2012 NFL Training Camps: Don't Buy into the Hype on These 5 Camp Standouts

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2012

Aug. 4, 2012;  Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback David Garrard (9) throws during a scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

As easy as it is to become enamored with positive training camp performances, there are five players fans and pundits should be wary of believing the hype around. They include a starting quarterback looking to rebound from a sub-par rookie campaign and a 2010 first-round pick yet to make an impact in the NFL.

Don't buy into the hype on the following five 2012 training camp standouts. 


Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

Ex-Michigan star Brandon Graham has failed to live up to expectations since being taken in the first-round of the 2010 draft. While the Philadelphia Eagles certainly aren't short of talent at defensive end, Jason Babin and Trent Cole are getting up there in years and the emergence of a productive, youthful rush end wouldn't hurt.

Yet, a positive camp showing isn't enough reason to expect a breakout year from Graham. The 24-year-old has made only six starts and registered a mere 17 combined tackles in two seasons. Going from those numbers to starting-caliber would be a serious leap. 


Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Tarvaris Jackson may be working with the first-team units to begin training camp, but the Seattle Seahawks should hope that free agent Matt Flynn overtakes him by the time the season begins.

The Seattle Times reported that Jackson has enjoyed the share the of first-team reps. However, that hasn't been enough to clearly eliminate Flynn from the race.

The former Green Bay Packer will start the opening preseason game, according to another report from the Times. Jackson may have enjoyed a solid start to camp, but don't expect him to be the day one starter once the season begins. 


Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

It seems that an influx of new weapons has been a major boost to Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The Florida Times-Union reported that Gabbert's mechanics have been better.

However, any improvements made by the second-year passer could be undermined by the absence of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who remains the Jaguars' most dangerous weapon. Gabbert is also not being helped by the disappointing early showing from free-agent wideout Laurent Robinson.

NFL.com recently reported that the Jags' pass offense still needs major work, according to offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski. 


Tyrone Crawford, DE/OLB, Dallas Cowboys

Third-round draft choice Tyrone Crawford is wasting no time making a name for himself at the Dallas Cowboys' training camp. The ex-Boise State standout is showing top-notch pass rush skills and has caught the eye of coaches already, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.

However, Cowboys fans should still proceed with caution before buying into this early dose of hype. It's not a slight on Crawford or his performances, but the Cowboys are always looking for and anointing players capable of taking the pressure off DeMarcus Ware.

First it was Anthony Spencer and then Victor Butler. Crawford may have the size and versatility to contribute as a rookie. However, he may find it difficult to crack the starting lineup on a team seemingly always willing to give underachievers another chance.


David Garrard, QB, Miami Dolphins

Former Jacksonville Jaguars' starter David Garrard has been impressing a number of people at the Miami Dolphins' training camp, including Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

However, even with that kind of endorsement, it might still be too early to buy into the hype surrounding Garrard's NFL comeback. Controversial eighth overall pick Ryan Tannehill has also started to impress since signing his rookie deal.

Both NFL.com and the Palm Beach Post have noted that Tannehill has made a solid first impression, as he bids to prove wrong the detractors who said he wasn't worth a top-10 choice. Garrard may have the early edge, but Tannehill played for offensive coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M and is clearly the starter in waiting.

That means there is little margin for error for Garrard. A strong enough training camp and preseason from Tannehill could heap untenable pressure on the veteran retread.