By Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis
With the preseason quickly coming to a close, this week's article focuses on players who should be shooting up your draft board after stellar preseason performances. While it's important to not overreact to preseason stats, it's definitely worth noting certain players' usage and performance, particularly in situations where they are battling for playing time.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
The rookie running back may finally be the most talented rusher on a football team—something he probably could never have said during his tenure at Alabama as Trent Richardson and T.J. Yeldon are both more talented (despite the fact that Yeldon is still due back for another year at Alabama.) However, that is not a knock on Lacy as he has shown an impressive ability to break tackles while showing maturity by not being very showy about it. Arguably more important than Lacy's talent flash this preseason is the fact that his competition has faltered. Fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin has not impressed anyone in camp and DuJuan Harris was placed on IR this week ending his season. In a league with an increasing amount of timeshares at running back, it is totally plausible for Lacy to get enough work to be a top 20 RB this season.
Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis Rams
Although most of the attention in St. Louis this season will be focused on first round pick Tavon Austin, Chris Givens is the receiver I expect to have the more dominant season. Last year Givens was the first player since 1966 to have a catch of 50+ yards in five consecutive games. Givens will take over Danny Amendola's role in the offense and has given every indication this preseason that he is ready to excel in that role in his second year in the NFL.
Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks
The fourth year receiver has received lots of praise from Seattle's coaching staff this preseason and had two catches for 42 yards while playing a half of the Seahawks second preseason game. With injuries to both Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, Golden Tate is going to finally have the opportunity to show just how talented he is. Considering how much of an improvement Tate made last season to haul in 688 yards and seven touchdowns, he is a good bet to improve again this year and have a breakout season.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns
Jordan Cameron is in the perfect situation to have a breakout season. Cameron will see extra snaps this season as the team released Ben Watson and didn't bringing in any other tight ends. In new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense, tight ends (like Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen) have traditionally excelled. Jordan Cameron reached the endzone twice in one preseason game this year, illustrating a small glimpse of his talent. While Cameron will continue to have a slight issue with drops, his ability to make extremely difficult catches should allow him to counteract those issues and, eventually, overcome them.
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