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Under-the-radar rookies to watch – AFC West

Some rookies are wowing during their first training camp and may be pushing hard for some well-deserved, extra snaps during preseason games.
Sutton is set up to excel as a possession receiver at the NFL level with his size and body control, but he’ll surprise with his ability to get downfield.
Sutton will be a player to watch during the preseason.
With the Chiefs, Nnadi figures to be a force in stopping the run as he produced an 11.0 percent run stop rate last season with the Seminoles.
Although Nnadi has impressive mobility for a nose tackle, his pass-rushing ability is limited generating only 19 pressures last season, and he was shut out in seven different games.
He will figure to be a versatile chess piece in the Chargers’ defense.
A health scare caused Hurst to fall in the draft, but the Raiders might have gotten a steal along the interior defensive line.
The rookie’s 49 pressures were far-and-away the most of any interior defender, and he also held up well against the run with 31 stops, third-most among draft-eligible interior defensive linemen.
Hurst’s well-rounded ability will be a welcome sight to the Raiders defense where no interior linemen ranked in the top 20 in total pressures or run stops a season ago.
Hurst’s relentless motor will catch the eye of many during camp and throughout each game of the preseason.

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Jun 12, 2018; Alameda, CA, USA: Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (73) during minicamp at the Raiders headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to our Training Camp Takeaway series that kicked off last week, we at PFF are also hot on the trails of some intriguing rookies to keep your eyes on as we progress through the preseason. Some rookies are wowing during their first training camp and may be pushing hard for some well-deserved, extra snaps during preseason games.

With our wealth of knowledge both at the NFL and FBS level, here are some under-the-radar rookies that have been turning heads and that you may get to see a lot of this preseason, and what they did in college a year ago:

The Broncos have their top two WRs locked in with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but Sutton could factor into multiple receiver sets with a strong preseason. While Sutton’s size is the first thing that comes to mind, he moves well for a bigger receiver and he can be more than just a red-zone weapon for Denver. While his production took a slight step back last season at SMU, he’s shown he’s capable of using his body to win down the field and his large catch radius gives quarterbacks a bigger margin for error. This could be a big bonus for starting QB Case Keenum who was already one of the most accurate passers in the NFL last season with the Vikings finishing tied for third in adjusted completion percentage at 76.5 percent. Sutton is set up to excel as a possession receiver at the NFL level with his size and body control, but he’ll surprise with his ability to get downfield. In 2016, Sutton caught 574 yards on deep passes, 13th best in the nation, and his 12 deep pass receptions ranked T-10th among draft-eligible receivers a season ago. Sutton will be a player to watch during the preseason.

Nnadi could be a big factor in the Chiefs’ interior…

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