The transition from college football to the NFL is rarely easy. It’s a hurdle which will likely be especially high in 2020 given the abbreviated and virtual offseason necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic – an environment hardly conducive to rookies who must relocate to new areas of the country while attempting to adapt to the professional ranks.

Still, circumstances and talent always permit some greenhorns to excel, and that will doubtless be the case again whenever football resumes. Here are 20 rookies who could make instant impacts in 2020:

1. Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow (first round / 1st overall): Perhaps it seems obvious, however instantaneous success for No. 1 picks is hardly a given – and sometimes not even possible. QB Carson Palmer, the last player Cincinnati took first overall, redshirted in 2003. Andy Dalton’s release means Burrow won’t have that luxury. Yet he also seems uniquely positioned to thrive, dropped into an offense that will feature myriad weapons in WRs A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins plus RB Joe Mixon. The Bengals coaching staff has also had months to get familiarized with Burrow during virtual meetings, plenty of time to find ways to tailor the offense to his preferences while also potentially replicating some of LSU’s playbook.

2. Washington Redskins DE Chase Young (first round / 2nd overall): When you’re widely considered to be a draft’s premier prospect, the learning curve shouldn’t be that daunting – even though it typically is for young pass rushers. Like former Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa last year, Young will join a defensive line loaded with talent. Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat all have first-round pedigree themselves and likely assure Young won’t command double teams until he proves they’re warranted. Like Bosa, Young should have a golden opportunity to capture defensive rookie of the year honors given the supporting cast he joins.

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