Monday, August 13, 2012

Preseason: Players to Watch (NFC East)

New York Giants: RB David Wilson: With the loss of Brandon Jacobs still fresh in the minds of New York fans everywhere, rookie David Wilson must fill the void left by the two time Super Bowl champion. Wilson was selected with the 32nd overall draft pick out of Virginia Tech because of a spectacular combine and accomplished college career. His numbers led all running backs in broad jump and vertical, while posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.40. Wilson won ACC Player of the Year, not only because he ran the ball well (1,709 rushing yards, 5.9 yards per carry), but also because of his flashes of brilliance when it came to catching the football. Ahmad Bradshaw remains the definite starter, but Wilson is the face of New York's future running game.

Robert Griffin III (Bill Wippert/AP)
Philadelphia Eagles: LB DeMeco Ryans: Five years ago, DeMeco Ryans won AP Defensive Rookie of the Year thanks to his 156 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, and lone interception. However, his statistics gradually worsened each year until 2010, when Ryans suffered a season ending Achilles tear. By the time he returned for all 16 games in 2011, Ryans was clearly not the same defensive player, only racking up 64 combined tackles. The Texans did not want to deal with their once rising star, and traded him away to Philadelphia. Ryans will clearly start by the time Week 1 rolls around, but it is a matter of whether or not he can get back to the player he once was.

Washington Redskins: QB Robert Griffin III: Like Andrew Luck, RGII is one of several rookies that everyone will be eyeing when it comes time to their regular season debut. Many have compared this Heisman winner to the likes of Michael Vick; arm strength, mobility, and accuracy are all apparent attributes among the two. Washington Redskins fans are calling RGIII "the guy," meaning he is supposed to be their savior, hopefully giving them a shot at the playoffs. Can he succeed in the NFL even though Baylor didn't make it to a major bowl game? If he begins to struggle in the preseason, maybe it wasn't such a bad move in drafting quarterback Kirk Cousins last April.

Dallas Cowboys: WR Dez Bryant: Jerry Jones and wide receiver Dez Bryant have clearly shown their differences over the course of the off season, starting with Bryant's arrest last July. Jones was quoted as saying Bryant needed to grow up, otherwise the Cowboys will move on. The big question is how Bryant will be affected by these problems in the past. Supposedly the two have come to terms, but it is never a good sign when a team owner and a player get into a scuffle. 

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