CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals 34-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The tireless draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. is, well, tireless. After spending months detailing prospects in the NFL Draft, complete with mock drafts and analysis of his big board, Kiper follows that up with grades on teams and how they drafted. Tireless.
In his latest, Kiper drew up a list of players "bound for a leap year" (ESPN In$ider) from the 2010 NFL Draft class.
If you're like me, you might have thought leap year implied players will need an additional season of development before they truly leave their mark on the NFL. Of course during times of urgent lockout news with the NFL being so active within the landscape of transactions, workouts and fan-friendly resolutions, we tend to lose our minds. And by "we", I mean, I. And by "I", I mean those helmet-loving geniuses at ESPN.
No. Kiper's "players bound for a leap year" means just that. Leaping towards a greater sophomore season after a solid (or less than solid) rookie season. Jermaine Gresham was one (ESPN In$ider)
The results: It wouldn't have been fair to expect a ton from Gresham. He sat out the entire previous season with a broken leg, so rust was inevitable. He finished the year with 471 receiving yards and caught four touchdown passes.
Why the leap: Gresham is about as talented as they come at this position. With a year of experience under his belt, he's the sort of talent who can be an offensive centerpiece, not just a mere check-down and red-zone threat. Obviously, what the Bengals have at quarterback will shift his numbers, but he should be ready to take off.