I believe you know what you have in a draft after 2 years. A guy's so-called second year jump, be it large, small or non-existant, while getting meaningful playing time tells the tale. If a guy gets stuck behind a Pro Bowler or misses a season with an injury, more "wait and see" would be in order, but that's not the case with Dix, Adams, Rodgers and Linsley. And in this preseason, 2nd. year players Goodson and Janis had golden opportunities to show the jump to the starting lineup and didn't.
Linsley has already shown he's a better than average center. If he can eliminate around a 1/2 dozen mistakes/penalties over the course of the season, he should be in the Pro Bowl conversation.
Adams has upside after a promising rookie year "stuck behind" two Pro Bowlers in terms targets/opportunities in an offense that didn't throw the ball all that much. He has a golden opportunity to make his mark this season. Does anybody think "wait and see" for year 3 will be in order if he does not step up? I don't...I believe we'll know exactly what we have in Adams by the time this season comes to a close.
Dix...I think the enthusiasm for his play last season was primarily in contrast to his dreadful predecessor. He's not a good tackler, and his decision making was not always sharp. Year 2 will tell the tale as to whether he can ascend past serviceable-to-average NFL starting free safety status. In this defense, his job is coverage safety...the test is whether he can be less late more frequently to the right spots. He has the very difficult task of achieving the Capers mind meld while playing a lot of single-high safety while keeping an eye on the back of what may be sketchy cover corners on one side of the field and sketchy coverage ILBs in the middle of field if Capers can't see his way to get Ryan out there.
But that's what makes good-to-great players...compensating for the deficiencies of others. If he makes that jump, I will henceforth cease using the diminutive shorthand "Dix" and everyone should then cease to use the diminutive "Ha Ha".
Rodgers was given the starting job last season and lost snaps to Quarless as the season wore on. He's been handed the starting job again. As with Adams, the pressure is on. Responding to the pressure in a second year of a starting opportunity will tell the tale.
While Thornton was a bust, the UDFA D-Linemen from the 2014 class, Pennel and Gaston, have made the progress that Thornton failed to make. The fact they have complimentary skills, Pennel as a run stopper and Gaston as a pass rusher, should be quite useful. Assuming they get a sufficient number of snaps in money games and don't get stuck behind Jones/Guion upon their returns, we should have a pretty good idea as to whether they have NFL staying power.