ESPN ran a series in which they called upon each division’s blogger to pick one player they believe will be a star down the road, specifically between the years 2014-2016.
In a move that surprises no one, NFC East Blogger Dan Graziano chose wide receiver Hakeem Nicks for the New York Giants.
“Nicks is already one of the best and most reliable wideouts in the NFL, and he’s got just two years in. He’s 23 years old right now, which means he’ll play the 2014 season at age 26. In the meantime, he’ll have been Eli Manning’s No. 1 receiver in the Giants’ pass-heavy offense and had enough skill-position talent around him (Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, etc.) to have put up big-time numbers. His physical gifts are clearly substantial, and they aren’t going anywhere between now and 2014.”
I don’t know that I agree with the assessment that the Giants are a pass heavy offense, but they do target their top three wide receivers a ton and Nicks will benefit from that.
Graziano also picked Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant, Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, and Washington Redskins LB Brian Orakpo.
I’d argue that McCoy, Nicks, and Orakpo are pretty much stars already. McCoy had a breakout campaign in 2010 after the departure of Brian Westbrook, Nicks exploded on to the scene in his rookie year, and Orakpo has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two season.
The one with the most to prove is definitely Dez Bryant. He did not live up to the hype in 2010 and has had his fair share of legal issues this off season.
I believe Nicks will jump to elite status far before 2014. In fact, I predicted in an article on another website that he would have over 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2011.
He was at or near the top in every major receiving category in 2010, and he missed three games. Expect Nicks to be a monster this season, cementing himself among the NFL’s cream of the crop.