Quarterback – Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
The former number one overall pick has had a pretty up and down career overall.
In his rookie season, Bradford wasn’t horrible. He posted a 3,512-18-15 season and a rushing touchdown.
In his sophomore season, he was just miserable. He was hindered by ankle injuries and posted a pathetic 2,164-6-6 season in 10 games, not even averaging a TD a game. Not good.
But, in his third season, he had his best campaign. Almost hitting 4,000 yards (3,702 to be exact) with 21 TDs and 13 INTs.
Definitely a step up.
Last season Sam Bradford had the likes of Brian Quick, Chris Givens and Lance Kendricks to throw to. This season, he’s got a ton of weapons at his disposal.
These weapons include Brian Quick, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks and at running back, Isaiah Pead, and Daryl Richardson.
The newest additions, Cook, Bailey, and Austin all came via free agency and the draft, respectively.
Jared Cook presents a big athletic body, who could shine with Bradford throwing him the ball, though, I’ll admit, I think he was slightly overpaid.
Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin were both teammates at West Virginia and Austin was a top-10 pick and has drawn comparisons to Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb. A nice weapon to have indeed.
So, after years of saying, “get Sam Bradford some weapons”, the Rams obliged and he’s loaded.
With these options, Sam Bradford has the potential to finish in the top half of QBs, barring injury, of course.
Sam Bradford has the ability and now has the weapons.
Go get ’em, Sam!
Projections: 3981 yards, 25 TDs, 15 INTs.
Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
If any third string wide-out was a winner this off-season, it was Emmanuel Sanders.
Over the off-season, No. 1 wide-out Mike Wallace departed the Steelers and took his talents to South Beach.
With this departure, this pushed fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown to the number one spot and Sanders to move up in the depth chart.
As the third stringer last season, Sanders posted a 44-626-1 season in 16 games, 7 of which he did start.
Not bad numbers given he had Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and even tight end Heath Miller as the primary options for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
He’s only 26-years-old, but the Pittsburgh offense isn’t very stable. It’ll be interesting to see how he pans out in his first-ever featured role.
Projections: 71 receptions, 946 yards, 5 TDs.
Running Back – Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
If I hadn’t already done a Chris Ivory projection, he’d be here, but Lamar Miller is a pretty good consolation prize.
After the departure of Reggie Bush to the Motor City, the Dolphins were left with a running back conundrum. As it sits right now, Lamar Miller looks to be in place to take over the featured back role. Daniel Thomas, a former second round pick, just cannot seem to stay healthy enough to be a featured back and rookie Mike Gillislee probably isn’t being considered.
Last season, Lamar Miller was featured in 13 games and starting one of which. He carried the rock 51 times for 250 yards and just a single TD. Not the greatest numbers, no and the YPC was under 4, too. But Lamar Miller is a hard, physical runner. He showed that last season against the Raiders.
He does have what it takes to be a featured back.
Will he be a huge impact? Probably not, he’ll probably be a flex, but I think he’ll have those few games where he explodes.
Given the Dolphins newest weapon, Mike Wallace, this may force opposing DBs to drop back further in to coverage given Wallace’s straight-line speed, opening up tons of space for Miller.
I like the Miami U product this season as a flex option.
Projections: 950 yards, 6 TDs.
Tight End – Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals
From a physicality standpoint, Rob Housler is a force to be reckoned with. He stands 6 feet, 5 inches and is 250 pounds. That’s a beast of a man. He was held scoreless last season, but did manage 45 catches, though they only totaled just over 400 yards.
The only problem with Housler has been his QB play.
When any player has QB play that is the equivalent to the abiliy of you or I (and seriously, I think I’m better than Ryan Lindley), every pass catcher will struggle. Just ask All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald.
This season, the Cardinals will be equipped with perhaps their best quarterback since Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer. Actually, not perhaps, he definitely is their best.
Last season in Oakland, Carson Palmer hit his tight end, Brandon Myers, 79 times for over 800 yards and 4 scores.
Of course, Larry Fitzgerald will be his primary option, but Housler should be a close second.
Watching some film of the Cardinals last season, it seemed as though Housler was open in the flat most of the time, but his quarterbacks couldn’t hit a barn door if they stood in front of it with a football.
If the Brandon Myers numbers can somewhat carry over to Housler, he should and could end up as a top-10 tight end play in 2013.
Projections: 68 catches, 820 yards, 5 TDs