By Chris Ross @DraftScout_NFL on June 4, 2014
Every year in the NFL, there are dozens of players who show up big at OTAs. Whether it's a young player trying to prove his skills or a veteran trying to earn his place, some players just perform well at these practices. That said, here is every NFL team's biggest standout at OTAs so far.
With Karlos Dansby gone, Kevin Minter is expected to take over at one inside linebacker spot for the Cardinals in 2014, and if OTAs have been any indication, he will do just fine. Minter is apparently having a great camp, showing off the skills to become a valuable asset in Arizona’s defense.
Although he’s just 5-foot-8, Devonta Freeman plays much bigger and is already making an impact for the Falcons. Freeman has shown a willingness to block, and when you add that to his exceptional running and catching skills, it’s easy to see why Freeman is making waves in camp.
Taking first-team reps over Ray Rice at Ravens’ OTAs, Justin Forsett has been taking advantage of his opportunities. While it’s not likely that Forsett will start over Rice come the regular season, there’s no doubt he has played himself into a role for the Ravens’ offense.
Over the past few seasons with the Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller has battled with a number of different injuries. However, it appears that Spiller is finally healthy going into 2014, and he is playing well at Bills’ OTAs. Spiller is showing off the explosive talent that made him the ninth overall pick back in 2010 NFL Draft, and going into 2014, it appears Spiller is primed to break out.
When the Carolina Panthers selected Kelvin Benjamin in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the team raised a lot of eyebrows. However, so far in Panthers’ OTAs, Benjamin is making the Panthers’ decision to draft him look like a wise one. Benjamin has been using his size, speed and receiving ability to stand out, and he will be just fine in his rookie season.
One of the most underrated players in the 2014 draft class, David Fales has showed up big in Bears’ OTAs. Fales has been throwing the ball well and has supposedly already picked up the playbook. Marc Trestman has been impressed by Fales’ play so far.
Expected to be the Bengals No. 2 receiver in 2014, Marvin Jones has been earning rave reviews from coaches and players alike so far. Jones has some playmaking ability, and if his performance in the regular season is as good as his workout so far, Jones is going to surprise.
Although the Cleveland Browns spent a first-round pick on Johnny Manziel, it’s fellow QB Brian Hoyer who has been standing out at OTAs so far. Hoyer showed flashes last year of being an adequate starter, and he is separating himself as the Browns’ clear starter right now.
Despite being plagued by injuries throughout his still-young NFL career, DeMarco Murray has returned to full strength this offseason and it’s showing. Murray says he feels great, and if he can stay healthy, the sky's the limit for him.
Although DeMarcus Ware wasn't as dominant in 2013 as he was earlier in his career, there's no doubt he still has the skills to be an elite pass-rusher. So far, Ware has shown up in a big way at OTAs, and he looks ready to dominate.
For the first time in his career, Nick Fairley is putting in a lot of work and it's showing so far. Fairley has shown flashes of absolute dominance in practices so far, and the Lions have to be excited about Fairley's potential in 2014.
Like Ware, Julius Peppers isn't the player he once was, but he is still a great one. Peppers has long been one of the most feared pass-rushers in the NFL, and with his performance so far in OTAs, it appears he is better than ever.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney hasn't disappointed in practice so far. Clowney has transitioned to the outside linebacker position nicely, and his athletic ability and pass-rushing talent will make him very successful.
Going into his third season in the NFL, Andrew Luck has cemented himself as perhaps the best young quarterback in the league. And in Colts' OTAs so far, Luck appears to have continued his development. He's throwing the ball better than ever, and going into 2014, Luck could be scary good.
Despite the fact the Jacksonville Jaguars spent a pair of second-round picks on wide receivers in the 2014 draft class, Cecil Shorts is proving in practice that he deserves his place as the team's No. 1 receiver. Shorts is apparently catching everything thrown his way and is developing a nice rapport with current starting QB Chad Henne.
Once one of the most dominant receivers in the league, Dwayne Bowe's production has fallen off a bit the past two seasons. That said, Bowe appears to be back to his old self so far in Chiefs OTAs, and if his performance is any indication, Bowe is going to once again be one of the best at his position.
Signed this offseason to compete with Jimmy Wilson for the Miami Dolphins' free safety job, Louis Delmas is making a great case to overtake Wilson. Delmas is finally healthy after a few injury-plagued seasons, and he has a chance to rehabilitate his career in 2014.
If his OTA performance is indicative of success to come, Cordarrelle Patterson looks to be in great shape going into 2014. Patterson is showing off his playmaking ability, and by all accounts, Patterson has developed as a receiver as well. 2014 could be a big year for the young receiver if everything goes well.
In the conversation of having the title of the best cornerback in the NFL, Darrelle Revis is already making waves with his new team. Revis has fit nicely in the Patriots' scheme so far, and he looks primed for a bounce-back season.
Signed this offseason to add some veteran experience to New Orleans' secondary, Champ Bailey has really impressed so far at Saints' OTAs. Rob Ryan loves what he's seeing out of Bailey, and it looks like the veteran corner could end up playing an important role for New Orleans.
For the second year in a row, Rueben Randle is showing up big at Giants' OTAs. The difference this time is Randle finally looks ready to make a consistent impact. Randle has impressive athletic ability, and with improved receiving skills, he will make an impact.
This one is surprising to say the least. Stephen Hill has been an absolute bust for the New York Jets thus far, but he's apparently tearing it up at OTAs. Although I'm not sure that Hill will translate his success so far into the regular season, his progress is still encouraging.
Drafted with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2013 draft, D.J. Hayden failed to live up to expectations last season but he appears ready to thrive in his second season. Hayden is a ball-hawk and his performance at practices so far could lead to big things in 2014.
As the consensus second-best tight end available in last year's draft, Zach Ertz looks ready to break out. Ertz has improved as a receiver, and when you add that to his already-solid blocking ability, it's easy to see why Ertz has been doing so well.
In what was one of the best decisions of the first round, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ryan Shazier, a disruptive linebacker out of Ohio State. Through OTAs so far, that appears to be a great move. Shazier is making plays all over the field, and he is making a case to play significant snaps for the team next season.
Although he had a disappointing rookie season for the San Diego Chargers, Manti Te'o looks much improved so far this offseason. Te'o has improved in coverage and in his technique, and he's primed for a sophomore breakout.
One of the best rookies in the league last season, Eric Reid entrenched himself as the long-term starting free safety for the San Francisco 49ers. And with his performance so far, Reid is also cementing himself as a player who looks like a perennial All-Pro.
Although he's been a huge bust for the Seattle Seahawks since he was drafted, James Carpenter is finally showing progress in OTAs for the team. Carpenter showed some potential down the stretch last season, so is it possible he's finally turning the corner?
Although it seemed as though Zac Stacy has the St. Louis Rams' running back spot locked up, Tre Mason is giving him a run for his money. Mason was wildly productive for Auburn in college, and his OTA performance has been fantastic. It's entirely possible Mason ends up starting for the team.
Arguably the best defensive tackle in the NFL, Gerald McCoy is enjoying some great OTA showings. McCoy is a physical force, and his combination of speed and strength will allow him to have another great season in 2014.
2014 is the biggest season of Jake Locker's NFL career to this point, and apparently he's showing up big so far. Locker is throwing the ball stronger and more accurately than ever, and if everything continues to go this well, Locker could prove himself to be the Titans' QB of the future.
Signed this offseason from the rival Philadelphia Eagles, DeSean Jackson has provided Washington with some firepower so far in OTAs. Jackson is an elite playmaker, and he is showing it so far for Washington.
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