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Bottom 16 Skill-Player Groups

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Injury Roundup: Week 3
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Chet Gresham takes a look at Sunday's injuries in the NFL

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB: Josh Freeman > Dan Orlovsky > Adam Weber
RB: Doug Martin > Brian Leonard > LeGarrette Blount > Michael Smith
WR: Vincent Jackson > Mike Williams > Tiquan Underwood > Kevin Ogletree
TE: Luke Stocker > Tom Crabtree > Nate Byham > Drake Dunsmore

Skill Player Overview: Freeman's 2012 touchdown-to-interception ratio and yardage stats look pretty on paper, but the tape tells another tale. While Freeman can muscle throws downfield, his short to intermediate accuracy is the most scattershot in the league and his performance tends to go in the toilet under duress. It's not surprising the Bucs are letting Freeman enter his contract year without an extension. The jury is very much out on whether he's a long-term answer.

The biggest positives in this group are versatile workhorse Martin -- who was truly sensational as a rookie -- and physical downfield specialist Jackson. Jackson, and to a lesser extent Williams, deserve a large majority of the credit for Freeman's stats, regularly winning contested vertical shots. Williams is solid in the No. 2 receiver role. Tight end is a weakness, as the Bucs lack a passing-game weapon there. No. 3 wideout is another hole. Ogletree is thoroughly ineffective and Underwood can run but does little else well. This skill-player corps remains a work in progress.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Stocker. The draft will go a long way toward telling us whether the Bucs believe Stocker is a capable starter. Popularly compared to fellow former Tennessee Vol Jason Witten coming out of college, Stocker has managed just 28 receptions and 9.2 yards per catch through 30 NFL games. He's been primarily a blocker to this point, albeit a good one. Crabtree is another blocker-slash-special teamer. The Bucs are not bringing back free agent Dallas Clark.

18. Kansas City Chiefs

QB: Alex Smith > Chase Daniel > Ricky Stanzi > Alex Tanney
RB: Jamaal Charles > Shaun Draughn > Cyrus Gray
WR: Dwayne Bowe > Donnie Avery > Dexter McCluster > Jon Baldwin
TE: Anthony Fasano > Tony Moeaki > Kevin Brock

Skill Player Overview: While Smith lacks top-end quarterback talent -- his arm is average and he's not a plus-yardage scrambling threat -- the Chiefs aren't going to ask him to carry their team. New coach Andy Reid will expect high-percentage passing and low turnover rates. In Reid's West Coast attack, the objective will be to get the ball in Bowe and Charles' hands for run-after-catch opportunities. Charles can expect a reduction in rushing attempts under pass-first Reid, but will shatter his previous career high in receptions and can be a dynamic game changer in space. Bowe is one of the three best short to intermediate receivers Reid has ever coached, behind only Sterling Sharpe (1992-1994) and Terrell Owens (2004-2005).

No. 2 receiver will be up for grabs, with drop-prone deep threat Avery, slot/gadget guy McCluster, and Baldwin in the hunt. Baldwin was drafted 26th overall in 2011, but has been a bust to this point in his career and will be handed nothing under Kansas City's new regime. He may even be a candidate for trade. Along with Baldwin, Moeaki is a wild card with an undefined role. The Chiefs paid Fasano $16 million over four seasons and Reid has never gone heavy on two-tight end sets.

2013 Breakout Candidate: McCluster. Reid loved McCluster before the 2010 draft and likely would've selected him at No. 37 overall had ex-Chiefs GM Scott Pioli not plucked McCluster at 36. Through three NFL seasons, McCluster has been a man without a home, shuttling between slot receiver and running back. Perhaps offensive guru Reid will figure out how to use McCluster productively. He was entirely ineffective under former coordinators Brian Daboll and Bill Muir.

19. Minnesota Vikings

QB: Christian Ponder > Matt Cassel > Joe Webb > McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB: Adrian Peterson > Toby Gerhart > Matt Asiata > Joe Banyard
WR: Greg Jennings > Jerome Simpson > Jarius Wright > Stephen Burton
TE: Kyle Rudolph > John Carlson > Rhett Ellison > Chase Ford

Skill Player Overview: The 12th pick in the 2011 draft, Ponder has been widely written off as a bust nationally after a truly putrid nine-game stretch last season (Weeks 7-16) where he completed 140-of-245 passes (57.1 percent) for just 1,267 yards (5.17 YPA!), and a 7:8 TD-to-INT ratio with two lost fumbles. This is obviously a cherry-picked stat, but Ponder completed 67.2 percent with a 7.01 YPA, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions in his other seven starts. I'm probably one of the few football analysts yet to throw in the towel on Ponder. I've watched a lot of his tape and I think he has a better arm than given credit for with plus accuracy and athleticism.

The Vikings badly need a No. 2 wide receiver -- they'll likely draft one -- but the rest of the skill-player group looks strong. Peterson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer with at least two monster seasons left. Jennings doesn't stretch the field quite like he used to, but his hands and patterns are among the most reliable in football. Rudolph isn't as explosive as the Gronkowskis, Grahams, and Hernandezes, but he's as good as any of them in scoring position. Wright is a promising 23-year-old slot receiver who flashed some big-play ability as a rookie. The Vikings could vault into the high teens among skill-position units if Ponder (simply?) becomes Chad Pennington.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Wright. The former Arkansas Razorback's breakout chances will diminish if Minnesota drafts a first-round receiver, which seems likely. Wright's role should grow regardless. The 2012 third-rounder is blessed with explosive receiving ability inside the numbers and averaged 14.1 yards per catch as a rookie, also flashing some deep threat tools.

20. Philadelphia Eagles

QB: Michael Vick > Nick Foles > Dennis Dixon > G.J. Kinne
RB: LeSean McCoy > Bryce Brown > Chris Polk
WR: DeSean Jackson > Jeremy Maclin > Jason Avant > Arrelious Benn
TE: James Casey > Brent Celek > Clay Harbor > Evan Moore

Skill Player Overview: At pre-draft minicamp, Eagles players talked up Chip Kelly as if he will take the league by storm, getting playmakers McCoy and Jackson into space and allowing the weapons to play fast and "free." It's not out of the question that Kelly's offense could rejuvenate Vick at age 33, although his recent performance, persistent durability woes, and a forthcoming camp battle make quarterback look like a liability on this roster. Because it's the most important position on the field, a skill-position group with major QB question marks can't rank particularly high. The Eagles have explosive pieces, but they're best approached with a wait-and-see mindset.

Maclin has been a disappointment as the 19th pick in the 2009 draft, showing an inability to stay healthy or play physically when he is on the field. Vick has 30 interceptions and 32 fumbles over the past three seasons, and Kelly won't hesitate to bench him if Vick's ball security remains problematic. Kelly places a heavy emphasis on ball handling at quarterback. Jackson is entering year six of his career and has been unable to maintain -- let alone build upon -- the fast start to his career. The backfield is the clear strength of Kelly's skill group. McCoy is a versatile feature back with some of the NFL's best lateral shake. Brown was exceptionally raw as a rookie, but offers great speed and natural power. Kelly's offense is run-based. McCoy and Brown will be his foundation.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Casey. Misused as a fullback by Gary Kubiak's staff, Casey will essentially play receiver in Philadelphia. Kelly's run game succeeded at Oregon due to brilliant usage of on-field spacing, flooding the grass with four wideouts to create favorable matchups. Casey will be one of two slot receivers, perhaps along with Avant or Benn. At 6-foot-3, 246 with great hands, Casey drew Dallas Clark comparisons coming out of Rice. He'll finally get his chance to play like Clark.

21. Miami Dolphins

QB: Ryan Tannehill > Matt Moore > Pat Devlin
RB: Lamar Miller > Daniel Thomas > Marcus Thigpen > Jonas Gray
WR: Mike Wallace > Brian Hartline > Brandon Gibson > Davone Bess
TE: Dustin Keller > Charles Clay > Michael Egnew > Kyle Miller

Skill Player Overview: The statistics didn't cooperate due to glaring deficiencies in Miami's supporting cast, but Tannehill looked every bit the part of a future franchise quarterback in his rookie season. He is smart, athletic, accurate with a plus arm, and handled the underrated pre-snap phase like a savvy veteran. Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, who is obviously on the hot seat entering the final year of his contract, desperately attacked the skill positions in 2013 free agency. Ireland signed Keller, Wallace, and Gibson, and re-signed Hartline for a combined $48.5 million in guaranteed money.

All things considered, Wallace was probably the best value of the group. Otherwise, they signed a bunch of mediocre players. Keller is coming off an atrocious season, while Gibson is a classic just-a-guy receiver without separation or run-after-catch skills. Hartline also doesn't get open consistently. Lacking playmaking ability, Hartline scored one touchdown on 74 catches last season. He has reached pay dirt just twice over his last 42 games. Under Ireland, the Dolphins have consistently overrated and misevaluated their internal talent. They did it with Chad Henne. They're doing it now with Hartline and Thomas, the latter of whom is a significant on-field liability.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Miller. It's impossible to not be intrigued by Miller's explosive run talent, but the Dolphins are essentially handing the feature back role to a fourth-round pick who struggled with the playbook and blitz protection as a rookie while earning only 51 carries. The competition-free commitment to Miller is head scratching to say the least. Still, if Miller is going to run the ball 250-plus times, he'll be an obvious breakout candidate. His one-cut style fits Miami's zone scheme, and Miller's 4.40 forty led all running backs at the 2012 Combine.


22. Cincinnati Bengals

QB: Andy Dalton > John Skelton > Josh Johnson > Zac Robinson
RB: BenJarvus Green-Ellis > Bernard Scott > Cedric Peerman > Dan Herron
WR: A.J. Green > Mohamed Sanu > Andrew Hawkins > Marvin Jones
TE: Jermaine Gresham > Alex Smith > Orson Charles > Richard Quinn

Skill Player Overview: The Bengals' skill corps returns intact, which isn't necessarily a good thing. The offense had a hindering effect on Cincinnati's 2012 season, failing to generate big plays outside of up-for-grabs bombs to Green that became less and less frequent as the year went on. Dalton is limited in terms of both arm talent and athleticism and is dependent on a strong run game to be successful. He had that only in brief spurts last year. Dalton has now regressed as the season has progressed in back-to-back years. Over the final six games of 2012 -- including Cincinnati's second straight one-and-done playoff berth -- Dalton completed 106-of-184 passes (57.6 percent) for 1,027 yards (5.58 YPA), and a 4:6 TD-to-INT ratio. Dalton did not improve as a second-year pro, particularly in terms of his reaction to blitzes and hesitancy to pull the trigger.

Cincinnati brutally miscast Green-Ellis as a franchise back. His strengths are short yardage and getting what's blocked as opposed to carrying a ground game. He's a role player. Scott is coming off a torn ACL. Since owner Mike Brown refused to open his pocketbook in free agency, the Bengals must draft a running back with playmaking ability. Sanu flashed reliable possession-receiver skills and red-zone chops as a rookie before getting injured. Hawkins didn't play enough snaps. Gresham lacks the athletic movement skills he was billed to have coming out of college, and so far has not come remotely close to meeting expectations of the 21st pick in the 2010 draft.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Sanu. Green tilts coverage, meaning he opens up the field for others. Defenses either must bracket Green or at the very least keep a safety over the top at all times. The Bengals fruitlessly tinkered with Brandon Tate and Armon Binns at No. 2 receiver early last season, until giving Sanu his shot in Week 10. He delivered 11 receptions and four touchdowns over a three-game stretch before suffering a stress fracture in his left foot. That scoring rate is obviously unsustainable on a 16-game schedule, but Sanu will draw consistently favorable coverage and is a quality short to intermediate complement to Dalton's sub-average arm.

23. St. Louis Rams

QB: Sam Bradford > Austin Davis > Kellen Clemens
RB: Daryl Richardson > Isaiah Pead > Terrance Ganaway > Chase Reynolds
WR: Chris Givens > Brian Quick > Austin Pettis > Nicholas Johnson
TE: Jared Cook > Lance Kendricks > Cory Harkey > Mike McNeill

Skill Player Overview: The Rams are only 1 1/2 offseasons into the Jeff Fisher/Les Snead regime, and in that brief amount of time appear to have done a terrific job of improving the roster. Whether Bradford's development picks up pace and his on-field performance overcomes maddening early-career inconsistency will be the true indicators of St. Louis’ 2013 offensive product. They have a fascinating and logical plan in place to help him get there.

Letting Danny Amendola and Steven Jackson go in favor of Cook while increasing the roles of early 20-somethings Pead, Richardson, Givens, and Quick signals an attempt by the Rams to create bigger plays on offense. As good of ballplayers as Amendola and Jackson were, they didn't offer big-play ability. They were chain movers. Amendola averages 8.8 yards per catch in his career. Cook averages 13.1. Givens averaged 16.6 as a rookie. Jackson averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2012. Richardson and Pead combined to average 4.9. The Rams want to get the ball outside the numbers and downfield, and Snead and Fisher are eyeballing explosive "splash" plays in the run game. They now seem to have pieces to do that. This is a skill group long on potential, but short on production. At this time next year, perhaps we'll reevaluate the offensive corps and deem it top 15.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Cook. Essentially Amendola's replacement, Cook will play slot and outside receiver in OC Brian Schottenheimer's offense, floating around the formation in an effort to create mismatches versus linebackers and safeties. Fisher coached Cook in Nashville and realizes he isn't an in-line blocker. Cook's $35 million contract indicates the Rams will funnel offense through him at the intermediate and deep levels, which is where Cook's 4.49 straight-line speed causes big problems. Despite ranking 24th in 2012 targets among tight ends -- and forty first in snaps played -- Cook led all of them in 25-plus-yard catches. He is a big-play weapon.

24. Arizona Cardinals

QB: Carson Palmer > Drew Stanton > Brian Hoyer > Ryan Lindley
RB: Rashard Mendenhall > Ryan Williams > William Powell > Alfonso Smith
WR: Larry Fitzgerald > Andre Roberts > Michael Floyd > LaRon Byrd
TE: Rob Housler > Jeff King > Jim Dray > Kory Sperry

Skill Player Overview: Opening running lanes and protecting cement-footed Palmer are far bigger concerns for Arizona than this skill-position corps. Bruce Arians has some pieces. Palmer is a statue and lacks the arm power he once possessed, but he can drive the ball downfield and into tight windows, making him a system fit under Arians. Palmer will play with the best wideout corps he's had since Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh's prime years. Fitzgerald has become all but a forgotten man, but he's still a top-seven NFL receiver at age 30. Roberts is a versatile Z and slot weapon, capable of playing the old Antonio Brown/T.Y. Hilton role in Arians' scheme. Floyd's snaps are in for a leap with Early Doucet gone. Arians loves to go three wide.

Mendenhall and Williams ooze talent, but in each case it's yet to be fulfilled. The good news is both running backs are still young, with Mendenhall going on 26 and Williams having just turned 24. If the Cardinals hit on one of those two players, they'll be golden at running back. While Mendenhall is the favorite to start Week 1, Williams should not be counted out. When healthy, Williams is a highly physical inside runner with explosive, space-creating lateral moves and short-area burst. When the 2013 season starts, Williams will be 25 months removed from his ruptured right patellar tendon. Mendenhall will be 20 months removed from his January 1 of 2011 ACL tear.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Housler. A 2011 third-rounder out of Florida Atlantic, Housler ran the fastest forty time (4.55) among tight ends at his Combine. He also has vine-like 34 1/2-inch arms and a 37-inch vertical, creating a massive catch radius. While Arians' scheme has never been overly tight end-friendly -- Heath Miller and Dwayne Allen's numbers were pedestrian in Pittsburgh and Indy -- it's worth noting that Palmer peppered Brandon Myers for team highs in targets (101) and catches (79) in Oakland last year. They were among the most efficient quarterback-tight end tandems in football, and Housler has considerably more talent than Myers.

25. San Diego Chargers

QB: Philip Rivers > Charlie Whitehurst
RB: Ryan Mathews > Danny Woodhead > Ronnie Brown > Edwin Baker
WR: Danario Alexander > Malcom Floyd > Vincent Brown > Robert Meachem
TE: Antonio Gates > John Phillips > Ladarius Green > Dallas Walker

Skill Player Overview: A leaky line and receiver disappointments deserve partial blame, but Rivers' physical fade has been noticeable and dramatic over the past two seasons. I did a tape study of Rivers in the 2012 offseason and was very discouraged by his floating short to intermediate throws and dying deep balls. Rivers' arm strength did not improve in 2012, and his pocket composure got worse. At this stage of his career, Rivers is an immobile, weak-armed liability. He's off the radar among top-15 NFL quarterbacks, and he might not even be top 20.

The rest of the skill group has some talent, but question marks abound. Mathews is the NFL's most injury-prone back outside of Oakland. He's also seemingly mentally incapable of playing on passing downs. Alexander finished strong in 2012 and is a big body with some vertical tools, but he's undergone five left knee surgeries and never played a full NFL season. Floyd is a low-end No. 2 wide receiver at best. Meachem was a colossal free-agent bust. A sure-handed ball catcher with great route-running ability, Brown has the skill set of an ideal Z receiver. Unfortunately, he's been all potential and no production to this point in his career. Gates turns 33 in July. He needs to learn to rely more on timing and box-out moves than speed at this stage. Gates also spent too much time on the line blocking last season, attempting to compensate for a brutal offensive line.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Brown. The 82nd pick in the 2011 draft, Brown has missed 18-of-32 games through two seasons while battling a quad strain and fractured left ankle that cost him all of 2012. Coming out of San Diego State, Brown drew comparisons to Derrick Mason for his reliable playing style. He's also been talked up by new head coach Mike McCoy, which is a promising sign. Brown should have every opportunity to unseat Floyd for the No. 2 wideout job.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers

QB: Ben Roethlisberger > Bruce Gradkowski > John Parker Wilson
RB: Jonathan Dwyer > Isaac Redman > Baron Batch
WR: Antonio Brown > Emmanuel Sanders > Jerricho Cotchery > Plaxico Burress
TE: Heath Miller > Matt Spaeth > David Johnson > David Paulson

Skill Player Overview: It's easy to forget Roethlisberger was on pace for statistical career highs across the board before severe rib and shoulder injuries torpedoed his 2012 season at the halfway point. Now entering his second year on the job, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley faces the tall task of replacing premier playmakers Mike Wallace and Miller. (Miller tore his right ACL, MCL, and PCL in Week 16 last season and is a candidate to open the year on PUP.) Big Ben, Brown, and to a lesser extent Sanders are the Pittsburgh skill-position corps' only established positives. Haley needs a starting running back and likely a starting tight end, too.

While Dwyer had some good moments early in 2012, Steelers management has determined he isn't a viable feature back. He struggles in the passing game, and lacks quick feet and explosive burst. Redman is a strong blitz protector, but plods in the run game and offers little to no big-play ability. GM Kevin Colbert must find at least two offensive weapons in the draft, and arguably three.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Sanders. The Patriots made an aggressive run at Sanders in restricted free agency, indicating he is well regarded around the league. While New England has been ineffective in its evaluation of college receivers, Bill Belichick's club has hit homeruns on veteran acquisitions from Wes Welker to Randy Moss. They wouldn't have pursued Sanders if they didn't think he could ball. Sanders ran 4.41 coming out of SMU and will replace Wallace at X receiver. Haley's offense is very receiver-friendly, setting up Sanders for a potential career year.


27. Cleveland Browns

QB: Brandon Weeden > Jason Campbell > Thaddeus Lewis
RB: Trent Richardson > Montario Hardesty > Dion Lewis > Chris Ogbonnaya
WR: Josh Gordon > Greg Little > David Nelson > Travis Benjamin
TE: Jordan Cameron > Kellen Davis > Gary Barnidge > Dan Gronkowski

Skill Player Overview: The Browns are a franchise quarterback away from being serious playoff contenders. They're also a quarterback away from fielding a respectable skill-player group. The good news is new coach Rob Chudzinski has a background in maximizing the performance of big-armed passers who lack athleticism (e.g. Derek Anderson, 2007 Pro Bowler). Weeden throws the football with power and velocity, but is a statue with iffy pocket presence. Already entering his age-30 season, it's probable that this year will make or break Weeden's NFL career.

Richardson's 2012 YPC average of 3.56 isn't indicative of the kind of back he is. He underwent two knee surgeries before the season, robbing Richardson of his explosive burst, and played through multiple rib fractures. He should have more bounce in his 2013 step. Gordon's body type and movement skills are reminiscent of early-career Andre Johnson. His all-around game is still developing at age 22, but Gordon has a chance to be a special vertical threat in Chudzinski's vertical offense. Little has been somewhat disappointing as a 2011 second-rounder, but is only 24 and is now a third-year wide receiver. College basketball player Cameron showed well as a blocker and hands catcher behind Ben Watson last season. He's now penciled in as a starter.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Cameron. At the 2011 Combine, Cameron ran a 4.59 forty with a 37.5-inch vertical at 6-foot-5, 254. He is highly athletic. Cameron was efficient off the bench last season, recording 20 receptions and only two drops. He mixed in a handful big plays down the seam, looking smooth in the open field. A former tight end himself, Chudzinski has either been the position coach, coordinator, or head coach of Kellen Winslow, Greg Olsen, and Antonio Gates in each of their most productive years. Along with new playcaller Norv Turner's, Chud's offense is tight end-friendly. Cameron now needs the Browns to avoid early-round tight ends in the draft.

28. Tennessee Titans

QB: Jake Locker > Ryan Fitzpatrick > Rusty Smith > Nate Enderle
RB: Chris Johnson > Shonn Greene > Jamie Harper > Darius Reynaud
WR: Kenny Britt > Kendall Wright > Kevin Walter > Damian Williams
TE: Delanie Walker > Craig Stevens > Taylor Thompson > Brandon Barden

Skill Player Overview: Last offseason I went back and studied every snap Locker took during his five-game rookie year. I charted every throw. I loved what I saw. Locker has a rocket arm and is a big-play runner. He made accurate, big-time downfield throws to Nate Washington and Jared Cook. With hindsight to crosscheck, that sample size was far too small. Locker's first season as the starter was a nightmare. He got injured twice, his accuracy was brutal, and he was frenetic in the pocket. Locker showed few signs of promise. I would now lean toward predicting he will be a bust. Even if Locker stays healthy this year, I anticipate Fitzpatrick making starts.

Johnson is regressing entering his age-28 season, which may be his last in Nashville because he's owed a non-guaranteed $8 million salary in 2014. Johnson loves to throw his line under the bus for the Titans' lack of rushing consistency, but he deserves more blame. He runs soft and is unwilling to fight for yards. Johnson remains plenty explosive when he wants to be, but he has devolved into a boom-or-bust back who is ineffective more often than not. The Titans have good-looking receiver talent on paper, but Britt is an annual underachiever and the coaching staff didn't use Wright correctly last season. The Walker signing was a head scratcher. He can block, but is maddeningly drop prone and at 6-foot, 242 not particularly difficult for linebackers and safeties to cover.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Britt. We've been waiting for Britt to break out for four years. He's only teased. Off-field issues, quarterback woes, and hard-luck injuries have prevented Britt from reaching his sky-high ceiling, including multiple 2012 knee surgeries that rendered Britt a shell of his usual game-breaking self. For the first time in his pro career, Britt is enjoying a healthy offseason, and he's entering a contract year. This star-crossed player is beyond "due" to ball out.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

QB: Blaine Gabbert > Chad Henne
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew > Justin Forsett > Montell Owens > Jordan Todman
WR: Cecil Shorts > Justin Blackmon > Jordan Shipley > Mohamed Massaquoi
TE: Marcedes Lewis > Allen Reisner > Brett Brackett > Matt Veldman

Skill Player Overview: I have no idea whether Jags rookie GM Dave Caldwell intends to seriously consider West Virginia's Geno Smith with the No. 2 pick. I do feel like it would have to be awfully tempting considering how ineffective 2011 No. 10 selection Gabbert has been through two seasons. Gabbert had poor pocket presence and was a checkdown machine at Missouri, and both of those qualities have followed him into the pros. Henne has been given opportunity after opportunity by Florida NFL teams and consistently shown he's not a long-term solution. Henne lacks athleticism and doesn't trust his arm. For what it's worth, he is slightly better than Gabbert.

Aside from Eugene Monroe, the strength of Jacksonville's offense is out wide. In just his second season, Shorts displayed top-end route-running chops while ranking second in the NFL in yards per reception (17.8). He has a chance to be a very good player. Blackmon struggled to get open early in his rookie year, but came on in the second half with 38 catches for 615 yards and four touchdowns over the final seven games -- numbers that extrapolate to an 87/1,406/16.2/9 line across 16. New OC Jedd Fisch's West Coast offense plays to Blackmon's run-after-catch and strong-handed strengths. Jags stalwarts Jones-Drew and Lewis can usually be counted on for quality impact, although MJD is recovering from foot surgery and Lewis is not a big-play threat.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Blackmon. He's going to need more consistent quarterback play to become a consistent producer, but Blackmon looked every bit the top-five pick ex-GM Gene Smith made him down the 2012 stretch. Blackmon is not a vertically explosive receiver and lacks elite separation skills, but his after-catch power and reliable mitts make Blackmon arguably an even better scheme fit for Fisch than Shorts. He could emerge as Jacksonville's go-to guy.

30. Buffalo Bills

QB: Kevin Kolb > Tarvaris Jackson > Aaron Corp
RB: C.J. Spiller > Fred Jackson > Tashard Choice > Zach Brown
WR: Stevie Johnson > T.J. Graham > Brad Smith > Marcus Easley
TE: Scott Chandler > Lee Smith > Mike Caussin > Joe Sawyer

Skill Player Overview: Kolb is a band-aid quarterback. He's capable of keeping an offense competitive if well protected, but isn't anybody's idea of a long-term solution. Spiller and Johnson are the heart of Buffalo's skill-position corps. The former is immensely gifted, but unproven as a true workhorse runner. Buffalo's front office has identified the latter as a better fit for the slot after Johnson played X receiver the past two years. While he is one of the league's finest route runners and short to intermediate threats, the Bills understand Johnson isn't a true No. 1 NFL wideout.

Chandler is coming off reconstructive knee surgery and may not be ready for Week 1. Jackson returns from an injury-ravaged season where he suffered two separate knee injuries and was ineffective in between. At age 32, it wouldn't be stretching to suggest Jackson's best days are behind him. Brad Smith is a gadget guy. Lee Smith is a blocker. Graham has great stopwatch speed, but showed little as a rookie. The Bills have a long way to go before they'll be playing explosive offense. They're missing a starting tight end, No. 1 receiver, and franchise quarterback.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Spiller. New Bills coach Doug Marrone's Syracuse offenses finished with more rushing than pass attempts in each of Marrone's four seasons on the job. While Marrone and rookie coordinator Nathaniel Hackett are bringing an up-tempo, shotgun-heavy "K Gun" offense to Buffalo, the foundation of their philosophy is the run game. Spiller is ticketed for career highs across the board. You're going to want him on your fantasy team.

31. Oakland Raiders

QB: Matt Flynn > Terrelle Pryor
RB: Darren McFadden > Rashad Jennings > Jeremy Stewart
WR: Denarius Moore > Rod Streater > Juron Criner > Jacoby Ford
TE: David Ausberry > Richard Gordon > Mickey Shuler

Skill Player Overview: It's worth wondering if the Flynn trade will lead to second-year GM Reggie McKenzie's demise. Although he inherited the league's most dysfunctional organization after leaving Green Bay's front office last winter, the Raiders' roster has gotten worse through 1 1/2 offseasons, including at the most critical position. Weak armed and not particularly athletic, Flynn is a backup-caliber quarterback in the Colt McCoy/Ty Detmer mold. Observers of Flynn at Packers practices were thoroughly unimpressed by his physical tools, even if Flynn had a strong grasp of the offense. He was beaten out decisively by a third-round rookie in Seattle last year.

McFadden and Moore, theoretically, are the two players on which the Raiders can hang their hat. Except Moore is coming off a disappointing, inconsistent year that culminated in a late-season benching. McFadden cannot stay healthy. 2012 undrafted free-agent find Streater has flashed solid possession-receiver skills, but almost certainly isn't the answer for Oakland's No. 1 receiver void. Criner was drafted in last year's fifth round and hardly got on the field. Raiders coaches and management have been open about the fact that they don't have a starting-caliber tight end.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Ausberry. A college wide receiver, Ausberry has bulked up to 6-foot-4, 258 after entering the league at 233. Brandon Myers' departure opens Oakland's starting tight end position to a wide-open competition, and Ausberry is easily the best athlete of the bunch.

32. New York Jets

QB: Mark Sanchez > David Garrard > Greg McElroy > Matt Simms
RB: Mike Goodson > Bilal Powell > Joe McKnight > John Griffin
WR: Santonio Holmes > Stephen Hill > Jeremy Kerley > Clyde Gates
TE: Jeff Cumberland > Hayden Smith > Konrad Reuland

Skill Player Overview: This skill-position group is a mess that rookie GM John Idzik undoubtedly wants to attack in the draft. His flirtation with Saints restricted free agent Chris Ivory indicates the Jets are not done adding to the backfield. Though blessed with versatility, starting-caliber talent, and some big-play ability, Goodson is among the NFL's most injury-prone backs. Powell is a plodder who shouldn't be guaranteed a roster spot. McKnight is a scatback at best.

I suspect the Jets will stick to a run-oriented offense if only because their passing-game personnel are so putrid. Sanchez wouldn't be on the roster if not for a guaranteed $8.5 million salary. Holmes is coming off a Lisfranc fracture and tends to play when he wants to play. Cumberland is a stiff, upright catch-first tight end lacking field-stretching ability. He's not a viable replacement for Dustin Keller. Kerley is a solid slot weapon and Hill is 22 years old with a high ceiling, but neither is a legitimate No. 1 receiver. It remains to be seen whether Holmes can (wants?) to be that guy.

2013 Breakout Candidate: Goodson. The Jets gave Goodson a nice contract -- $6.9 million over three years -- which suggests he's a big part of their plans. Goodson's breakout candidacy could take a hit if Ivory or an early-round rookie back were acquired, but for now he's penciled in as the starter. For his career, Goodson averages 4.51 yards per carry. If his health cooperates, Goodson will have no trouble running circles around Powell in training camp practices. If Ivory comes board, he would surpass Goodson as the Jets' top breakout candidate.

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