10 NFL Players Ideal for Hard Knocks

Greg Maiola@Gom1094Senior Analyst IIAugust 18, 2012

10 NFL Players Ideal for Hard Knocks

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    The 2012 season of HBO's Hard Knocks lost its true star when Chad Johnson was released in Miami. The series will still continue and still be popular. However, it will probably lose a little bit of luster.

    This list shows 10 players that would star in the summer series. There are particular players that would either make the audience laugh, think about life or just attract people to watch the show.

    Here are 10 players that would be absolutely brilliant for the show that has captivated the NFL world.

Tim Tebow

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    If Tim Tebow goes to the bathroom, ESPN is all over it and Skip Bayless will be defending it. Everything Tebow does not only gets exposed nation-wide, it often gets blown out of proportion.

    The media would love to get its hands on Tebow at a 24/7 rate. Fans of the NFL would either love or hate even more Tebow coverage, but they would all tune in.

    Maybe the haters will wait for Tebow to say a bad word. Maybe the lovers would enjoy to see Tebow wear his faith on his sleeve in a new way, which there is nothing wrong with. Regardless, the Tebow story-lines would be endless.

    Even though the Jets have already gone through a Hard Knocks, Tebow's presence would top anything ever seen on the show's history.

Stevie Johnson

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    Stevie Johnson is the main threat in the Bills passing game. He is also the main threat of the media when he enjoys himself.

    Johnson's ways of having fun often come with hurting the team. If he scores, you know he's got something great up his sleeve. After all, why so serious? He has brilliant celebrations, but they usually end up in flags, actually setting the Bills back.

    The coaches in Buffalo love Johnson, just before he reaches the endzone.

    The fans love him as well, especially when he reaches the endzone.

    Johnson would provide some funny celebrations and some clever interviews. He is a easy going guy who is exciting on the field. It would be great to see him taunting his teammates and just having fun on the field.

    Johnson went from a 7th round afterthought to an NFL stud. And this story of success would thrive on television.

Robert Griffin III

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    The 2012 edition of Hard Knocks shows a rookie in a tight competition for the team's starting quarterback position. Robert Griffin III would provide the journey of perhaps the most highly touted rookie the NFL has seen in the past few years.

    The world would get to see how RG3 thrives under pressure. Washington had to give up a heck of a lot to draft him at the No. 2 spot. They dished out a heck of a lot of money to give him a good supporting cast. The kid must now compensate them by playing good football.

    Watching Griffin III trying to reach the expectations set out for him would be fun to watch. He is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but is a little fish in a big pond in the NFL.

    Having a franchise being built around him gives RG3 a sense of responsibility and pressure he has probably never felt. It would be cool to see how he thrives in it.

Peyton Manning

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    Peyton Manning is a future first ballot Hall of Famer. He is a four-time MVP and a Super Bowl MVP. However, in his mid 30s, he finds himself in a rookie's situation.

    A new state, a new city, a new team. A new set of expectations and responsibilities. A new system, new teammates, a new situation. Everything about Manning in Denver is new and different.

    Watching how Manning adjusts to life out west would be fascinating. Seeing how he comes back from his neck injury would be enticing. Learning how he interacts with new teammates and a new system would leave us in awe.

    Manning is the ultimate professional and watching his journey back to NFL prominence would be truly amazing.

    No drama or controversy here. More like teaching an old dog new tricks.

Drew Brees

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    Drew Brees was holding out from the Saints. The captain of the team and leader of the city was willing to stay away from the Saints until he was fairly compensated.

    Well Brees got his wish, but things will never be the same in New Orleans.

    Watching how the Saints come back from one of the biggest scandals in NFL history would be very entertaining. Brees is the unquestioned leader for the gold and black. The nation would get to see how he responds and leads his team forward.

    Without their head coach, general manager and defensive captain this training camp, it would be fascinating to see the approach taken in New Orleans.

    This situation is made for television. And only a professional like Brees has the capability to keep everything under control in New Orleans.

Donald Driver

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    Donald Driver will go down as one of the greatest Packers in Green Bay history. But in 2012, Driver is 37 and there's no guarantee he'll make a big impact.

    Though chances are Driver will make the roster, nothing is beyond that is certain. Receivers Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings will start. The younger James Jones might be able to make more plays than an aging Driver. But No. 80 won't go down without a fight.

    Watching the proven Driver fight to stay relevant would make for great television. He has proven himself throughout his career, but must fight for the right to contribute in Green Bay.

    The fans love Driver, he is practically a legend. But the Packers will do what is best for them, and that might not include Driver in the plans. But boy, will Driver fight to stay in Green Bay and to make plays for the squad.

Terrell Owens

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    Terrell Owens would provide a little bit of everything on Hard Knocks.

    He would show off his athletic ability and willingness to compete. In what some might call a miracle, T.O. has another shot in the NFL. And everybody knows how much football means to Owens and that he will not want to blow his opportunity.

    Owens is a tad bit more mature than in the past, but he can still provide some great laughs and comments. He might be able to crack some jokes in interviews or with his teammates. Seeing how the players, fans and city embrace him is also an interesting prospect.

    Get your popcorn ready because this is the new and improved Terrell Owens. Though he is in his late 30s, he will be on a mission to prove he belongs. And his controversial past will lead to an interesting future back in the NFL.

Peyton Hillis

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    Watching Peyton Hillis compete in Kansas City would make for an interesting Hard Knocks.

    Hillis was tremendous in 2010, earning himself the cover of Madden NFL '12. However, he was awful in 2011 and now finds himself out of Cleveland.

    As a Chief, Hillis is in a battle with the talented Jamaal Charles for carries. Both backs are coming off of injuries and have a lot to prove. However, both bring a different style of play to the table and want to prove their worth.

    Hillis is having a very good training camp and is pushing hard for more carries. The more opportunities he gets, the more he seems to chip away at Charles and the starting role.

    Watching this competition would be exciting because both backs are brilliant in completely different ways. Seeing if Hillis can return to his 2010 form would be fun to watch as well.

Jared Allen

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    Jared Allen was .5 sacks off of the NFL record in 2011. He was nearly the Defensive Player of the Year last year and is a top five defensive end in the league.

    But what makes Allen great is that he is absolutely hilarious. The mullet is gone, but the character remains.

    Watching a 24/7 take of Allen's football life would keep fans on the edge of their seats and excited to see what else he has up his sleeve. He is an complete goofball but when it comes to gameday, he is one of the most feared defenders.

    Seeing how Allen transitions from nut to nasty would be very interesting. Also seeing how he deals with being on a weak team would be enticing because his production is not being rewarded in Minnesota.

Ronde Barber

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    Ronde Barber has been in the NFL since 1997, making him one of the oldest players in the NFL today. What makes Barber impressive is that he plays at the defensive back position, meaning he is still a very good athlete.

    Barber would be good for the show because players nearing the age of 40 tend to stick around on teams that can compete for a Super Bowl. However, Tampa Bay finds itself with a new head coach, new system, new personnel and in another overhaul.

    Somehow, Barber doesn't let his surroundings affect him. He still plays the game because he loves the game. But seeing how the proven Pro Bowler responds to yet another system will be interesting. Watching Barber put up with rookies and a new way of life will be very fascinating because Barber doesn't have much football left in him.

    Another roster overhaul for Ronde Barber, but he stays loyal to his team. It looks as if Barber will walk away from the game with one championship--and he knows it. But how will it affect his studying, work-ethic and production?