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timmyk93

2005 Co-Breakout Players of the Year

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For all my peeps at The Huddle........ enjoy!

 

This is our first installment of the 'Big Three' at Draft Sharks – Breakout, Comeback, and First Round Bust – and traditionally our Breakout has success in every odd-numbered year. In 2001 we tabbed David Boston and he used his magenta-colored contacts to look in 98 receptions for a league-leading 1,598 yards and 8 TDs. In 2003 we put our name behind Matt Hasselbeck and he reciprocated with a top-4 fantasy ranking: 3,841 passing yards, 26 TD passes and 2 more scores on the ground. The recent even-numbered years were Thomas Jones (2002) and Andre Johnson (2004). Jones was a complete letdown. Even though Johnson delivered a few huge games, his overall performance didn’t match the aggressive moves that Boston and Hasselbeck made for us. Here's some good news: 2005 is an odd number...

 

We started debating the 2005 Breakout Player at our first official staff meeting during NFL Draft weekend. Some 8 or 9 names were laid on the table and systematically pulled away as we came up with reasons not to endorse each player. Then we re-visited the discussion a few weeks later with fresh minds, hoping one player would stand above the rest. But no single player made that impression on us. Two players did…

 

Draft Sharks selects Carson Palmer and LaMont Jordan as our 2005 Co-Breakout Players of the Year.

 

Carson Palmer

 

The first thing we notice about Palmer is the methodical management of his supporting cast. Cincinnati has quietly been making efficient personnel moves under head coach Marvin Lewis, sweeping out the old Bungles and retaining players who will compete and play hurt. There are only 13 players on the current roster that can say they wore a Bengals uniform before Lewis became coach. Careful contract dealings resulted in all starting 5 offensive linemen being locked up through 2006 -- LT Levi Jones, LG Eric Steinbach, C Rich Braham, RG Bobbie Williams and RT Willie Anderson. Note that NFL Network analyst and ex-Pro Bowl guard Glenn Parker said Williams and Anderson is the best RG/RT combo in football. Furthermore, the Bengals now have their 4 offensive stars signed through 2008: QB Carson Palmer, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR Chad Johnson & RB Rudi Johnson. Palmer and Rudi Johnson are both only 25 years old, while Chad Johnson and Houshmandzadeh are only 27. We don’t have to remind you that Chad is one of the league’s 5 best wideouts after leading the AFC in receiving yards two years in a row with 1,355 and 1,274 yards.

 

The Bengals’ offensive nucleus has 14 years combined experience in OC Bob Bratkowski's system, which reminds us of how the Colts’ nucleus evolved together with OC Tom Moore, Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

 

Palmer spent his 2003 rookie year on the bench studying and learning from an underrated passer in Jon Kitna, and he proved he paid attention by assimilating Bratkowski’s vertical schemes rather quickly in his first season as a starter. We saw it coming, too. He was USC’s all-time leading passer despite playing through several different offensive coordinators. Bratkowski, who coordinated the league’s top offense in 1997 with Seattle (remember Warren Moon to Joey Galloway?), uses play-action and 3- and 4-WR sets to attack the defense, staying committed to the run so safeties can’t cheat. It’s simple but effective, as long as you have the running game – which they do with Rudi Johnson, who ranked 6th in the NFL with 1,454 rushing yards. And just like he did in his Heisman-winning senior year, Palmer seems to make more plays against tougher opponents. Last year he had his best games against top-12 red-zone defenses:

 

at Baltimore: 29/36, 382 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

 

at NE: 18/24, 202 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

 

vs Pitt: 13/25, 165 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

 

vs. Denver: 12/21, 198 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

 

Totals: 72/106, 947 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs

 

Those are 4 very tough zone-blitzing defenses so don’t underestimate that amazing 68% completion rate at 72-for-106. Overall, Palmer averaged 238 yards per game over his last 6 starts -- which projects to over 3,800 yards in 16 games. He also threw 13 TDs (with 1 TD run) over that 6-game stretch and wasn't even sacked once in 4 of those games. He finished with a very respectable 2,987 passing yards and 18 TDs. If Palmer hadn’t missed the last 3 games with a knee injury, it’s safe to say the 25-year old QB would have been a 3,500-yard/22-TD passer.

 

Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said one of the main reasons he signed All-Pro CB Samari Rolle (Titans) was because Palmer dropped 3 TD passes on his secondary - in the 4th quarter - of their December matchup. In fact, Palmer got the Bengals back down to the 6-yard line with 10 seconds to go for the game-winning field goal. He almost tossed a 4th TD in one quarter against the Baltimore Ravens!

 

His injury was diagnosed as a strained left MCL with no damage to the ACL. It’s not a major injury. The Bengals granted him medical clearance to participate in the team's offseason workout program in April. “If I were to start today, I'd be ready to go with everything,” Palmer said before the NFL draft.

 

There might be a couple new weapons for Palmer in 2005. Peter Warrick is recovering from a slight fracture in his left leg (Sept. 2004) and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee (December 2003) and claims he’s ready to go. “It ain't no question,” Warrick said last week. “It's all about what I do when the time comes. The time will come when the games count.” People forget that Warrick was the 4th overall pick in the draft and was developing into a big threat at flanker. Before all his injury problems, P-Dub caught 79 passes in 2003, a number that would have ranked him 16th among all wide receivers last year. Cincinnati also two other prototype phenoms on the WR depth chart, 6’3 Kelley Washington and 6’4 rookie Chris Henry from West Virginia. If just one of these two guys makes nice contributions, Palmer’s TD numbers could shoot into the 30+ range.

 

Cincinnati leads off with a few relatively easy games in 2005: vs. Houston (32nd in sacks last year), at Tennessee (28th in sacks), vs. Minnesota (29th in passing yards allowed), and vs. Green Bay (32nd in TD passes allowed). Of course, Carson has to face the Steelers and Ravens twice, but the above table showed you he can hold his own against the toughest schemes. In mock drafts we’ve marked Palmer as the 12th or 13th QB off the board, usually around the 8th round, but as low as the late-9th round – which means he could feasibly be your backup QB, a total coup in our opinion. Look for Palmer to finish the season in the top-10 in every passing category.

 

LaMont Jordan

 

We’re trying to figure out what the rest of the world doesn’t like about Raiders RB LaMont Jordan. He’s often the 21st or 22nd RB taken in summer mocks, behind guys like Chris Brown or Steven Jackson, who both sustained substantial injury before their 100th career carry and haven’t proven they can withstand punishment. Even Ronnie Brown has been drafted ahead of Jordan (?). This guy is a durable and explosive runner, with twice the upside in the potentially sinister offense that Norv Turner has built.

 

Ok, he’s never been a starter in the NFL. But Jordan’s still a very young 26-year old back with fresh legs, absolutely no competition for carries, and a surrounding cast that will take the pressure of him. Jordan has great power and burst, a deceiving 4.5 in the 40, soft hands out of the backfield – and a huge chip on his shoulder after being shunned by the Jets. His style has been compared to a cross between a young Corey Dillon and a young Stephen Davis (Yeah, start drooling…).

 

If you want an indication of what LaMont can do over 16 games as a starter, check out his career stat line: 262 carries, 1,277 yards, 10 TDs and a hefty average of 4.9 yards per carry. Maybe he’s been able to pound on tired defenses after Curtis Martin does his damage, but compare Jordan to other backup RB averages over the years:

 

Tiki Barber: 3.7 /avg. in 250 carries

 

Dorsey Levens: 4.3 / avg. in 162 carries

 

Derrick Blaylock: 4.6 / avg. in 156 carries

 

Dominic Rhodes: 4.7/ avg. in 323 carries

 

LaMont Jordan: 4.9 / avg. in 262 carries

 

This is a guy who is ranked as the 20th RB by Fantasy Index Magazine’s consensus of experts, not much love for a talented RB on a stacked offense. Then again, Jordan hasn’t gotten much love for most of his career. Before 2004, he demanded to be traded after learning that the Jets would not let him compete against Martin for the starting job. After a lot of public grumbling on his part, (and nearly being traded to the Raiders a year earlier than he was) the Jets decided to keep Jordan, and he had no choice in the matter. The 5-10, 230-pound bruiser sucked it up and played, managing a nifty 479 yards and 2 TDs on only 93 carries. Jordan is one of those guys who gets stronger with more carries. Last season, he had 5 games in which he had double-digit carries, rolling up 375 yards and averaging 5.4 yards per carry in those games. That should be a good indicator of what he can do when the Raiders feed him the ball 20-25 times per game.

 

In as much as the media hype has been on the acquisition of Randy Moss to bolster their passing game, the O-line is quietly being built to start mauling the ground game. The Raiders brought in respected OL coach Jim Colletto, the former head coach at Purdue who has coached the Ravens’ offensive line for the past 6 years. The Raven’s twice broke their franchise record for rushing yards under Colletto’s tutelage: Once in 2000 when they won the Super Bowl, and again in 2003 when Jamal Lewis just missed the NFL single-season rushing record with 2,066 yards. “His ability to coach and develop football players, and the style of running game he’s been exposed to is the style I’ve been around, and the same one as (offensive coordinator) Jimmy Raye,” Turner said about Colletto last month.

 

Future Pro Bowl RT Robert Gallery was the 2nd overall pick in the 2004 draft and did a great job last season. For the last 7 or 8 games, he was as good as any right tackle in the league. He was joined by another rookie, Jake Grove, at the right guard spot. Grove did a good job with excellent technical prowess, so good that the Raiders are going to pencil him in as their starting center. The starting guards figure to be Langston Walker (345 pounds) and Brad Badger (320 pounds). Both are strong and tenacious, and they excelled in man-on-man blocking schemes. 7-year veteran LT Barry Sims rounds out the starting unit and he’s only missed 2 games in 4 years. Sims held up so well last year that the young Gallery was moved to the right instead of Sims, who was expected to slide over.

 

Norv Turner’s schemes are fueled by slashing runs off-tackle, breaking off big chunks of yardage and tiring out the opponents’ front seven. Consider this: 5 RBs have reached 17+ total TDs under Turner, either as an offensive coordinator or a head coach.

 

Emmitt Smith – 19 ('92)

 

Terry Allen – 21 ('96)

 

Stephen Davis – 17 ('99)

 

Ricky Williams – 17 ('02)

 

L. Tomlinson – 17 ('03)

 

The knock we’ve heard most often about Jordan is that he won’t get many touches since the Raiders will air out the ball so often. That’s silly. Norv Turner is committed to running the football. And if you’re still not convinced that a stud RB can co-exist on a pass-happy offense, just ask Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Ahman Green, Shaun Alexander or even Brian Westbrook, who have all recently been top-10 fantasy backs in top-10 passing offenses.

 

We’ve slotted Jordan as around the 10th or 11th RB on our board (your scoring system might vary) and the truth of it is – We’re holding back a little in his projections. If he stays healthy all year, Jordan is a guy who could creep up over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 total TDs. Oakland has 8 games against defenses that allowed 15+ TD runs last year, including a juicy week #15 game vs. Cleveland’s 32nd-ranked rushing defense in 2004. LaMont will make a superb #2 fantasy RB and if you somehow snag him as your #3 RB you should sit back and chuckle out loud.

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Jordan: Yes

Palmer: NO

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Same here. I like Carson Palmer--but I think Boller could finally be ready as well.

Jordan fell into a perfect situation. I think he will be a wrecking ball this season.

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Jordan: Yes

Palmer:  NO

 

852865[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

Agree with that - I'd definitely take a flyer on LJ and probably be bumping Collins up on my cheat sheet too. :D

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Agree with that - I'd definitely take a flyer on LJ and probably be bumping Collins up on my cheat sheet too. :D

 

852934[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

i think you'll need to take more than a flyer

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Palmer Yes

 

Jordan No

 

Just a hunch.  I think Jordan will be mediocre.

 

852952[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

I agree with this one as well. Palmer was really playing well near the end of the season last year before he got hurt.

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The Moss factor will hurt Jordan's numbers, and Crockett being a goal line vulture. I don't see how a team that has Moss wouldn't want to really exploit the matchups and toss the ball. If Turner ends up being as stupid as Tice, they'll throw the ball more than run it, and I guess that's ok for a #2 guy on your fantasy team.

 

I say Palmer yes.

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I think Palmer will be a good player. But he is at least a year away from having a "breakout" year. You want a breakout qb this year? Take a long look at David Carr. He is ready to explode with any line protection whatsoever...

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I think Palmer will be a good player.  But he is at least a year away from having a "breakout" year.  You want a breakout qb this year?  Take a long look at David Carr.  He is ready to explode with any line protection whatsoever...

853009[/snapback]

 

I like Boller as a breakout player this year.

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I'm worried about Jordan as well. Will Oakland throw the ball to Moss inside the 5 as much as the Vikings did? If so that leaves fewer TD opportunities for Jordan. Then throw Zack Crockett into the mix. . .

 

I also agree that Palmer is on the verge of a break-out year. I would definitely take him over Carr becasue Houston inexplicably did not upgrade their line. I also like him over Boller for obvious reasons. (Boller sucks)

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I agree with both.

 

Both are in an excellent situation to excel and both have the tools. I'm really hoping that Jordan will drop to me in my local.

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I think Palmer will be a good player.  But he is at least a year away from having a "breakout" year.  You want a breakout qb this year?  Take a long look at David Carr.  He is ready to explode with any line protection whatsoever...

 

853009[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

Definitely agree about Carr. He's flying under the radar again this year it seems.

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I agree with Jordan. While I think Palmer is going to improve I don't see those kind of #s.

Carr is also my guess for a breakout QB.

I wouldn't touch Boller with the last pick in the 16th round.

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You want a breakout qb this year?  Take a long look at David Carr.  He is ready to explode with any line protection whatsoever...

 

853009[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely agree about Carr.  He's flying under the radar again this year it seems.

 

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Carr is also my guess for a breakout QB.

 

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Good luck in the David Carr bidding wars. :D

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The Moss factor will hurt Jordan's numbers, and Crockett being a goal line vulture. I don't see how a team that has Moss wouldn't want to really exploit the matchups and toss the ball. If Turner ends up being as stupid as Tice, they'll throw the ball more than run it, and I guess that's ok for a #2 guy on your fantasy team.

 

I say Palmer yes.

 

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Jordan is more suited for the goal line duties than the past Oakland starting HB's. I don't think Crockett will be an issue.

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Palmer = Yes

 

Palmer got his baptism last year and progressively put up better numbers, as the season went along.

 

Offensively, the Bengals are loaded for Bear.

 

Jordan = No

 

Make no mistake, Moss was the Marque player signing in Oakland this Off-Season......not Jordan.

 

Raiders were the 4th most pass happy offense in the entire NFL last year with Norv as Head Coach.

 

Al Davis loves the vertical game.....always has, always will.

 

Their D is not improved.

 

My .02

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If the draft in my local goes well I get Jordan as my #3 rb and Palmer as my #2 qb. Wouldnt bother me a bit to have Carr as my #1 qb!

I feel the run on rookie rb's will leave Jordan to me in the middle rounds. I personally like both Palmer and Carr and feel they will both be around mid to late draft.

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Definitely agree about Carr.  He's flying under the radar again this year it seems.

 

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I agree with this. I missed taking Brees in the first Huddle mock draft, but managed to get Carr. I think he'll be better this year than alot of prognosticators are predicting!!

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:D Stop talking about Lamont Jordan! He will be garbage this season..........

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This one hurts. I can keep Lamont Jordan and pick 5th overall in my draft, or drop him and pick 1st overall and 5th as well. Young rookie RBs are HUGE in dynasty leagues, but Lamont could be too good to drop!!!!!!! And the more I research the worse it gets!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

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Jordan may very well keep Crockett on the bench. He's big enough to get it done inside the five. I also think having a WR like Moss will open the field for Jordan. And Jordan is a solid receiver out of the backfield so he might bring yards and points that way.

Edited by Ruffian

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I think Palmer will be a good player.  But he is at least a year away from having a "breakout" year.

 

853009[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

Jealous? :D

 

Palmer looked very good at the end of the year, I think he's got it. His passer rating was over 100 for his last three games of the season, with 9 TDs and completion percentages over 75%.

 

Plus... you know that famous Bengal committment to quality. Wait... umm, the past is past... lets look only to the future.

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I got Jordan at 3.3 in the 12 team IDP forum draft. I think he is a steal there. A lot of people are discounting him, and I'm all the happier for it. I am less confident about Palmer though. QB's can be very up and down. I want to see if Brees can do it again, for instance.

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