As training camp continues, and holdouts are still strong, here is a look at the players who stand to benefit from a holdout. These are the players who directly back up the players who are holding out. Can teams really afford to be without a star player? Let’s have a look at the potential starters, shall we?
Josh Allen, Defensive End, Jaguars, Rookie
This is a player whom we all assume could do a lot of damage given the opportunity. The opportunity may show it’s head soon with the current hold out of Yannick Ngakoue. Allen would immediately step in for Yannick at DE. The bigger, stronger rookie could even make Yannick expendable if need be. Although that is not the plan. I believe the Jags want Yan for a long time, but if they don’t match, look for Josh Allen to rise to the occasion. Josh is excited to be a Jag and looks forward to contining the Sacksonville tradition. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Ngakoue has ended his holdout since this article was initially written. However, that doesn’t change the impact Josh Allen could have if and when called upon.)
Alfred Morris, Running Back, Cowboys, 7th Year
The 30 year old running back actually has a chance that not many 30 year old running backs get. An opportunity to start. Zeke Elliot continues to hold out and is doing it big in Mexico, more specifically in Cabo. This will be Morris’ 3rd team since his 3 straight 1,000 yard performances in Washington, and his second signing with the Cowboys. He’s been a solid back up for Zeke in years’ past with the Cowboys. Jerry Jones doesn’t believe Dallas needs a superstar running rack to win a Super Bowl (he might be right, See Dallas O-line). Looks like neither Dallas nor Zeke are anxious to get a deal done and that is great for Alfred Morris.
Austin Ekeler, Running Back, Chargers, 3rd Year
It is truly next man up mentality in the Los Angeles Chargers facility. This situation seems to be the bona fide next man up of all the holdout situations (well, this and the Trent Williams situation). Melvin Gordon is holding out and threatening a trade. Meanwhile, back at Chargers camp, they are moving forward with Austin Ekeler. If you are a fantasy player you know Austin Ekeler is better than he is rated. While not a fantasy starter when Melvin Gordon is in the game, he easily picks up the slack when Gordon misses time due to injury. Last season behind Gordon, Ekeler amassed 554 yards for a 5.2 average and also found the end zone 3 times. Ekeler will benefit a ton and prove his worth if Gordon continues to holdout or is traded.
Whomever, Offensive Tackle, Redskins, N/A
Trent Williams is out… next man up. Unfortunately, with this case it seems the Redskins may not be sold on their next man. The next man up would happen to be 3rd round rookie Geron Christian. The Redskins have signed Donald Penn and the 36 year old Penn will most likely push for the starting job. It seems like the angst between the team and Trent Williams grows. This next man up situation is a bit hard to pin point.
Duke Ejiofor, Jack Backer, Texans, 2nd Year
I think this might be the most difficult to predict. The difference between Jadeveon Clowney and Duke Ejiofor might be one more reason to give Clowney the bag. Duke Ejiofor is only a 2nd year player and he was a 6th round pick. It would be a stretch to say that Duke Ejiofor would be able to fill the shoes and production of Clowney. This will be a clear “Next man up by committee” if this Clowney holdout takes a turn for the worst. Look for a combo of Whitney Mercilus and JJ Watt to shine in his absence, but Ejiofor will be the the primary NMU in a Clowney holdout.
You know what they say about big shoes…
Big Socks. These players holding out are not in the news because they are scrubs. They are very good players who carry much expectation. If we have holdouts into the season I’ll be rooting for these next man up players, but they will have big shoes to fill. I love seeing feel good stories like players getting opportunities and taking full advantage of them. Last year the world was introduced to James Conner when Leveon Bell held out the entire season. Those shoes were filled well. Good luck to all who may be granted an opportunity of a lifetime.
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