Five on the Rise: Emerging Offensive Weapons in 2010

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Deji Karim

  • Role in Preseason: Gene Smith plucked Karim out of Southern Illinois in the 6th Round to give Jacksonville a legitimate threat on kickoffs, giving the Offense better starting field position. Sought for his burst and vision, Deji has turned some heads in OTA’s and the preseason with his fluid moves and penchant for the big play.
  • Potential Role in 2010: Deji’s role on the Offense in 2010 does not figure to be substantial, but I expect a few touches per game that allow him to use the skills that make him a successful kick returner.  Built similarly to Maurice Jones-Drew, defenders will likely have similar troubles keying in on Deji when he obscures himself behind big blockers. Screens, sweeps, and other plays where he can let his blocks set up and burst through the gaps could make him an absolute terror.
  • Possible Obstacles: A hand injury will be keeping Karim out for the next few weeks at least and because of his small size, he’ll likely face the same durability questions that Jones-Drew has heard (and proven wrong) his whole career. Despite the exciting play-making potential Karim has shown thus far, Mojo is still the most explosive player on the Offense and until proven otherwise, it’s unlikely he’d be pulled for something that Deji could do better.
  • Odds of Fulfilling this Role:  25% – Deji is talented, but extremely raw. He was drafted to return kicks and that will be the priority the coaches will place on him. However, his big-play potential is too exciting to leave completely untested.