By Connor Fulton @ConnorFultonRS on August 9, 2014
With the first preseason games of 2014 in the books, we are getting closer to real football. A lot still has to be figured out on all 32 rosters, but let’s shift our focus to the league’s stars. Here are 10 standout players who are ready for big seasons in 2014.
At age 37, Tom Brady is no spring chicken, but his uncharacteristic 2013 statistics shouldn’t be taken at face value, as he was throwing to a largely wide-eyed, inexperienced group of pass catchers. Look for Brady to make magic happen with a receiving corps that has shown steady improvement this offseason as he chases that pesky fourth ring.
Anyone who saw DeMarcus Ware’s dominant performance this week against the Seattle Seahawks knows he is primed for big things in 2014. It would be pretty surprising if Ware didn’t put up double-digit sack numbers. Really, he should be in the ballpark of 15 quarterback takedowns.
With Josh Gordon’s status for 2014 in doubt, Jordan Cameron is the focal point of the Cleveland Browns’ passing offense. His blend of size and athleticism compares to elite tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.
If there’s any player who's resistant to the Madden cover curse, it’s Richard Sherman. Look for the Stanford graduate to continue to talk the talk and walk the walk as the league’s most spellbinding figure.
The package deal of extremely high production and consistency is hard to come by at the wide receiving position, but year in and year out, Brandon Marshall puts up jaw-dropping numbers. He’s posted five triple-digit reception seasons, and there is no reason to believe why that will change this year, barring injury.
If the St. Louis Rams weren’t in such a small market, Robert Quinn would be a household name. He’s improved steadily each season, from 5.0 to 10.5 to 19.0 sacks in 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively. You can bet that the reigning NFC sacks leader has his eyes set on Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Aaron Rodgers will be eager to make up for lost time after playing in only 10 games last season. Now that the Green Bay Packers have a solid running game piloted by Eddie Lacy, Rodgers will torment defensive coordinators with the play-action.
The third year is designated as the time when a player fully grows into his own, so expectations are high for Andrew Luck in 2014. With a stacked wide receiver group featuring a rejuvenated Hakeem Nicks, Luck should be viewed as a dark horse candidate for the MVP award.
Circle Oct. 19 and Dec. 28 on your calendar — that’s when Brandon Flowers will face off the Kansas City Chiefs, who surprisingly released the Pro Bowl cornerback this offseason. Players love to prove their former teams wrong, so Flowers’ motivation has to be through the roof right now.
The tragedy of last year’s preseason, Jeremy Maclin hasn’t played in a meaningful NFL game for about a year and a half. Needless to say, he will be eager to prove that he is fully capable of being the main man in the Eagles’ passing attack after the departure of DeSean Jackson.
March 31, 2015 by Calvin Cress
It's going to be a rough offseason for some of the Oakland Raiders' veterans who haven't been cutting it. Read More
March 30, 2015 by Keith Alrick
Here are five players that the Carolina Panthers should target in the first round of the NFL Draft. Read More
March 30, 2015 by Clyde A. Speller
How well did the Chicago Bears' top free agents of 2015 grade? Take a look. Read More
March 30, 2015 by Doug Green
The Philadelphia Eagles' decision to extend DeMeco Ryans today is an excellent move that solidifies the middle of their defense. Read More
March 30, 2015 by Gil Alcaraz IV
Hindsight is 20/20. If we knew what we know now, what would the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft have looked like? Read More
March 30, 2015 by Brad Berreman
The Green Bay Packers re-signed DT B.J. Raji on Monday, but barring something unforeseen there is no upside in the move. Read More
March 30, 2015 by Nick Sardina
The Seattle Seahawks don't have a pick in the first round of the NFL draft because of the trade for Jimmy Graham, but should target these players when they make their first selection. Read More
March 30, 2015 by Kelly Anderson
Here's a look at the Dallas Cowboys' grades for their biggest offseason moves this year. Read More