It has only been 69 days since the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVI, fans still must wait a gruesomely long 12 days until the ever anticipated NFL draft, and the regular season seems to be farther away then Krypton. However, none of those things can stop this Raider addict from picking apart everything silver and black. Including the players who I believe, have the potential to breakout in their 2013 campaign.
Top Tier: Players who are most likely and overdue a breakout season.
Everybody knows Denarius Moore can be a deadly deep threat. The 5th round pick out of Tennessee showed everybody what a draft gem looks like. Hampered by injuries, poor coaching, and mediocre quarterbacking fans only saw glimpses of Moore’s prowess as an NFL receiver. If able to avoid injuries, Moore will be heavily prepared for by opposing defensive backs. This will allow the breakout of somebody who has most likely been forgotten by NFL defenses.
Jacoby Ford spent most of his 2012 season on the sideline, suffering from a nasty lisfranc injury. Ford was a 4th round draft selection, and another gem who proved his worth. At the NFL scouting combine Ford recorded the second fastest 40 time ever (4.28[Bo Jackson is number one with a 4.12]). Ford’s rookie season was one to be remembered. Specifically a game he won almost single-handedly against the Kansas City Chiefs. His return, paired with Denarius Moore and a handful of capable younger receivers (Rod Streater and Juron Criner), should lead to an impressive receiving unit in Oakland.
If anybody in the NFL is overdue for a breakout season it is the injury handicapped, Darren McFadden. This running back seems to have really pissed off lady luck. Freak injuries and bad coaching have left a team’s star player with so far, a pitiful career. Glimpses of McFadden in a power running scheme show a back who puts games away. Khalif Barnes and injury remains McFadden’s biggest foes in the upcoming 2013 season. Injuries are hard to avoid, but Barnes’s penalties and missed blocks are very avoidable. In a draft that is extremely offensive line heavy something can definitely be done to balance the deficiency that is Oakland’s defense.
“one of the best players in the league, period.” – Hue Jackson on running back Darren McFadden
Middle tier: Players who are less likely to breakout, but are capable of doing so.
The Raider’s quarterback situation is about as sure as the gender of Lady Gaga. Nobody really knows how its going to turn out. Matt Flynn looks like he has the edge over Pryor going into camp. Flynn has shown glimpses of greatness leading to the potential breakout in 2013. If he can prove that he can effectively and accurately throw the deep ball (threw mostly short passes for Seattle and Green Bay) then Flynn may win the spot.
Terrell Pryor has proved he is capable of handling the offense. If given the reigns, Pryor must be able to be accurate. As unlikely as a starting Pryor is, he will be surrounded with talent in the backfield and receiving corps. He also stands a chance at becoming a breakout player as a wildcat/read option player. I am a strong believer that disregarding a Pryor package would be a huge mistake by Dennis Allen. The Raiders have yet to juice out the benefits this kid can offer.
Vince Young has recently worked out for the Raiders, making things even more unsure in Oakland. In my opinion Young should have been signed a month ago. The ex-Titan showed potential when his head was in the game, and given the tools I believe Young can beat out Flynn and Pryor for the starting spot. Of course he will have to be inked into the organization first.
The starting quarterback may be unknown at the moment, but isn’t that a good thing? Three quarterbacks all capable of leading the team is something most teams don’t have. One could only envision Flynn taking the ball from under center, faking to McFadden up the middle and pitching out to Vince Young who can run multiple pass option plays with Pryor as a pitch back.
Bottom tier: Players who aren’t expected to breakout, but nonetheless have the potential.
The Raider’s offensive line is one piece short of returning to the rush blocking glory they experienced under Hue Jackson. Jared Veldheer leads this group, and has also been seen putting on a ton of muscle in the off-season. The breakout of this group would be huge for the Raiders. It would give McFadden the chance to become the star he is, and give much needed time to the next starting quarterback of the Raiders.
Miles Burris could possibly find himself a sophomore leader on this defense. He was forced into playing last season due to the poor play of Rolando McClain and took advantage of his opportunity. With a year of experience under Dennis Allen, Burris will have an advantage over the new free agent signings who will replace McClain and Phillip Wheeler. Look for this hard worker to play even better in his second year.
Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins both share some things in common. Both were signed by the Raiders this off-season and both have something to prove. The former pro-bowlers look to return to their glory days as they will most likely be instant starters on this cornerback starved defense. Both would provide this team with a fighting chance if they prove to be capable.
Feel free to comment who you believe will breakout in the Raiders 2013 campaign!