Top 5 2nd Year Players at Each Position: QB and RB
1. Andrew Luck–
-Not only should Luck just continue to naturally develop, but three other factors work in his favor. TY Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Vick Ballard and Coby Fleener should all develop (and Fleener should be healthier). Also the Colts have brought in two starting caliber offensive linemen to help protect Luck. Finally, and perhaps the most important thing, the Colts tapped former Stanford coach Pep Hamilton as their new offensive coordinator. Not only is he familiar with Luck, but I’d expect an offense that reflects the TE strength of this offense. Luck will probably have a better completion percentage and a lower interception rate, while maintaining high yards and TD’s.
2. Russell Wilson–
-Wilson is a two way threat, who really didn’t get a chance to “break out” until the 2nd half of the year. In weeks 9-16, Wilson saw an increase in everything across the board, yards per attempt, completion percentage TD/INT ratio, rushing average and rushing touchdowns. He also continued to showcase those abilities into the playoffs showing that perhaps it isn’t a fluke. Seattle has also added a big weapon in Percy Harvin which should help increase Wilson’s passing numbers.
3. Robert Griffin III–
-It’s tough to figure out where to place Griffin until we know how the injury will affect him. The good news is that even without the scrambling Griffin was a very good passer last year, so if he isn’t as mobile he can still be a nice fantasy option. On the downside is the Redskins were a run first team last year, so Griffin’s passing numbers might not be enough to make him a top tier QB for next year. Also there is the real concern that he could miss some time.
4. Ryan Tannehill–
-Tannehill picked the wrong year to be a rookie quarterback last season as his numbers pale in comparison to guys like Luck, Griffin and Wilson. That being said though his numbers weren’t too shabby historically for a rookie quarterback. Tannehill should expect to see an increase in passing attempts year two, and he should also benefit from a much greater collection of weapons around him, especially with free agent acquisition Mike Wallace. The offensive line is still a question mark, but if they draft wisely and add a free agent or two, Tannehill could have the support that he needs.
5. Brandon Weeden–
-It was very much a forgettable rookie year for Brandon Weeden, but I wouldn’t close the book just yet for Weeden this season. He is going from a passing attack that didn’t fit his strengths at all, to one that he’s a really great fit for. With Norv Turner’s offense Weeden should be able to throw downfield more and operate quite a bit more out of shotgun, two things that are his strengths. Add in a developing group of receivers (though they could still use some upgrades), and a strong offensive line and Weeden should have some surrounding talent. Another thing in his favor should be a vastly improved defense. Not only will this help from a field position standpoint, but it should keep games closer, which should help keep opposing defenses from keying in on the pass too soon.
1. Alfred Morris–
-Morris came out of nowhere to have a huge rookie campaign. Though his carries may drop a bit, he should still have a big year next season. Mike Shanahan has always been a run first guy, and will keep riding a hot hand throughout a game. Morris will need to be relied upon more given Griffin’s injury concerns, and may even get more goalline attempts, which should see his TD’s rise.
2. Doug Martin–
-Martin started out a little slow, but really turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises among rookies as the season wore on. The Buccaneers should once again feature the ground game giving Martin plenty of chances. He should get quite a boost as well with the return of starting guards Davin Joseph (16 games) and Carl Nicks (9 games), who missed a combined 25 games last season, coming back this season.
3. Trent Richardson–
-It wasn’t the rookie year Richardson or Browns fans were hoping for, but there is plenty of promise for year two. Richardson is still the feature back and should get plenty of carries and receptions in this offense. Also if Weeden and the recievers develop as expected, Richardson should find some more running room. Finally with an improved defense, Richardson should still be a factor later in games this season.
4. Vick Ballard-
-Ballard was a 5th round pick from the Colts last year, and despite not getting the starting job until mid October, still managed to put up 814 rushing yards and 152 receiving yards. He goes into this year as the projected feature back and should see a boost to his numbers. Both the added linemen and the fact that the offense will probably be tweaked some to favor the run work in his favor.
5. David Wilson–
-An early fumble in week one got Wilson in the doghouse which limited his rookie production. He did get some chances late in the year and put up good numbers and showed the big play running/receiving ability that landed him in the first round. Though as typical with Giants running backs, he’ll split the carries somewhat, he’s the best bet to be the featured back and should get over 1,000 rushing yards. The big x-factor will be how much of a receiver he will be, as he could add 50+ catches and 500 or more yards catching the football as well.