20 NFL Studs Who Need New Teams
20 NFL Studs That Need New Teams
Sometimes we all need a change of scenery. Whether it’s a new job or a new house or a new spouse, sometimes we just need to make a change to put yourself in the best position possible. The same can be said for the NFL and the players in the league. Sometimes the best thing a player can do is find a new team to play for.
When I started researching this list of NFL studs who need new teams, I took several things in mind in my selection. This isn’t a simple process and the reasons why a player would want to change teams can vary greatly from team to team.
In some instances it’s just a matter of being a really talented player who is stuck on a really bad football team. It has to be a frustration for the player and I applaud those players who step up and play hard week after week knowing that their team isn’t going to be competitive. You put these guys on even a good team and they are so much better.
In other cases you have the talented player who’s buried on a depth chart. These are the guys who everyone looks at and wonders how many teams they could start for if not for being a backup on this team. If I am an NFL player in a position like this frustration would set in quickly because you know you could be doing so much more for another team.
The last type is the unknown. These are players who haven’t gotten their shot to prove themselves yet, and it doesn’t look like they will on the team they are playing for now. But you slide them to a team that needs them and the potential is there for them to be great.
So here’s my list of the 20 guys in the NFL now, who could really use a change of scenery. Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know what you think, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #RML.
20-Stevie Johnson, WR Buffalo Bills
By all accounts Johnson is a very likeable guy and when healthy a supremely talented football player. But he's playing on a Bills team that is struggling with it's identity on offense and suffering through mediocre quarterback play. A new team with a high powered offense could really show him as the star he is.
19-Cameron Wake, DE/LB Miami Dolphins
Wake's production is down this year, but it's not his doing. The talent around him isn't great, but you can see flashes that he can be a top tier type of pass rusher if he were on the right team. You see what a player like San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith has done and I think Wake can be that kind of player as well.
18-Sam Bradford, QB St. Louis Rams
I will admit I am rooting for Bradford. He's one of my favorite players in the league and it frustrates me on a weekly basis to see the crew the Rams push out there with him every week. Injuries and coaching changes have hampered his entire career and really hurt his development. He needs stability and a decent offensive line to really unlock his potential.
17-Robert Ayers, DE/LB Denver Broncos
I understand that by most person's definition Ayers isn't a stud. But I believe he can be. For whatever reason Ayers has never been able to break out with the Broncos. The Broncos has lots of talent on the edges so staying in Denver could mean he's a rotational type player for his career. But I'd love to see him full time on a team that can put him on the field for the bulk of the snaps, just to see what he's got.
16-Rashard Mendenhall, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
Mendenhall hasn't had it easy during his short career. He came into the league as a high draft pick, and has had one really good season, and the rest have been rather forgettable. A fresh start on a team that can showcase him, and a chance for him to show he's healthy might be the best thing for him.
15-Derrick Johnson, LB Kansas City Chiefs
I'm not sure there's a more underrated defensive player in the NFL than Johnson. The notion that he was once benched for not being a good fit in a 3-4 defense is laughable. There's nowhere Johnson cannot play whether it's inside or outside, 3-4 or 4-3, this young man can make plays. It's unfortunate he's trapped on such a terrible defense no one notices.
14-Mark Ingram, RB New Orleans Saints
Ingram is one of those guys who got a bad draw in the draft. He was coming into the league with so much anticipation, but rather than be drafted by a team in need of a feature back, he found himself on a pass happy, running back deep Saints team who just doesn't use him. At some point he's going to end up playing somewhere than can really use him, and when they do, he's going to shine.
13-Alex-Smith, QB San Francisco 49ers
I feel bad for Smith. He takes a hit in the head and losses his starting job. Now the entire quarterback situation for the 49ers is a mess, and I suspect Smith is the odd man out. But in the right system he can lead a team. With the woeful quarterback play in the NFL right now I can't imagine he wouldn't be in great demand by a half dozen teams.
12-Ryan Mallett, QB New England Patriots
Mallett is one of those unknown type of players. I happen to think Mallett has all the tools to be a top flight starting quarterback in the NFL. Unfortunately, he's sitting behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady and more than likely will continue to do so. Maybe it will be an Aaron Rodgers type of situation for him, but I'd still like to see what he could do as a starter now.
11-LaMichael James, RB San Francisco 49ers
I have really been looking forward to seeing what James can do in the NFL. But sort of like Ingram in New Orleans, James is on a very talented team that doesn't need him to be productive. I don't think James is a 3 down carry-the-load type of back, but as a change of pace for some team he could be a highlight reel just waiting to happen.
10-Ben Tate, RB Houston Texans
Most NFL fans consider Tate the best backup running back in the league. They may be right. He is certainly talented and other than spelling running back Arian Foster, he's probably never going to get a real shot to show it. If he could find his way to a zone blocking team that needs a starting back, he could put up big numbers.
9-Nick Mangold, C New York Jets
The Jets have been a grease fire all season. And lost in all the drama and madness is just how well Mangold has played. It's got to be frustrated to be a player like him knowing whoever he's snapping to stinks so bad. If I were him I'd beg to be traded to another team just to get away from it all.
8-Philip Rivers, QB San Diego Chargers
I've never been a rah-rah guy for Rivers. But he's in a bad position. Terrible coach, no real running backs, average wide receivers, a beat up offensive line and an offensive philosophy that is, "throw it a ton, Philip". If there's any player who could benefit of a new team and really help them win right away on this list it might be Rivers.
7-Mike Wallace, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
Wallace, like his teammate Mendenahll are both good guys and really talented football players. But like Mendenhall there might be no room at the table for Wallace next season. The Steeler wide outs are deep and the owners are stingy. Wallace can be a sure no. 1 for some team, but I'm not sure that team is the Steelers.
6-Jamaal Charles, RB Kansas City Chiefs
Let me say this. As bad as the Chiefs are, Charles brings it every week. This is a man who's dealt with injuries throughout his career and on a sinking ship with no buckets he continues to go out and run hard every play. Is he just auditioning for his next team? There aren't many teams that wouldn't like a home run threat like Charles, and he could benefit from a team that doesn't put so much on him as to risk further injury.
5-Jared Veldheer, OT/C Oakland Raiders
Veldheer is the best offensive lineman you've never heard of. I loved him in college and I still do. He's shown he can play multiple positions at a very high level and his reward for that is bring stuck in Oakland. I think his future is at left tackle, but I hope it's playing for someone besides the Raiders.
4-Randall Cobb, WR Green Bay Packers
Cobb is an interesting case. He gets reps in Green Bay, and the Packers are a good team. This is sort of a selfish choice for me. I'd like to see Cobb go to a team where not only is he a regular starter where he can really crank out the numbers, but I'd like to see him play for a dome team where he can get at least 8 games a year indoors on turf where his quickness and explosion would really be on display.
3-LeSean McCoy, RB Philadelphia Eagles
I once tweeted that McCoy is the most talented diversion in the NFL. I'm not sure what the future is for the Eagles and their head coach, but McCoy deserves to go to a team that is going to feature his talents and not simply use him as a distraction for the passing game.
2-Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings
AD could easily be no. 1 on this list. Peterson is the most dominant back in the league this year and is doing it with zero help from his quarterback. Peterson on a team with even a marginal passing game and he's breaking records every year.
1-Larry Fitzgerald, WR Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald gets the top spot on this list for me because his situation compared to Peterson's is so much worse, and he's not complained once. He just keeps going out and running his routes and watching the football sail over his head, land at his feet, or to the other team. There are 31 other teams that would be a better situation for Fitzgerald, but you can just tell how he carries himself no matter how bad things are, he's going to keep fighting.