Which young players off the practice squad and roster will step up and play a bigger role in '06?
Steve, Palatine, IL STEVE:
Who knows how it will all pan out by Cutdown Day, but I think a lot of these guys are going to get serious looks in the camps. No. 1 on the list, given the Chris Henry problems and the poor punt returns in '05, has to be wide receiver Jamall Broussard.
Broussard gets a shot in NFL Europe this spring and the call here is that he'll be one of the league's top players. He's practiced with a NFL team for two years, he's a real bright guy, and he can run like the East wind. Cornerback Deltha O'Neal credited going against Broussard's lightning every day as one of the reasons he went to the Pro Bowl.
At 5-9, 180 pounds the question on Broussard is always going to be his size. But if Henry is out for any length of time, or flat out done, one thing they lose is that vertical speed. You'd probably have to put Broussard in the slot, but you can run fast down the field inside, too.
If Broussard pops a punt return or two, or goes deep a few times, you may have to find a spot for him.
Another guy to watch is safety Herana-Daze Jones, the second-year free agent out of Indiana. Better known as Indiana Jones. He's fast and can hit and will have to make a splash on special teams if he's going to stick, but he seems to have the grit to do it and become a backup safety.
Second-year safety Tony Bua, a 220-pounder out of Arkansas who played some for the Dolphins as a rookie on special teams, could also become a factor here on teams. And fullback-tight-end-great-practice-guy Ronnie Ghent is going to get a long look at doing something. He's got nice versatility and maybe he could be the third tight end with Tony Stewart a free agent. Maybe. But it also comes down to special teams for him and he'll have to make a bigger impact there in the preseason than he did last season.
And there's running back Quincy Wilson, a very solid guy who could make a lot of teams as a Rudi Johnson clone. Is this his time to make the roster if they don't re-sign third-down specialist Kenny Watson? They would love to have Watson back because of his hands and special teams ability, but that would probably make Wilson the odd man out. Still, if Wilson shows some of the same attributes. . .