NFL Second Year Break-Out Team

August 23, 2012

Features, Football

A rookie being incredible right from the opening snap  does not normally happen. Most players need a full training camp or more to develop into serviceable players. The players listed below showed  enough last season as rookies for me to believe they could be destined for big years. You will not see names such as Julio Jones, Von Miller or Cam Newton on this list since they have either been to a Pro-Bowl or shown enough to give the impression they will be here awhile.

Quarterback – Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)

Projected Stats: 3200 Passing, 300 Rushing, 20 Total TDS, 13 Interceptions.

Recently named the starting quarterback, Locker could be in for a big season. His lack of accuracy and extended throwing motion are a bit concerning (thus prompting his slide in the draft last year) buthe  has an absolute cannon for an arm and can extend plays with his feet. With a new fully committed Chris Johnson and Kendall Wright out wide, Locker has the weapons to make  the Titan offense explosive. He needs to work on his pocket presence and stay away from locking on to a receiver too early.

Running Back – Ryan Williams (Arizona Cardinals)

Projected Stats :800 yards Rushing, 200 Yards Receiving, 9 TDS.

Needless to say that outside of All-Pro Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals offense is completely devoid of talent. Whoever starts between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton does not exactly let Cardinals fans sleep easy at night. Beanie Wells has has trouble staying on the field due to injuries and work ethic concerns, that is not the case with Williams. Though he is coming off a torn ACL, the starting running  back job may be his for the taking as coaches seem to be favoring him over Wells. At the very least, Williams will be the goal-line back

Wide Receiver 2 – Leonard Hankerson (Washington Redskins)

Projected Stats: 700 Receiving yards, 5 TDS.

Hankerson had all of the physical tools in the world coming out of Miami, but was rather raw in his route running. He missed most of last season with a shoulder injury but he showed potential in the few games he played. Add in that he now has a competant quarterback in RG3 instead of whatever John Beck or Rex Grossman was and you are looking at a possible off the wall sleeper.

TE – Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings)

Projected Stats: 600 Receiving Yards, 5 TDS.

Young quarterbacks love security blankets.  It helps if said security blanket is a mammoth of a man and extremely talented. Rudolph was bothered by injuries last year, but is now completely healthy. Now that Shiancoe is gone, Rudolph is the number 2 target for quarterback Christian Ponder behind Percy Harvin. Harvin has struggled to stay in the lineup so if he misses time, Rudolph could put up big numbers. Rudolph is an awful mismatch in the passing game (just ask University of Michigan fans about him) and a serviceable blocker meaning he can be on the field on all three downs.

Offensive Line – Nate Solder (New England Patriots)

Projected Stats: Tom Brady is alive at the end of the season

I do not see any magic coming out of this draft class at this point. Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi and Nate Solder are already starters. Solder, however, has been given the lovely task of making sure Tom Brady stays upright. Brady is not exactly a mobile quarterback and Solder was not spectacular last season so there is a good deal of room for improvement. Solder has all of the attributes but I am just not sure he can put it all together. He is good at this point, but I do not know if he is destined for greatness.

Linebacker – Justin Houston (Kansas City Chiefs)

Projected Stats: 85 Tackles. 4 Forced Fumbles.

If it were not for drug problems, Houston may have gone late first round in the 2011 draft. Instead he fell to the Chiefs in the third and has not disappointed with 56 tackles and a forced fumble. He fought his way to a starting role mostly due to his size and lateral quickness. He is a better pure ball stopper than a coverage guy at this point in his career, but has immense upside.

D-Line – Adrain Clayborne (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Projected Stats: 40 Tackles, 10 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles.

Clayborne was viewed as a potential top 10 pick by some draft experts but fell in the draft because he was born with Erb’s Palsy which weakened his right arm and shoulder. He attended therapy and was eventually able to overcome the disease but it scared teams enough to him falling to 20th overall. Clayborne quickly showed it was no issue and finished his rookie season with 7.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. With an improving defense around him, Clayborne should be able to post even better stats this year.

Corner -Buster Skrine (Cleveland Browns)

Projected Stats: 20 Tackles, 2 Interceptions, 1 Forced Fumble.

Admittedly a bit of a shot in the dark here but Skrine will be given every opportunity to succeed. A small-school player out of UT-Chattanooga, Skrine was scarcely used in his rookie year but gained more playing time as the season progressed. He already shines on special teams so likely will have a continued roll on the Browns regardless. Though he is undersized, he is deceptively strong and possesses enough speed to be an effective cover corner.  The Browns knew that Skrine was going to be a project but may reap the benefits of their patience as early as this year.

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One Comment on “NFL Second Year Break-Out Team”

  1. tankf Says:

    Reblogged this on blackfalcona and commented:
    Just (one) word “QB Andrew Luck”


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