The 10 most interesting players of the NFL offseason: Derrius Guice kicks off series

Will Derrius Guice bounce-back from an unfortunate injury during his rookie season? (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Will Derrius Guice bounce-back from an unfortunate injury during his rookie season? (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Rife with juicy narratives, the NFL remains one of the nation’s most original and long-standing reality shows. From August through February, the drama is televised in hour-long episodes. Throughout the spring and summer, the intrigue spills beyond the sticks, enticing viewers with tales of cunning, redemption, and betrayal. At the center of these unfolding plot lines, there often exists a player. Whether they’re returning from injury, moving teams, or grasping at relevance, these men captivate our attention.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be examining the 10 most interesting players of the offseason. As their situations develop, updates will be made to each story. The hope is that this becomes a hub of conversation for the league’s most compelling names … and devoted aficionados.

Nothing went right for Guice as a rookie

Considered a first-round selection by numerous draftniks, Guice suspiciously fell to Washington, becoming the 59th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Lauded for his angry running style and tackle-breaking ability, the LSU product was frequently compared to Marshawn Lynch. Seemingly destined to become the primary power element in a run-friendly scheme, Guice shot up fantasy draft charts, often being taken in the third and fourth rounds of 12-team exercises.

Unfortunately, the rookie tore his ACL in the Redskins’ preseason opener, further complicating his entree to the pros.

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Less than two weeks later, Washington signed Adrian Peterson. The 11-year vet averaged nearly 17 touches and 80 scrimmage yards per contest, closing out his age-33 season inside the top-20 fantasy producers at the position. While it was an up-and-down effort from Peterson, his 1,200 yard and eight touchdown season has left fantasy diehards wondering what the fresh-legged Guice could have accomplished.

Glimmer of hope for 2019

The upside of the unknown figures is to follow Guice into the 2019 season, as evidenced by the nearly 350 RTs and 2,500 likes that a video of the 21-year-old running at full speed received on Twitter:

Posted on February 6th, the video shows Guice sprinting at full speed (he clocked a 40-yard-dash time of 4.49 at the combine in March of last year). This is particularly impressive considering the Louisiana native underwent three additional surgeries to correct an infection that festered after the initial procedure. In fact, as recently as December, it was being reported that a timeline for Guice’s return had yet to be established.

While we still haven’t seen Guice plant or cut, the comeback buzz surrounding the bruising back appears to be mounting. As one of the youngster’s most fervent 2018 supporters, I’d like to buy-in.

However, I’m wary of Guice’s durability. While I dig the chip on his shoulder, there’s no denying that running mad can lead to an excess of hits and early deterioration. Plus, he has a penchant for leading with his helmet, rather than his shoulder, which could prove to be decidedly harmful given everything his body has endured thus far.

Health not only challenge to overcome

Health isn’t the only issue clouding Guice’s fantasy forecast. There are massive QB and O-line questions in Washington, which figure to impact the former Tiger’s 2019 potential. Plus, Adrian Peterson isn’t out of the building just yet. He may be a free agent, but with so many question marks surrounding Guice, the organization could choose to keep AP on the roster to serve as anything from a mentor to a backup plan. In fact, secondary to monitoring Guice’s physical progress should be Peterson’s status, as I believe his future with the team could reflect Washington’s confidence in Guice’s immediate future.

What do you think Guice will be in 2019?

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