrison (late season). Kelly comes in and is instantly the starter. The Colts released Holmes after the draft, and Harrison may see time at guard now. Protecting Luck was clearly the No. 1 priority for Indianapolis in the draft, as four of their eight selections play on the offensive line. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Jalen Ramsey With the additions of Ramsey and free agent Prince Amukamara, the Jaguars are going to have two new starting cornerbacks. Last year, Aaron Colvin and Davon House saw the most time at cornerback. House's playing time may be affected the most, as Colvin plays a lot in the slot. However, the Jaguars are expected to play Ramsey a bit in the slot as well. Both Colvin and House are probably going to see a dip in their playing time this season. Kansas City Chiefs: No First Round Pick Kansas City didn't select in the first round after trading with San Francisco. The Chiefs drafted defensive lineman Chris Jones in the early second round, who will take over for the retired Mike DeVito. Miami Dolphins: OT Laremy Tunsil The Dolphins capitalized on Tunsil's draft day fall, selecting the Ole Miss left tackle at No. 13. In the long run, he will be taking over for Branden Albert at left tackle. In the beginning though, there is talk that Tunsil may play left guard for a year or so with Albert still on the outside. Albert has some experience at guard, so he may move inside instead. For 2016, this replaces Dallas Thomas in the starting lineup and in the long term, Tunsil will replace Albert. New England Patriots: No First Round Pick New England didn't select in the first round as they lost the selection as punishment for DeflateGate. The Patriots drafted cornerback Cyrus Jones in the late second round, who will probably be their slot cornerback and a returner as a rookie. New York Jets: LB Darron Lee New York needed help at both inside and outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. Lee and third round pick Jordan Jenkins provide the reinforcements. Inside linebacker Demario Davis didn't play well in 2015 and was allowed to leave in free agency for Cleveland. Lee replaces Davis in the starting lineup. David Harris is the other starting inside linebacker and, at the age of 32, probably only has a few seasons left. Oakland Raiders: S Karl Joseph After tearing his ACL in October, Joseph might miss the start of the season while he recovers. When he returns, he will start next to free agent addition Reggie Nelson. Joseph has the difficult task of replacing Raiders' legend Charles Woodson who retired. Despite Woodson's age, he put together another great year in 2015. The other safety position last year was a revolving door. Joseph's job is made easier but playing with Nelson, a second-team All-Pro in 2015. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Artie Burns It wouldn't be much of a surprise to not see much of Burns as a rookie. Pittsburgh's defense has a history of not playing rookies much. However, their cornerback play needs a lot of improvement, so he may be pushed into the lineup early. The Steelers will be hoping Burns can be the cornerback they thought they had in Cortez Allen. Allen signed a $25 million contract extension in 2014, but his play quickly declined as he was pushed into a bigger role. He was released this offseason. San Diego Chargers: DE Joey Bosa After playing 4-3 defensive end at Ohio State, Bosa will move to 3-4 defensive end in San Diego. This isn't his best fit, but this will only be in base packages. He will be back on the edge (with some work on the inside) in sub packages. Since he is expected to move around a bit in the Chargers' defense, it is tough to peg an exact player he is replacing. In base looks, Bosa takes the spot vacated by Kendall Reyes, who signed with Washington in free agency. Tennessee Titans: OT Jack Conklin As expected, the Titans added an offensive tackle early in the draft. Depending on who the tackle was, there was talk that Taylor Lewan would move from left to right tackle, but that won't happen with the selection of Conklin. He'll go to the right side after playing left tackle at Michigan State. He takes over for Byron Bell who played right tackle for most of 2015 and was re-signed in the offseason. Tennessee needed to improve their protection of quarterback Marcus Mariota. Matt Pearce is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp and is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska. Follow him on Twitter@Matt_Pearce13

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