Jan 11, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Sleepers For 2014 Season

The stars will remain covered as the NFL season draws ever nearer.  So who are some sleepers for fans to ponder in 2014?

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Houston Texans

It’s hard to remember given the seasons that have passed, but there was a stretch of time when Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick was viewed as a franchise-caliber quarterback in Buffalo.  Unfortunately things didn’t play out as hoped and he’s spent the past couple years since as a journeyman backup.  However, having landed on a Houston Texans roster bereft of any clear-cut starters,  the 31-year old may have one more chance to command the huddle.  He will learn under a proven offensive coach in Bill O’Brien and be surrounded by a strong cast of talent.  If there is one or two more good years left in that body, it should show in 2014.

Khiry Robinson – New Orleans Saints

The NFL has always been about being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of opportunities.  Once considered a nondescript undrafted free agent out of small West Texas A&M, Khiry Robinson emerged late in 2013 for the New Orleans Saints.  Despite playing primarily as a reserve, he averaged 4.1 yards per carry and became their most productive runner in the playoffs.  With Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory gone, Pierre Thomas aging and Mark Ingram failing to live up to expectations, Robinson has a great chance to become more than just a backup.

Rueben Randle – New York Giants

Victor Cruz asked his team for more help at wide receiver and he got his wish when the New York Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. in the 1st round.  However, Cruz isn’t the only player who could benefit from the rookie’s presence on the field.  Fans and experts have been quick to denounce receiver Rueben Randle in spite of only playing two years and actually posting 611 yards and six touchdowns last season, which aren’t bad number.  Still only 23-years old, he has room to grow and mature.  With Eli Manning returning healthy and hopefully with better pass protection, the third-year receiver might be the one who flips the switch for the G-Men.

Lamarr Houston – Chicago Bears

Some believe a player who posted only six sacks last season wasn’t worth the deal the Chicago Bears gave Lamarr Houston.  It’s true the 26-year old isn’t known for dropping quarterbacks at this point, but that’s not entirely his fault.  It’s important to keep in context that Houston has played his entire career for some pretty bad Oakland Raiders teams, never having much help on the defensive line.  For the first time in his career Houston will get a chance to rush with a proven star across from him in All-Pro Jared Allen.  This could be the breakthrough he’s been aiming for and the Bears are hoping for.

Brandon Browner – New England Patriots

All the talk around camp of late has been pretty much Darrelle Revis 24/7 for the New England Patriots.  That’s understandable considering the reputation.  However, it’s important to remember Revis wasn’t the only corner the Pats scooped up in free agency.  There was also former Seahawks Brandon Browner, a tall, physical former Pro Bowler who is a natural in press coverage and could be the one primarily targeted by offenses due to the presence of Revis on the opposite side.  That could lead to some head-turning numbers for Browner if he plays up to his accustomed level and is just more good NFL news for New England.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Houston Texans New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Giants NFL

  • Cutler2Marshall312

    That is a vicious sight Browner & Revis wonder who will win that battle this year win the bears play them..The Beast15 vs Revis Island & The Show17 vs The Hammer I promise you that will be a Chess game of football…Mark T vs Bill B… #BearByBirth

    • Erik Lambert

      One of the premier matchups that nobody is talking about. Two of the top trends in the league colliding. Big wide receivers vs. big defensive backs. A lot of teams will be watching that game to see what the Bears do because it might offer a blueprint to taking on a team like the Seahawks, which I’d say the Pats are trying to emulate.

      • Cutler2Marshall312

        Do you know who NE nickel back is? B/C Marquis Wison is what 6’3 with speed and above average catching skills that’s also a match up nightmare for New Englad they can’t guard everybody.

        • Erik Lambert

          I was thinking about that too. He’s actually 6’4″ and has added 20 lbs of muscle since last season. If he progresses like Jeffery did last year, this receiving corps is going to get scary. If that weren’t enough, then the Pats would have to worry about Bennett and Forte.

          • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

            I don’t think the Pats are worried about anything…they bolstered their D-line to put more pressure on the QB….they have Brady and who is going to cover Gronk?

          • ksmack

            If Gronk can come back from the injuries he suffered then the answer to your question would be Bears first round pick Kyle Fuller who is known for covering larger receivers and Tight Ends in the slot. Watch him cover Ebron in college. The guy can handle himself.

          • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

            Rookie Kyle Fuller against Gronk….Gronk will school him…welcome to the NFL.

          • ksmack

            Haha yeah until he gets tackled and breaks both arms. Dude can’t stay healthy. He doesn’t scare anyone

          • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

            …guess we’ll find out this coming season when the Bears play the Pats…

  • ksmack

    Any ideas Erik Lambert about Houston playing the 3 technique much? I know it’s been mentioned as a possiblity, but I feel he is a Henry Melton type player with his similar size and skills. I like the idea of having him and Ratliff on the inside with Young and Allen on the outside.

    • Erik Lambert

      That will depend on if somebody emerges at defensive end like Cornelius Washington or David Bass. If they show they are worth quality time at end behind Young, then yes I would say Houston could make the shift to 3-tech.