With OTA’s underway and the build up to the 2014 NFL season officially beginning with team practices, the great football minds of Pro Football Focus are doing a series of pieces on a player for all 32 NFL teams who could unexpectedly become superstars with breakout seasons.
When it came to the Oakland Raiders player who could potentially turn into a breakout star, PFF chose defensive tackle Pat Sims.
In the recent past the Oakland Raiders have struggled to find talent to fill out their roster while trying to rid themselves of overpaid veterans the last two seasons. They have found themselves gathering veterans to sign on short term deals and last season they found a player who easily produced his best season to date: 2014 Secret Superstar Pat Sims.
Sims was drafted out of Auburn in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. His playing time was limited due to the emergence of Geno Atkins and the Bengals’ desire to keep playing Domata Peko, but Sims never helped himself out with any great display when he was on the field.
However, in 2013 the Oakland Raiders signed him to a one-year deal to be a stop-gap and found themselves with a player who was a bright spot in a difficult season.
Sims does have the potential to become a breakout player if you have paid attention to his play since joining Oakland and he will have an even greater chance to make big plays now that he has outside pass rushers who will be drawing far more attention than the combo of LaMarr Houston and a list of role players in 2013. With the likes of Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Sio Moore and fifth overall pick Khalil Mack planning on taking up attention from team’s offensive lines, the big bodies Sims could show exactly why PFF felt he was one of the most underrated interior pass rushers in the league. If Sims does breakout like PFF suggests, the Raiders wouldn’t be complaining seeing as their pass rush could be amongst the best in the AFC West if the veteran interior pass rusher turns into something more than the already productive budget defensive tackle that he is.