You often hear people say that it takes 3 years for a player to adjust to the NFL, whether that be from a physical perspective (catching up to the speed of the NFL), or the mental side (being able to “just play” without thinking so much). I agree to a degree, although I think some players can make that jump in their 2nd year as well. So who are the players from the 2009 and 2010 draft classes that could make the jump this year in the NFC East? We’ll start with Dallas and Philly:
2009 Draft Class – Jason Williams, Robert Brewster, Stephen McGee, Victor Butler, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Smith, Mike Hamlin, David Buehler, Stephen Hodge, John Phillips, Mike Mickens, Manuel Johnson.
Oh the humanity. Last offseason, John Phillips looked like an “early breakout” candidate, but he tore his ACL in the preseason and was done for the year. He should be ready to go for 2011, although the rule of thumb for ACL tears is that you don’t really get back to your full self for 2 seasons. Buehler is a possibility, I guess, but he’ll have to win the kicking job first. Other than those two guys, the only player I can even envision having any sort of role whatsoever would be Butler, and even then, he isn’t going to start unless something bad happens to DeMarcus Ware or Anthony Spencer. This draft was pure garbage.
2010 Draft Class – Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Sam Young, Jamar Wall, Sean Lissemore, Josh Brent
Bryant’s an obvious candidate to be an early breakout guy. Lee could be too if he can win a starting job. With Marcus Spears gone, Brent could challenge for playing time along the D Line. I’d like to see AOA, Young, and Lissy actually play before we can say they’re primed for a breakout. Wall’s no longer on the team.
(Philly after the jump)…
2009 Draft Class – Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Cornelius Ingram, Macho Harris, Fenuki Tupou, Brandon Gibson, Paul Fanaika, Moise Fokou
McCoy had his breakout year in ’10 and is the best RB in the division, while Maclin continues to improve steadily. Fokou started last season, and probably will again in ’11. The rest of this group is either on another team, or extremely unlikely to crack the 2011 53-man roster.
2010 Draft Class – Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Trevard Lindley, Keenan Clayton, Mike Kafka, Clay Harbor, Ricky Sapp, Riley Cooper, Charles Scott, Jamar Chaney, Jeff Owens, Kurt Coleman
Every one of these players is still on the team, with the exception of Charles Scott. Graham, Allen, Chaney, and Coleman all started at least one game as rookies. Allen and Chaney are likely to start Week 1 in 2011, while Graham will likely not be ready to go for the opener as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. Coleman will compete with rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett for the starting SS spot (Quintin Mikell is unlikely to return). So, those guys (minus Graham) are the best “early breakout candidates,” while Lindley, Clayton, Kafka, Harbor, and Cooper are all likely to have more prevalent roles on the team in ’11 than they did as rookies. Te’o-Nesheim, Sapp, and Owens will be fighting just to make the team.
Giants and Redskins tomorrow.