Best Case/Worst Case: Offense
By Mike Moore
March 10, 2012
Here’s a well-known fact: I suck at predictions. Last May I said that the chance of the Mavericks winning the title was laughable, specifically that it would take the Lakers five games to send Dirk and Company on summer vacation. In last year’s fantasy football draft, I had a huge reach for Josh Freeman in a round too embarrassing to admit, confident that he would have a breakout season. I said that there was no way Denver and Tebow would make the playoffs, let alone win a playoff game. I suck.
So when I sat down to write an article predicting the NFL careers of this year’s high draft prospects, you can forgive me for having second thoughts. Rather than type up 1200 words that I will regret in a year’s time, I decided it would be less detrimental to my future credibility to instead play a game called “Best Case/Worst Case,” and examine the breadth of possibilities that each player faces. Obviously, the best case scenario for every player is to win a Super Bowl and the worst case is a career-ending injury, so we’ll limit our outcomes to be more specific to each player. And just so it doesn’t seem like I am completely wussing out, I’ll make a call as to which extreme is more likely. Which, I guess is a prediction. Crap.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: There’s been so much hype for the Stanford quarterback, simply meeting expectations is not too far off of Luck’s ceiling for his rookie year. There is no question he will be the starter in Indianapolis next year, and the assumption is that he will be able to walk in Day One and start running their wretched offense. As in college, Best Case Scenario Luck will call plays and audibles on the field, and his decision making will make people forget how accurate his arm is. The Colts will be rebuilding next year so there’s no pressure to make the playoffs, but if he can secure a wild card spot, Jim Irsay will look like a genius for cutting Manning and making room for the young phenom.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: I’m thinking a cross between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sam Bradford. Not too shabby for your Worst Case Scenario to be on the level of two starting quarterbacks. There’s no doubt that Luck has the brains, but if his speed and arm can’t measure up to NFL standards, he may find himself to be hopelessly mediocre.
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME: Best Case Scenario. The Colts are committed to Luck, and now have an assload more cash to put good pieces around him. It may be a couple years before he sees the postseason, but he has the tools to, in several ways, be the next Peyton Manning.
Robert Griffin III
BEST CASE SCENARIO: RG-III is the prototype for the new generation of NFL quarterbacks. He will execute the pass-run hybrid more successfully than the current standard holder, Michael Vick, thanks to his combination of impressive instincts and even more impressive intelligence. He will have the stats of Cam Newton, but actually win games. His community service and outreach will have an incredibly positive impact on the Washington D.C. area, turning him into a local hero, a la Drew Brees in New Orleans.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: He looses his first six games, and Dan Snyder goes crazy and trades him away. Let me amend that, Dan Snyder “pulls a Dan Snyder” and trades him away. While his speed and vision decimated college defenses, they will not be enough to fool NFL defensive backs, and because he will be starting Week One, there will be no time to learn. He will become a casualty of his college success, and will have to go back to school and get that law degree.
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME: Best Case Scenario. I fucking love RGIII and want to see him succeed. He is talented, athletic, incredibly bright, and well spoken. Any team would be lucky to have him, and fortunately for Redskins fans, it looks like he’ll be doing his thing in Washington next year.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: He bests Randy Moss’s rookie season, and joins Megatron and Larry Fitzgerald as receivers who will make a catch if the ball is thrown anywhere within a five yard radius.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: See: Crabtree, Michael.
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME: Worst Case Scenario. He’s 6’ 1”, which is 4 inches shorter than Calvin Johnson, and his moves aren’t as skillful as Fitzgerald’s. He won’t be a total bust, but he certainly won’t reach Human Highlight Reel level.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: He becomes what Ricky Williams should have been. A thick, powerful running back that can break ankles, and who does not go crazy and quit the NFL for pot.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Like Luck, it’s hard to imagine Richardson NOT having an illustrious NFL career, but if it happens it will be because he won’t be able to plow through pro defensive lines the same way he did in college. With that weapon taken away, he is relegated to a short yardage back, and collects 4 touchdowns a season, all on goal line looks.
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME: Best Case Scenario. I kind of already said it, but Richardson really should shine in the pros, even if it is just for a few seasons.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: He gets to sit on the bench for a few years and learn. Tannehill had 15 interceptions last year, and saw his completion percentage drop 5 points from the year prior. His size and athletic ability are impressive, but he will get eaten alive if he has to start for some team next September.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: He starts in September. Tannehill is not ready for the NFL, and if he is thrown in too early, he will Blaine Gabbert all over the place.
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME: Worst Case Scenario. He is projected as a mid-first round pick, and with so many teams needing a quarterback, it seems pretty likely that someone will draft him as a starter, and he will continue the proud tradition of Big 12 quarterbacks underperforming in the NFL.
Check back later for the look at defensive draft prospects. And check back in a year to see how horribly off my predictions were!