- Jan 22, 2006
- Reaction score
Here are 10 players who could produce breakout years in 2006
By Matt Lowe
With every NFL season, there are always a number of surprise performers that contribute immensely to a team's overall production. Usually these are second or third-year players who have finally matured enough to compete consistently on the NFL level.
This is a watch list of 10 players that could finally be ready to reach there potential and establishes themselves as productive NFL players.
1) Running back Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams. Jackson, is unusually fast for his 6-2, 231-pound frame, but has not quiet lived up to his lofty expectations. Rookie head coach Scott Linehan likes to have a balanced offense centralized on the running game. With Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce stretching the field, look for Jackson to have his best season as a pro in the Rams high-powered offense.
2) Wide receiver Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons. White is a hard-working player who will do whatever it takes to succeed. He has added muscle this off-season and looks ready to be the Falcons go-to receiver. Two words to describe White: football player.
3) Quarterback Chris Simms, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Simms threw for 2,035 yards last season in just 10 games. He led the Bucs to a playoff birth and firmly established himself as a leader on a talented young offense. Expect Simms to pass for over 3,500 yards this season and be amongst the league leaders in touchdown passes.
4) Quarterback Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville Jaguars. Leftwich is entering his fourth season as the Jags starting quarterback but hasn't posted the huge season that has often been expected. With running back Fred Taylor often injured and battering-ram Greg Jones still developing, who's to say the lack of a consistent ground-game isn't to blame for not allowing the passing game to develop? Leftwich has been hearing the gossip that he's not a star player, so that's why he'll show the rest of the league he is.
5) Quarterback Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers. Rivers is a tough leader who commands the respect of his teammates. With all the weapons at his disposal, Drew Brees will soon be a distant memory. Keep in mind, Rivers was the MVP of five bowl games in college. Tell me he's not a winner.
6) Running back Kevin Jones, Detroit Lions. Jones is a speed-demon with enormous potential. Unfortunately he has been playing for a team that has no clue. With the addition of quarterback Josh McCown, via Arizona, Jones will bounce back and the Lions will be a surprise team. Yes, the Lions a surprise team!
7) Tight end Ben Troupe, Tennessee Titans. The 6-4, 270-pound Troupe has a freakish amount of athletic ability. He is very fast, has excellent hands and possesses surprisingly good running ability after the catch. Look for Troupe to improve on his 55 receptions and four touchdown catches of a year ago.
8) Running back Chester Taylor, Minnesota Vikings. Taylor should be a perfect fit for new coach Brad Childress and the West Coast offense. Taylor has great speed (which should be even better on turf) and excellent catching ability coming out of the backfield, which are sound qualities for a running back in the West Coast system. Taylor will also benefit from the addition of gutsy fullback Tony Richardson, who is arguably the best fullback in the NFL.
9) Running back Cedric Benson, Chicago Bears. The Monsters of the Midway like to pound opposing teams with the running game and play stellar defense to win ballgames. Enter backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Benson was plagued by injuries last season, but the Bears have a lot of money invested in him. Look for Benson to emerge as the starter by the third or fourth game and never turn back.
10) Running back Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers. Gore looks to be fully healthy after a series of injury plagued seasons that stem back to his college days at Miami. Gore led the 49ers in rushing last season, which also included a 72-yard scoring run. This guy is a stud when healthy, and now he finally is.
There is no doubt that these players are loaded with potential, but the NFL is a tough league and the success of these players depends highly on their motivation to achieve greatness.