After months of speculating and postulating, football is back! No longer will we be left wondering how Buffalo Bills rookie Sammy Watkins will mesh with EJ Manuel, or trying to imagine Jared Allen in full Chicago Bears gear; we'll finally be able to see the offseason's juiciest storylines on the field of play.
As teams around the NFL open training camp and begin in earnest to prepare for the 2014 season, which player are you most excited to watch in action?
Manziel, Clowney both have weak areas they'll need to improveTwo names jump out to me: Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney. Can Manziel adapt to the pro game, both on and off the field? His arm seems strong enough, based on the tape I've watched. Plus, he has a quick release, excellent instincts outside of the pocket and, of course, is a threat as a runner. But can he learn to play inside the pocket and show the off-field commitment to be successful?
Meanwhile, Clowney has as much raw pass-rushing talent as any player I've ever scouted. But after playing primarily with his hand in the dirt at South Carolina, Clowney is shifting to outside linebacker in the Houston Texans' 3-4 defense. How seamlessly will this transition go? In college, Clowney got blocked by some offensive tackles he should've been able to handle. Was this due to a lack of effort, instincts or knowledge on how to rush the passer? I'll be watching to see how he develops in these three areas.
Can Eli bounce back in 2014?I'm really anxious to see how Eli Manning rebounds from his turnover-plagued 2013 season. He has a new offensive coordinator (Ben McAdoo) and an explosive new weapon (Odell Beckham). Not to mention, an upgraded offensive line, with solid offseason additions in free agency and the draft.
The Eagles are still the team to beat in the NFC East, but the Giants could reclaim the top spot if Manning returns to Pro Bowl form.
Barr's development under Zimmer will be fun to watchI'm most excited to watch Minnesota Vikings rookie Anthony Barr during training camp and the preseason. Beyond Jadeveon Clowney, Barr was the most dynamic edge player in the 2014 NFL Draft. I want to see how new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer takes advantage of the former UCLA standout's talents as a versatile playmaker.
I expect the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder to emerge as a sack artist early in his career, but of course, we'll have to see how quickly he can adjust to the speed and tempo of the pro game.
Who are we kidding? It's all about Johnny FootballThis one's simple.
After a summer's worth of inflatable swans and hangouts with the Bieb, Johnny Manziel will finally take the field in Cleveland.
We're talking about the most exciting college player in eons embroiled in a roster battle at football's most important position -- for a town that hasn't seen proper quarterback play since Ronald Reagan roamed the White House.
Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins and Teddy Bridgewater all make for must-watch camp fare, but we've obsessed collectively over Manziel since last season wrapped. It's time to see the goods.