This marks the start of the pre-training camp divisional previews.
First I will start off with the AFC East:
QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick – The Irish whip showed up nicely for the Bills last year especially early on. Although that is the case, I still would only recommend Fitzpatrick as bye week filler only.
RB – Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller – This duo was dynamic last season. They just signed Fred Jackson to a multi year extension so look for them to use him often in 2012. Jackson was leading the league in rushing until his season was cut short due to a broken leg.
WR – Stevie Johnson/Marcus Easley? – Johnson has estabished himself as a legitimate wide receiver in the NFL. The Bills are still waiting on Easley to overcome injuries and take the reins and provide another threat on the other side of the field.
TE – Scott Chandler – Chandler did well in the red zone last year, he must improve on catching the ball more consistently to be considered a threat at the position.
QB – Ryan Tannehill – The rookie will win the starting job because of his familiarity with Coach Mike Sherman’s offense. He needs a lot of weapons though and it is going to be a tough road in Miami in the beginning I think.
RB – Reggie Bush/Daniel Thomas/Lamar Miller/Steve Slaton – Bush claims he is going to win the rushing title this season. I have my entire life savings on the fact that he will NEVER do that in his entire career. The man at most has had 216 carries in a single season. That just won’t get it done to lead the league in rushing. Plus Thomas if healthy figures to cut into his carries a little more in 2012 too. I look at 2011 as a career year for Bush.
WR – Davone Bess/Brian Hartline/Clyde Gates – Bess has been a quality possession receiver over the years. He could be a security blanket for Tannehill. Don’t be surprised if Tannehill’s college teammate, UDFA Jeff Fuller emerges as a go to target too due to his familiarity of the offense and Tannehill.
TE – Michael Egnew – Anthony Fasano has been less than adequate at the position for some time. Time to give some new blood a chance and see what happens.
New England Patriots
QB – Tom Brady – Should be on everyone’s top five want list at quarterback. New toy Brandon Lloyd will only add to his value.
RB – Joseph Addai/Stevan Ridley/Danny Woodhead – Belichick likes having veterans that don’t turn the football over at the running back position. This time he brings in Addai who would be very fresh in a three man rotation and allow Addai to be in the game during critical moments.
WR – Brandon Lloyd/Wes Welker/Deion Branch – Lloyd will be the deep threat and Welker will play the PPR slot machine again for Tom Brady.
TE – Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez – Both of these guys finished in the top 5 at the tight end position last year. For how much Brady throws the ball around, I see no reason for that not to happen again in 2012.
New York Jets
QB – Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow – Why is it as a Jets fan I get this feeling in my stomach that by Week 6 Tim Tebow will be the Jets every down quarterback? I know they aren’t saying that now but it’s just a hunch. Winning ugly here we come.
RB – Shonn Greene/Joe McKnight – Greene will work as the workhorse back while McKnight will be the change of pace and third down specialist. Watch for Bilal Powell as a sleeper here should Greene succomb to injury.
WR – Santonio Holmes/Stephen Hill – I like Holmes and his playmaking abilities, Hill was a reach in the draft. I liked Rueben Randle a lot more. Let’s hope combine darling Hill turns out more like Dustin Keller, than like Vernon Gholston.
TE – Dustin Keller – He is a stud tight end the first few weeks of the season, then the Jets completely forget about him in their game plan the rest of the year. Let’s get with the program and use him more.