He’s 34 years old, going on 35 in a couple of weeks, and he’s due $4 million next season (plus $3 million as a roster bonus).
Not the numbers you want to hear when you’re thinking of a rising team’s number two receiver.
Donald Driver has recently said that he’d like to keep playing in the NFL until he’s at least 40. While that’s a fine goal, it’s growing less and less likely that he will be able to retire as a Packer, if he does in fact continue aiming for this goal. Read more…
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
(Calvin Johnson has already arrived.)
Everyone knows the old cliche’ about wide receivers. They don’t always make an immediate impact as rookies, and despite having natural talent, usually take a while to carve a niche with their team.
About three years, to be exact.
Not everyone can be Randy Moss and bust out 17 touchdowns in their first try, or like last year’s Eddie Royal, and haul in 91 receptions.
No, sometimes fantasy owners and NFL teams are forced to go the traditional route and wait.
Here’s a look at the wide receivers from the 2007 NFL Draft, who are entering their third season, with analysis on their progress and role with their team.
(This article will only analyze those receivers taken in the 2007 draft.)
1. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)
Johnson is arguably a top-three fantasy receiver, depending on who you’re talking to.
Despite not having a dependable quarterback, or any sort of supporting cast, Johnson racked up over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2008.
The new regime is reportedly enamored with Johnson (how couldn’t they be?), as he’s poised to match last year’s numbers, and possibly add to them.
Prediction: 85 rec., 1,479 yards, 13 TD
2. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs)
Bowe has already made a quiet name for himself, as he was the second-best weapon (behind Tony Gonzalez) on Kansas City’s offense in 2008.
With Matt Cassel coming to town, Bowe should easily crack 1,000 yards again with a pass-happy system and an upgrade at the signal caller position.
Bowe has already showed glimpses of his potential with 12 touchdowns in his first two seasons. This should be his break-out year.
Prediction: 87 rec, 1,244 yards, nine TD
3. Anthony Gonzalez (Indianapolis Colts)
Gonzalez has been showing for the past two years that his speed and hands are more than able to make up for the loss of future Hall of Famer, Marvin Harrison.
His chemistry with Peyton Manning improves with every day of practice, and there’s no doubt Gonzelez can improve (and will) on his 2008 numbers of 57 catches, 664 yards, and four scores.
Prediction: 81 rec, 1,209 yards, eight TD
4. Ted Ginn Jr. (Miami Dolphins)
Ginn has progressed slower than many had hoped, but he has still shown flashes of electric play-making ability, and has starred as a solid return man, too.
His role has been increasing in the offense over his two years with the team, and to avoid the Wildcat offense from getting predictable, his production will have to increase.
Prediction: 74 rec, 1,088 yards, seven TD
5. Steve Breaston (Arizona Cardinals)
Breaston has been quite impressive already, as he topped 1,000 yards as the Cardinals reliable third option.
Apparently it’s not very difficult to get open when you have Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin taking all the attention from the secondary. Go figure.
Breaston has already “broken out” more than he or anyone else could have hoped, considering he was the third option last year, and will continue to be in 2009.
His numbers are likely to dip a bit, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already “arrived.”
Prediction: 72 rec, 955 yards, five TD
6. Steve Smith (New York Giants)
With Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer out of town, Steve Smith is likely to pair up with Domenik Hixon (at least in the early going), and will have a legitimate chance at locking down a starting role.
Smith has good hands and is a solid route runner, and also possesses underrated speed and quickness. If he and Manning can continue the chemistry that landed him 57 catches and over 500 yards.
Prediction: 79 rec, 855 yards, three TD
7. Sidney Rice (Minnesota Vikings)
Rice battled injuries last year, taking him down a peg after putting forth solid effort in his rookie year.
With the potential (and likely) addition of Brett Favre, Rice could easily develop into a solid red-zone target, and could also be a decent down-field threat, as his speed has gotten better every year.
Prediction: 58 rec, 744 yards, six TD
8. James Jones (Green Bay Packers)
Jones and fellow slot receiver candidate, Jordy Nelson, both arguably have the talent right now to unseat Donald Driver.
Unfortunately, they will have to settle (at least for 2009) for fighting over third receiver duties.
While Nelson appears to have the upper hand with better size, speed, and hands, Jones may have more ability after the catch, making him a better fit for the slot.
Regardless, Green Bay’s system leaves the door open for tons of yards and scores to go around, especially as Aaron Rodgers matures.
Prediction: 46 rec, 690 yards, five TD
9. Johnnie Lee Higgins (Oakland Raiders)
Higgins is in line for contending for a starting role, and may end up with one of the starting gigs, almost by default.
Seventh overall selection, Darrius Heyward-Bey, has been slowed for the past month with injuries, and Javon Walker hasn’t been able to put forth 100 percent of his effort in over a year.
Higgins was a highlight reel waiting to happen on returns (three scores), and it’s clear Oakland coaches will do what is necessary to get the ball in his hands.
Prediction: 45 rec, 722 yards, four TD
10. Mike Walker (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Dennis Northcutt and Matt Jones are gone, which leaves the door open for Walker to step in and snag the spot opposite of Torry Holt.
Walker has the skills needed to make the jump, and in limited action, has impressed.
Prediction: 44 rec, 596 yards, three TD
11. Laurent Robinson (St. Louis Rams)
Robinson was a bit of a disappointment in Atlanta, which prompted the Falcons to send him packing to St. Louis.
Now Robinson is a better environment to utilize his skills, but will also have some young talent around him, making his production difficult to gauge.
Prediction: 42 rec, 539 yards, four TD
12. Jason Hill (San Francisco 49ers)
Until further notice, Michael Crabtree and Isaac Bruce are not starters, while Josh Morgan and Jason Hill are.
Hill has good after-the-catch ability, and could snag a spot in the slot, regardless of the play of Crabtree.
Prediction: 39 rec, 477 yards, three TD
13. Chansi Stuckey (New York Jets)
Stuckey burst onto the scene early last year with some nice catches and decent performances, as he and Brett Favre formed some solid chemistry.
However, that eroded mid-way through the season, and we never saw that confident, rising receiver again.
It’s unlikely he’ll reach his potential with Kellen Clemens or a first-year Mark Sanchez throwing him the ball, but he’s a better bet than, say, a Titans receiver.
Prediction: 41 rec, 505 yards, four TD
14. Robert Meachem (New Orleans Saints)
Meachem only makes this list because Drew Brees spreads the ball around more than Fabio spreads I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and that Saints offense is insanely sick.
He can still run with the best of them, and even as their fourth option, could still put up some decent numbers.
Prediction: 33 rec, 421 yards, three TD
15. Dwayne Jarrett (Carolina Panthers)
Muhsin Muhammad won’t be around forever to rescue Steve Smith from double teams. Come to think of it, I’m not sure he was that great at it last year.
Jarrett isn’t guaranteed slot duties, and is still in a run-first offense. But if he can show he can get it done in pre-season, he could prove to be a dangerous weapon with Steve Smith distracting the secondary.
Like many receivers, though, he’ll have to start slow.
Prediction: 22 rec, 311 yards, four TD
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Friday, July 24, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
Tags: anthony gonzalez, arizona cardinals, atlanta falcons, Calvin Johnson, Carolina Panthers, Chansi Stuckey, Detroit Lions, Dwayne Bowe, Dwayne Jarrett, Fantasy Football, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, james jones, Jason Hill, Johnnie Lee Higgins, kansas city chiefs, Laurent Robinson, miami dolphins, Mike Walker, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, new york jets, NFL, oakland raiders, Robert Meachem, San Francisco 49ers, Sidney Rice, St. Louis Rams, Steve Breaston, Steve Smith, Ted Ginn Jr.
Apparently Donald Driver is 25, getting paid less than the veteran’s minimum, and just came off of a 1,400-yard and 12-touchdown season.
No? Then the dude is out of his ever-loving mind.
Reports have Driver, 34, staying away from Green Bay’s OTAs, as he is apparently unhappy with his current contract and wants a new deal.
Of course he does.
Driver is seeing the end of the road, folks. He knows there is young, fresh talent behind him in Jordy Nelson and James Jones, and he knows the end is near.
He has become aware of the fact that he’s half a poor season or one big injury away from never starting for Green Bay again, much less any team.
Whether you’re a Packers fan or not, it’s obvious Driver has been underrated, under appreciated, and undervalued for pretty much his entire career.
However, when the guy is due over $6 million this year, it’s time to put a stop to the pity parade.
If we look at this logically, Driver is making something out of nothing. He’s already getting the money he deserves. He just wants more.
For Ted Thompson, for the fans, and for the rest of the NFL, it’s obvious what the real reason is.
This isn’t a Latrell Sprewell moment. Driver can feed his kids just fine.
This is about insecurity, as well as the inside knowledge that his game has begun to slip. Driver was never the fastest receiver, and he’s clearly lost some speed over the past two years.
As reliable as he was over the years for Brett Favre, he actually developed a quiet reputation for his “triangle catch,” or timely dropped passes that killed drives and sometimes even games.
However, when he showed up to training camp with his shirt tied in a knot, revealing his abdomen, and flashing that “I’m paid more than I’m worth” smile, Packers fans still were in love with him.
But patience is wearing thin.
Is Driver still capable of performing at a high level and running at the No. 2 spot? Sure.
But wasn’t Brett Favre still capable of guiding his team effectively? Yes, and quite honestly, he was doing it at a higher level than Driver had ever done it at his own position.
So, after Green Bay moved on from the legendary Favre, why should Driver be any different?
The answer is, he won’t be.
This contract dispute isn’t really a dispute at all. It’s just a desperate plea from a man who can see his career in his beloved city coming to a crashing halt.
Nelson and Jones are likely to be filtered into the offense more, and the aging Driver is bound to be phased out, rendered to the slot, and eventually cut.
That’s why he wants more money. Not just for now, but for the future as well.
He wants to ensure he’ll be in Green Bay and starting for another three years.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. That wouldn’t be happening even if he never demanded a new contract.
Regardless, Driver went about this the wrong way, and the “end” that was closing in on his Green Bay career just got a little closer.