The 2016 NFL draft saw 253 players selected over a three-day span, providing the league with an influx of new talent and the next generation of stars.
At various points in next year’s regular season, the best of these first-year players will run into another high pick from the draft class—providing intriguing clashes of young stars. As these games approaches, be sure to keep an eye on the odds for each game using hityah, a online tools that compares betting odds for each game.
Here are the best rookie vs. rookie matchups of the 2016 NFL season:
Bills LB Shaq Lawson vs. Ravens OT Ronnie Stanley, Week 1
Rex Ryan’s young pass-rusher meets Joe Flacco’s new blindside protector to start the season. These two faced off in a primetime showdown in college last year, with Lawson and Clemson getting the best of Stanley and Notre Dame.
Lions DL A’Shawn Robinson vs. Colts C Ryan Kelly, Week 1
The former Alabama teammates will go head-to-head in the middle of the trenches to kick off 2016. Years of practices in Tuscaloosa should have both prepared for the battle of multiple national title winners.
Buccaneers CB Vernon Hargreaves vs. Rams QB Jared Goff, Week 3
Goff figures to be starting for Los Angeles by at least Week 3, when the Rams take on the Buccaneers and Hargreaves, the second cornerback selected in the draft. It’s possible Hargreaves will be covering either Pharoh Cooper or Mike Thomas, two receivers drafted by the Rams after Goff.
49ers DL DeForest Buckner vs. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, Week 4
The draft’s seventh overall pick will be charged with helping contain the fourth overall selection. Buckner, a monster of a man who will play end in the 49ers’ 3-4 front, must be stout at the point of attack to squeeze the space for Elliott, who posted back-to-back 1,800-yard rushing seasons during his final two years at Ohio State.
Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander vs. Giants WR Sterling Shepard, Week 5
These two fiery competitors already enjoyed two classic battles in college, including a featured matchup during Clemson’s win over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoffs last January. Alexander scored decisive wins in both meetings, but could playing opposite Odell Beckham in New York help Shepard turn the tables for their first NFL showdown?
Raiders S Karl Joseph vs. Chargers TE Hunter Henry, Week 5/15
The Raiders took Joseph to help replace Charles Woodson, while Henry arrived in San Diego as Antonio Gates’ eventual successor. The two playmakers could be facing off down the seams and in the flats for years to come in the AFC West.
Jaguars LB Myles Jack vs. Titans RB Derrick Henry, Week 8/16
Jack and Henry should be butting heads in the trenches at least twice a year for many seasons in the AFC South, provided Jack’s knee doesn’t spontaneously explode at some point. Hard to beat the draft’s most talented linebacker meeting the most physically imposing running back to enter the NFL in years.
Chargers DE Joey Bosa vs. Titans OT Jack Conklin, Week 9
A classic Big 10 battle comes to the NFL, with Bosa—a pass-rushing Buckeye who was drafted third overall—taking on Conklin, the Spartan tackle and eighth overall pick.
Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey vs. Texas WR Will Fuller, Week 10/15
At some point, the Jaguars will have Ramsey—the most athletically gifted cornerback since Patrick Peterson—taking on All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins for every snap of every game against Houston. In his rookie season, Ramsey might have to settle for the speedy Fuller, who was the first receiver taken in the 2016 class.
Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey vs. Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell, Week 11
Ramsey gets another great rookie matchup in Week 11, when the Jaguars take on Treadwell and the Vikings. Minnesota took the Ole Miss receiver to be Teddy Bridgewater’s No. 1 target. It might be on Ramsey’s shoulders to take the 23rd overall pick away.