NFL

Injury Prone NFL Players Who Could Make Huge Impacts

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Preseason football is out of the way, which mean it’s time for some meaningful football to be displayed on television screens across the country. This is the time of year where everyone is optimistic about their respective teams chances of being successful.

Obviously, there’s going to be fans with unrealistic expectations, but with everyone being 0-0, can you really blame them?

However, there’s some teams with injury prone guys who could help turn things around if they can remain healthy. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these potential game changers.

Sam Bradford – The injury history of former first-overall pick Sam Bradford has been well documented. Bradford missed the entire 2014 campaign due to a torn ACL, which happened to be his last season in a Rams uniform.

St. Louis decided to ship Bradford to Philadelphia in exchange for Nick Foles, which could be a blessing in disguise for the former Oklahoma product. When Bradford was playing in Norman, the Sooners used a fast break no huddle offense, similar to what Eagles head coach Chip Kelly utilizes.

“I think he’s got an outstanding skill set,” Kelly said.  “He’s a big, strong, physical quarterback. He’s over 6‑4, he’s 240 pounds, he’s smart, he’s intelligent, he’s one of the most accurate throwers when you see him throw the football.  I think he’s smart.  I think he’s wired right.”

Albeit in limited action, Bradford showed flashes of what may be to come in Kelly’s system during preseason . He completed 86.7 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. It also doesn’t hurt that he accumulated a quarterback rating of 149.6.

With all of that being said, there’s no guarantee Bradford’s preseason success will carry over, but if he’s able to stand upright in the pocket, all bets are off.

Carson Palmer – Just like Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals veteran quarterback Carson Palmer tore his ACL last year, but in his case, he did participate in six games, where he completed over 60 percent of his passes to go along with 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Fortunately for Arizona, they were still able to make the postseason after going 11-5, but that’s where it would all end. The Cards lost to the Panthers in the wildcard round and a big reason for that was their inability to generate consistent offense.

When the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl in 2008, it was the seasoned Kurt Warner who helped lead the way and the hope in the Valley of the Sun is that Palmer can play a similar role.

“You only get so many opportunities,” Palmer stressed. “If you’re lucky enough to play as long as I have, it takes you until you know you’re getting to the end that you realize how small that window is and how few of opportunities you’re going to have.”

However, for Palmer to truly be successful, the Cards offensive line must find a way to protect him consistently.

Percy Harvin – Harvin has not only been a disappointment on the field, but he’s been a problem off the field as well. The former first round pick is now on his fourth team in eight years.

The 5-foot-11 receiver started last season in Seattle, but was traded to the New York Jets due to his toxic aura. At the same time, if you ask Harvin about his Seattle experience, he’ll tell you that it wasn’t all his fault.

“My teammates (in Buffalo) accept me a little more,” Harvin explained. “What I mean by that, I felt when I went to Seattle a lot of the receivers kind of took me as a threat rather than accepting me as a teammate. I always told those guys, I pulled them to the side several times after seeing a couple of the comments they was making to the media, ‘Hey, guys, I’m here to ball with you, I’m here to take us to the next level.'”

Over the course of Harvin’s career, the explosive weapon has endured a countless number of injuries with the latest being a hip injury that kept him out of preseason action.

When Rex Ryan named Tyrod Taylor as the team’s starting quarterback, it came as a bit of a surprise to some, but if you look at the production from training camp to the last preaseason game, it’s hard to disagree with the decision.

On the flip side, Taylor has little to no experience at this level, but it helps when you have talented young receivers like Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. If Harvin enters that equation and can remain healthy, Buffalo’s aerial attack will be better than expected.

Jason Pierre-Paul – This past off-season endured one of the most bizarre off the field stories ever.

The two-time Pro Bowler has proven to be very durable throughout his six-year career, only missing five games, however, the 6-foot-5 defensive end had his right index finger amputated after a incident with fireworks on the fourth of July.

To make matter worse, Pierre-Paul avoided contact with the Giants for a while after the incident, which upset owner John Mara.

“I’m disappointed he’s not here. I think this would be the best place for him to be for a number of different reasons,” Mara stated. “He would have the opportunity to learn the defense, but more importantly, we have the best training staff in the league here. We have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and I think it would be in his best interest to be here for those reasons.”

With Steve Spagnuolo as the team’s defensive coordinator, having JPP back in the lineup would do wonders in his system.

Last year, JPP totaled 77 tackles and led the team with 12.5 sacks.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.