Editorial

These 4 NFL Players Improved Their Stock in Offseason Workouts

The National Football League (NFL) schedule seemingly never stops, which is why it can be difficult to make NFL expert picks. Teams improve through the draft, which is prefaced by exhaustive NFL Draft Combine coverage, and players progress and become more familiar with team systems through offseason workouts.

So, even when there are no games being played, there’s always something to discuss concerning the NFL. Teams hold a series of Organized Team Activity (OTA) sessions throughout the offseason, with the first scheduled as early as April.

There have already been several OTA sessions, and while they are not all mandatory, plenty of first-year and veteran players alike have used these opportunities to showcase their abilities in hopes of earning more playing time next season.

Many players, including those listed below, have had standout OTA workouts and appear poised for improved production in 2022.

Jamison Crowder (WR, Buffalo Bills)

Few NFL predictions have the New York Jets being a competitive team in 2022 (or ever, for that matter), but fortunately for Jamison Crowder, he’s no longer with the lowly AFC East franchise. Instead, he signed with the team’s division rival, the Buffalo Bills, during this past offseason.

Crowder signed a one-year deal with the Bills at a guaranteed base salary of $1.2 million but could earn as much as $2 million if he meets his bonus targets. That’s a great deal for a reliable veteran receiver.

The 29-year-old was hampered by minor injuries in each of the past two years but still had respectable numbers. He recorded 833 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2019, his first year with the Jets. He’s a seven-year veteran with 4,067 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns.

Isaiah McKenzie, because of familiarity, has the inside track at taking over the slot receiver role from Cole Beasley, who is still a free agent. But Crowder has looked comfortable in OTAs and should challenge for playing time.

Isaiah Likely (TE, Baltimore Ravens)

The tight end position is an incredibly integral part of the Baltimore Ravens’ offense, and always one of the greatest NFL picks. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, if he’s not scrambling or rushing up the field, looks to target the middle of the field, where he usually finds the reliable Mark Andrews or Nick Boyle.

Jackson might have another weapon at tight end this season and some insurance in case Andrews is out for any amount of time with an injury. Isaiah Likely, a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has been playing great in OTAs and has even impressed Jackson.

Likely made a few impressive touchdown catches in red-zone drills on the Ravens’ last day of minicamp. One spectacular one-handed catch prompted Jackson to comment to ESPN reporter Jamison Hensley: “It was a tremendous catch. So, the sky’s the limit.”

Grant Delpit (S, Cleveland Browns)

A second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft, Grant Delpit started seven and appeared in 15 games last season and didn’t look out of place but also didn’t exactly showcase the abilities that made him a star at LSU. Fortunately for Browns fans, he has been very impressive in OTAs.

Delpit is expected to start this season, and if his offseason performances have been any indication, he just may become one of the top safeties in the league. According to the Browns ESPN reporter Jake Trotter, Delpit intercepted Cleveland’s new quarterback, Deshaun Watson, several times in practice drills.

Nico Collins (WR, Houston Texans)

Second-year wide receiver Nico Collins is poised for a breakout campaign as one of the Houston Texans’ starting receivers. Quarterback Davis Mills has even commented on the 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Birmingham, Alabama, noting he has “a good grasp of the offense” and that “his talent is off the charts.” Mills also expressed he has to find ways to get Collins the ball next season, which is a good sign for his fantasy owners.

Collins, a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, recorded 729 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2019, his final season with the University of Michigan. He had 33 receptions for 446 yards and one touchdown last season.

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