We are still a long way away from training camp, but it is never to early to take a look at some “sleepers” for the 2013 season. In just about every year, stars come from nowhere, and change the game. Players like Victor Cruz for example, who was an undrafted rookie, came into the league and made a big splash in his rookie year of 2010. 2013 will be no different, and there will be a few players that the average fan may not know, that may surprise and do big things.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins –
If you were wondering who would pick up the slack of the departure of Reggie Bush, it is this guy. Lamar Miller was drafted in 2012. and rushed for 250 yards with very limited carries. The Dolphins loaded up in the off-season, and Miller could be a beneficiary of that. Miller averaged almost 5 yards a carry last season, and that is something to be excited about. It is obvious the Dolphins view Miller as a very good running back, that’s why they let Reggie Bush walk so easily. Miller is a very quick back, and can also catch passes out of the backfield. A lot has been said about how much the Dolphins did in the off-season, and Miller now gets a chance to spark his career. Watch for him to be one of the more exciting running backs in 2013 should he get his opportunity.
Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets -
We all know the struggles that the Jets had last year, but one thing that always seem to be solid is the running game. In 2011 and 2012 combined, Shonn Greene rushed for 2,117 yards, and scored 14 touchdowns. In the off-season, Greene departed to Tennessee, and the Jets signed this guy, Chris Ivory. Ivory has played for the New Orleans Saints all of his career, but they decided to let him walk. Unfortunately, Ivory is one of those guys that has had limited playing time due to the amount of other players at his position on that roster. In the last few seasons, he was in a time share with the likes of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Darren Sproles. When Ivory did get on the field, he was very explosive and efficient. Ivory has a career yard per carry average over 5, and 8 total touchdowns. Now that he is in New York, Ivory finally gets his chance to be the lone wolf in the backfield. Considering how heavily Rex Ryan relies on the run, Ivory could have landed in the perfect place to make some noise.
Rob Housler, TE, Arizona Cardinals -
It was an absolute disaster in Arizona at the quarterback position last season, and that is an understatement. Arizona improved that by signing Carson Palmer in the off-season, and drafting Jonathan Cooper to upgrade the offensive line. Now with that sorted out, the big Rob Housler gets a chance to shine. Housler is 6 foot 5, 250 pounds, and he definitely fits in with other prime tight ends. Housler will be heading into his 3rd year in the NFL without a touchdown catch, but has totaled 550 yards in his first two seasons. Being the physical specimen that he is, Housler should have no problem getting into the endzone in 2013. With some stability at the quarterback and offensive positions, Housler could blossom into a very solid receiving option to compliment the All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald.
Chris Givens, WR, St.Louis Rams -
Sam Bradford is heading into his 4th year in the NFL, and the Rams faithful are hoping that this is the year his game finally reaches expectations. Bradford’s favorite target, Danny Amendola, was lost to New England in free agency, but then they drafted Tavon Austin to hopefully take his place. It seems that the Rams haven’t had a dominating outside presence since the Holt, Bruce era, and they really need to find production. Reports have been coming out of St. Louis that 2nd year wide receiver, Chris Givens, will be given the opportunity. Givens recorded nearly 700 yards last season, and scored 3 times. Givens made the most of the Amendola injury, and earned himself a starting role. With a re-loaded Rams team, be on the look out for Chris Givens to put up big numbers in 2013.