Training Camp Breakouts
July 30, 2012 | Mike Braude
Training Camp Breakouts
Titus Young – ADP 8.08
Titus Young has been called everything from impressive to unstoppable over the first three days of training camp. Coach Jim Schwartz said Young has been “outstanding.” His talent level isn’t the only thing to love, as the ‘mini-DeSean’ is a perfect fit for the Lions vertical passing attack. He’ll also be tough to double with Megatron on the other side. Look for the sophomore to thrive this season in the Lions’ pass heavy offense.
Randall Cobb – ADP 14.01
An absolute steal in the 14th round, Randall Cobb’s stock has risen greatly in the first three days of training camp. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Cobb “has made more big plays and been used in a greater variety of ways than any of the other receivers.” Reports have also marveled over his refined route running and versatility – even getting reps out of the backfield. Cobb’s talent was no secret last season and he seems poised to take over slot duties from Donald Driver this season. Last season Cobb led all Packers receivers with the best receptions-per-target percentage, catching 25 of his 31 targets. He also led Packers receivers with 7.5 yards after the catch. Don’t let this Percy Harvin-like talent slip away; he’s a special player with the ball in his hands.
Austin Collie – ADP 14.03
Austin Collie broke out in 2010 with the help of Peyton Manning, averaging 72.1 yards per game and grabbing eight TD’s in just nine games – as you remember his season was cut short by several concussions. Last season, playing behind Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon, with a mix of Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter at quarterback – Collie didn’t have a chance at fantasy value. This season Collie will be playing with the No.1 overall draft pick, Andrew Luck. While the over-the-hill Reggie Wayne will draw the opposition’s best corner, Collie will be able to feast on lesser coverage. Not to mention that on the Colts’ first day of camp Collie was Luck’s favorite target.
Emmanuel Sanders – ADP 13.12
With Mike Wallace’s current holdout, Emmanuel Sanders is currently looking like an intriguing option. He’s shown his upside several times, most notably in the Steelers playoff loss – leading the Steelers with six receptions for 81 yards. Assuming Wallace doesn’t end his holdout (a big if), Sanders will be pressed into a starting role. He certainly has the skill-set to make an impact, if he can stay healthy.
Kyle Rudolph – ADP Undrafted in 15 Rounds
Kyle Rudolph didn’t top 50 yards in a game last season so many of you are probably wondering why he’s on this list. Well here’s why: the 6’6’ tight end was drafted 43rd overall by the Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft – he was also the first TE selected. Rudolph has impressive athleticism and hands, and is headed for significant leaps in playing time, targets and production this season. In an article by the Pioneer Press that proclaimed Rudolph is expected to be a “centerpiece” of the Vikings’ two-tight end offensive attack this year, Ponder said “He looks really good, he’s so athletic. He’s such a big target. He’s got unbelievable hands. He’s a guy I feel real comfortable with. He’s going to make a lot of plays this year.” This training camp Rudolph has drawn rave reviews from just about every Vikings beat writer – don’t be surprised if he finishes the season as a top-12 tight end.
Stevan Ridley – ADP 7.08
With the departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, there is suddenly a vacancy for goal-line carries on one of the league’s best offenses. The Law firm scored 24 regular-season touchdowns for the Patriots over the last two seasons. Before training camp, Ridley certainly looked the part – mainly because he’s bigger and more powerful than both Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead. Initial training camp reports have Ridley seeing the majority of the 1st team running back reps. Patriots writer Tom Curran said, “Ridley continues to look fast, decisive, and really comfortable in the offense.” It also doesn’t hurt that Shane Vereen is struggling in camp. Just remember when it comes to the goal-line: Ridley is New England’s top power back, and it’s not even close.
Kevin Smith – ADP 11.09
The Lions offense showed it can score with the best of them last season, but is still devastated by injuries at running back. Jahvid Best still hasn’t received medical clearance to play and at this point, seems to be as big of an injury risk as anyone in the league. Mikel Leshoure has recovered from his Achilles’ tear but still doesn’t seem 100%. During Saturday’s training camp practice, Leshoure tweaked his hamstring – reminding everyone that players returning from Achilles’ tears often struggle with leg injuries in the following year. All of this leaves Kevin Smith as the frontrunner to open the season as the Lions’ starting running back. Beat writer Chris McCosky believes Smith “hasn’t looked this physically strong since his rookie year.” Smith was fantastic filling in for Best last season: averaging 4.9 yards per carry and scoring seven touchdowns in seven games. Don’t let this possible gem fall too far in your draft.