C.J. Spiller will enjoy a breakout campaign this season. But the 2010 first-rounder will not be alone. Three other running backs are also set for breakout seasons.
These include a veteran who will finally be free from the constraints of a crowded rotation. While a pair of exciting second-year backs will benefit from becoming the feature of their respective offenses.
1. Chris Ivory, New York Jets
Chris Ivory has spent three seasons sharing the load in the New Orleans Saints backfield. He has yearned for carries as if they are scraps from a dinner table.
When Ivory has been given his chance to run the ball he has rarely disappointed. A tenacious power back with deceptive quickness, Ivory can be a true workhorse.
He will certainly get that chance with the New York Jets. Gang Green will give Ivory more carries and may have to lean on him, if neither Mark Sanchez or rookie Geno Smith emerge as a competent quarterback.
2. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid plans to use star running back Jamaal Charles in multiple ways. He will use Charles in a similar way to the way he used Brian Westbrook with the Philadelphia Eagles.
FoxSportsKansasCity.com reports that the Chiefs are aligning Charles in various positions this offseason. Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson are moving Charles all around the formation.
The dynamic runner is being lined up in pistol and read-option looks, as well as the pro-set in the West Coast offense. When he is not in the backfield, Charles is being split out as a wide receiver.
It is a smart move by the Chiefs to find multiple uses for Charles. It is hard to believe the previous regimes did not do the same.
Charles has awesome multipurpose potential. He caught only 37 passes in 2012, but Charles is a more than capable receiver.
Monte Kiffin can be the x-factor that wins the Dallas Cowboys the NFC East division in 2013. The ageing defensive guru will be the Cowboys' secret weapon against Robert Griffin III and Chip Kelly.
Griffin savaged the East as a rookie in 2012, helping the Washington Redskins claim the division crown. The key to his success was a read-option, pistol offense that maximized Griffin's dual-threat skills.
His ability to make plays with his arm and his feet, stretched defenses to breaking point. In particular, Griffin dominated the Cowboys.
He helped the Redskins best their arch rivals twice. One of those wins was a 38-31 victory in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Griffin hurled four touchdown passes and baffled the Cowboys defense.
It is no coincidence that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turned to senior citizen Kiffin to run his defense. Jones saw a glimpse of what Griffin could do to the Cowboys twice a season for the next decade.
He also knows how well Kiffin has stifled dual-threat quarterbacks in the past. He made his reputation running the smothering Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses of the late nineties and early noughties.
It seems as if it's so far, so good in the early relationship between Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick and his new Head Coach, Chip Kelly.
The former Oregon Coach is seen by many to be Vick's last chance to make a serious impact in the NFL, before the league cuts ties with him altogether. He appears to be tailor-made for the fast-paced Kelly offense as he looks to make the transition from the College ranks to the National Football League. It seems to be a favourable situation for both parties.
Providing Vick wins the job, of course.
Kelly has made no secret of the fact this off-season there is a serious Quarterback competition in Philly. As we enter the second week of Organised Team Activities, that was all too evident. It seems that last week's impressive display from Vick during OTA's was not enough for Kelly to announce him as the team's number one option going into the season. What's more, during Tuesday's practice, it was Nick Foles who took the majority of snaps on the first day this week, giving Vick a clear indication that it will take a lot of hard work if he is to win the job he has called his own for the best part of four seasons.
The Atlanta Falcons are close to signing veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour, according to Fox Sports. The move would give the Falcons a versatile defensive lineman for their multiple-front schemes, who is still capable of dominating.
Seymour has spent the past four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Despite some struggles with the Silver and Black, the 33-year-old remains a powerful force.
After years as a key playmaker in the New England Patriots 3-4 system, Seymour showcased his versatility in Oakland. He seamlessly transitioned to the Raiders' 4-3 fronts.
Seymour can still excel at both end and tackle. That should certainly appeal to a Falcons defensive front in need of more hybrid playmakers.
The NFC South champions cut ties with premier pass-rusher John Abraham this offseason. They were smart to move for ex-New York Giants sack master, Osi Umenyiora as his replacement.