Finding the Right Fit in the NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson

The college quarterback came into the league as a wide receiver, and now earned the starting running back role for the rebuilding Jags. His versatility reveals that he is a playmaker that needs to be involved in the game plan. For some reason they have not used him in the passing game, you would think they use his hands and speed in open space. In his first career start against the Browns, “Shoelace” topped the century mark to give. He gave the offense life and led the team to their first win of the season in convincing fashion.

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson

We know he is dangerous when returning punts and kick offs. I’m not so sure he won’t follow Denard Robinson’s lead and possibly transition to the backfield one day. Patterson is 6’2, 220 pounds, compared to Robinson’s 6’0, sub-200 pounds. I also don’t think the Vikings would flirt with that possibility, but it may be where his talent stands out.The tough spot is, Adrian Peterson is still on the roster and rookie RB Jerick McKinnon is starting to play well. His route running hasn’t been good enough to gain separation, despite working with rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. Right now, he his third on the receiver totem pole behind Jarius Wright and Greg Jennings. TE Kyle Rudolph will be returning from injury soon too. You would think Minny tries to get him involved, but the coaches are holding Patterson accountable and he could be phased out for lack of production.

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin

Is this another player that falls into the trend of transitioning into a running back? At 5’9, 174 pounds, Austin has been ineffective in his first season and a half of games as a receiver. He has been moved from the outside to the slot. The former first round pick actually got five carries for 16 yards against the Seahawks last week.

New York Jets WR Percy Harvin

As you can see, players like Percy Harvin, Patterson, and Austin, are widely viewed as gadget players and difficult to game plan for. Look, these guys don’t run the best routes in the world, but you’re telling me they can’t be used similar to DeSean Jackson? Jackson is also underutilized, but that is probably due to the Redskins instability at the helm than anything else. Harvin was a playmaker for the Vikings, when healthy, and pretty much a threat in the return game for the Seahawks when they put him back there. Seattle didn’t know how to use his abilities on offense, now the Jets will try everything with their new acquisition. Players like Harvin need to mix up their routes from deep, screens, and hand-offs. That means a reverse or carry out of the backfield. Running routes can’t be just deep or short, like in basketball, the art of the mid-range game is key.

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate

As a boom or bust receiver in Seattle, on a running team. Tate gets picked up by the Lions balanced attack and is flourishing, with or without Calvin Johnson across from him. He already has three games over 100 yards and another with 93. Talk about finding a player and putting him in the right system. He will continue to get targeted by gunslinger Matthew Stafford. He rushed for four yards in week one, showing that the Lions know what kind of threat Tate brings to the table. He adds more speed to a speed offense. Tate and Harvin are a couple of examples of how the Seahawks don’t feature fast players. Another guy I like a lot, also in Seattle, is deep threat Jermaine Kearse. He’s made plays downfield for them, in 2013 and this season, but don’t expect him to be a core player. They focus on the ground game, and Russell Wilson plays the role of game manager.

Jacksonville Jagurs TE Clay Harbor

This guy was drafted by the Eagles and seldom used. I watched him get very limited opportunities to run routes, as he was chip blocking and not targeted much. Harbor flashed the downfield threat we are starting to see in Jacksonville. He is quickly developing a rapport with rookie QB Blake Bortles. You can say he has earned the trust as a playmaker and safety valve. The bad news, injured TE Marcedes Lewis is slated to return in the coming weeks. They need all the playmakers on the field they can get with only one win, so the focus should be implementing more dual tight end sets to get Lewis and Harbor on the field.