Speed Bump 21- Dez Bryant vs His Elders
Posted Aug. 15 at 01:12 PM
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Rounding out the first of the final ten of the 2010 Speed Bump Polls and fantasy draft-day boot camp we take a look at an 8th rookie from the 2010 NFL Draft class in Dallas' Dez Bryant, the 24th pick of the 1st round and the 2nd WR selected, two spots after Denver took Demaryius Thomas. Collectively, Donald Driver, T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Derrick Mason are 103 years old and have 34 years of NFL experience to draw upon.
One thing's for certain – Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones loves him some Dez Bryant. Jones made sure Bryant was a Dallas Cowboy in this year's draft giving up 3rd and 4th round picks to move up three spots to nab Bryant and then quickly awarded his new receiver the infamous #88 (Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin's old number). Jones had been open about how passing on Randy Moss because of character issues was one of his greatest mistakes and he didn't intend on making the same mistake twice. Like Moss in 1998, many teams took Bryant off their 1st-round draft boards letting him slide amid character concerns after getting suspended for the bulk of his '09 collegiate season as they were afraid of getting a player who didn't take accountability and lacked the necessary work ethic to be a difference-maker in the NFL. Bryant was quick to try to erase those concerns as a Cowboy. Bryant was the very first of the NFL's 1st-rounders to sign this year – or as Jerry Jones said, "I'm going to use the phrase, not on time, before time," when interviewed on the signing. When training camp opened Bryant was the first player on the field. "I'm just ready to play, that's the message," Bryant said. As a sophomore at Oklahoma State in 2008, the only season Bryant was a full-time starter in college, he collected 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 TDs. Cowboys' HC Wade Phillips commented that Bryant was the most impressive rookie he had seen in 33 years of coaching and even WR Roy Williams (who will be competing with Bryant ultimately for his job) heaped praise upon Bryant saying, "The dude is scary. Once the light bulb goes on he will probably be the best in the league." A chief concern of course is the high-ankle injury Bryant suffered on July 30th but by all accounts he is recovering ahead of schedule and will be good to go week one of the season and high ankle sprains can linger.
Donald Driver (35) just keeps chugging along - now six straight years with 1,000+ yards receiving. He's 35 and the inevitable decline is approaching although Driver has said he'd like to play until he's 40. Driver had arthroscopic surgery on both knees in January and he's missed some camp time with leg issues (then again, with his experience he can afford to rest some in camp).
The pup of the Dez Bryant elders, T.J. Houshmanzadeh (33 in late September) enters year two as a Seahawk. Seattle signed Houshmanzadeh to a 5-year, $40M contract last year; Houshmanzadeh under-delivered with 911 yards and 3 TDs (although he quietly played thru sports hernia). Houshmanzadeh had hernia surgery in May yielding everyone to put at least one foot in his 2010 grave although he is practicing in camp with little no issues currently. Over the last three seasons Houshmanzadeh averages 986 yards per season and has scored just 7 TDs combined in his last 31 games.
With Anquan Boldin now on the Ravens, Derrick Mason (36) slides into the #2 receiver role. He's been on the edge of retirement the last two seasons but Mason signed back up this off-season with a 2-year deal in March. Like Donald Driver who has averaged 1,040 yards per season over the last three years, Mason has just barely hit the 1K mark as well, averaging 1,051 over the last three seasons.
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