It's hard to believe, but it's already that time of the year again. All the players are looking to make the 53-man roster, the coaches are looking at new talent, and fans are still wondering why and how this happened. Oh well, it's the Eagles' loss... This year can Redskin fans can all be really excited for the first time in years as they finally have a team that can make a run at the division, or at least a wildcard spot. I've been looking at some key players on all 32 teams and have been trying to predict which players will have a big or bigger impact than last year, and then which players could have a down or disappointing season. After doing this for 3 teams, it's now the Redskins' turn:
BOOM! - WR Devin Thomas
Devin Thomas has drawn comparisons to receivers like Falcons' Roddy White. An early second round pick by the 'Skins in 2008, Thomas hasn't yet had a breakout year; his last year was his best of the two with only 25 catches for 325 yards and 3 TDs. However, with the acquisition of Donovan McNabb, and the aging of Santana Moss, Thomas could become a big target this year. He stands at 6'2" and runs a 4.40s 40 yard dash, making him a viable deep threat for McNabb. It's about time for Thomas to show what he can do in what will presumably be a pass first offense. Numbers around 50-60 catches, 800 yards, and at least 6 TDs are definitely possible with his potential. I strongly believe that Thomas is going to breakout this year, and can be a big part of this offense alongside Chris Cooley.
Bust... - LB Andre Carter
A lot of things become finer with age. However, football players aren't one of those things. Andre Carter is 31 and is on the downhill part of his career. Despite coming off of arguably his best season, some changes in the defense and a complete revamp of the coaching staff could attribute to Carter's lack of success in addition to his age. Carter is going to have to adjust to the new 3-4 scheme that Shanahan is changing to. In the words of an ESPN analyst, "The shift to the 3-4 hurts Carter as much as it helps a guy like Brian Orakpo. Carter can expect more attention from the opposing O-line while Orakpo freely darts in from outside. To be fair, he's coming off his best year in Washington but temper expectations somewhat due to this new unfavorable role." And since there will only be 3 linemen, offensive linemen will be able to take on Carter more easily. It'd be hard to see him get more than 50 tackles and 5 sacks this upcoming season unfortunately, especially with Orakpo essentially taking over for Carter.
Along with Cooley, McNabb, and Orakpo, Thomas should have a great year. And along with Willie Parker and Joey Galloway, expect Carter to have a down year. Now you can tell me if I happened to miss anyone, go ahead and let me know. And if you care to know, the next team up is the Kansas City Chiefs.