Caleb McNitt: Andrew Luck
The term “running quarterback” brings to mind guys like Mike Vick and Robert Griffin III, who can simply outrun defenders. Caleb McNitt at 6’3” and 215 and Andrew Luck at 6’4” 240 do not outrun their competition. But both of these players run the ball unlike other players their size. McNitt displayed these running skills last Friday in the first quarter against Kenowa Hills, running the ball around the right end and plowing seven yards into the end zone. McNitt through three games this year has run for 115 yards and three touchdowns, and Andrew Luck ran for 377 yards and 4 touchdowns last year and already has a rushing touchdown in his first game this year. Although both players run well, both throw exceptionally, too. Luck is one of the best players in the NFL and McNitt one of the best in the OK Red.
David Rich: Wes Welker
Neither Rich nor Welker use size or strength to overpower corner backs. Both of these players use their speed and quickness to run past and cut by defenders. Wes Welker at 5’9” and David Rich also at 5’9” don’t tower over or even reach the average NFL corner back at 5’11” to 6’2” or even match the weight of their competition. Last Friday Rich displayed this speed by streaking down the middle of the field and receiving a 45 yard pass from McNitt, starting a scoring drive that would give the Panthers their second and last touchdown helping propel them to the win. That said both Rich and Welker are very successful at their position. Rich is leading the Panthers in receiving yards and Welker, the 2nd shortest receiver in the NFL, had 778 yards and 10 touchdowns, almost averaging a touchdown per game.
Braden Carl: Jimmy Graham
Neither Carl nor Graham outrun cornerbacks or cut faster than them. Both of these wide receivers/ tight ends use their height and out jump shorter cornerbacks to get their yards. Carl at 6’5” and Graham at 6’7” both are much taller than their average competition. Using their height both of these players don’t need to outrun their competition but rather use their height to their advantage such as Carl did against Canton out jumping the corner and snagging the ball for a touchdown. Graham also has been successful at this, scoring 16 touchdowns and receiving over 1,000 yards last season.
Collin Deshaw: Patrick Peterson
Both Colin Deshaw and Patrick Peterson are dominant on the defensive side of the ball playing both cornerback and safety. Unlike other corners in football, both of these players also play on special teams returning punts and playing on kickoff teams. Deshaw and Peterson not only help hold opposing offenses to minimal yards but both help their special teams cover kicks and return kickoffs and punts. Neither player runs over their opponents but both are very effective tacklers and smart defensive players. Deshaw has had six solo tackles in the first two games and 14 combined tackles on the season, and Peterson has 162 tackles in only three seasons in the NFL. Deshaw displayed these defensive skills against Kenowa hills in the 1st quarter when cornerback David Rich knocked the pass attempt away from the receiver and up into the air. As others celebrated the play Deshaw saw the ball up in the air and hustled over from his safety position to snag the ball before hitting the grass.
To see these players in action, come see the Panthers battle the Buccaneers Friday the 19th at home at 7:00.