With the offseason completely wrapped up and the new NFL season underway, we can look forward to seeing several new faces in new places, who could be set for big years with their new teams. In what was somewhat of an offseason trend, we saw several former first round draft choices traded to other teams for little compensation.
Although we will have to wait a short while longer until we see Santonio Holmes appear for his new team, this could prove to be the biggest steal of the lot. With the Pittsburgh Steelers wanting to set an example of its players after Holmes' recent legal troubles, the New York Jets cashed in and acquired the former Superbowl MVP for just a 5th round draft pick. Holmes is suspended for the first four weeks of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy but with the amount of talent he has, look for him to return and put up big numbers for the Jets.
As well as grabbing Santonio Holmes, the Jets also moved to obtain former first round pick Antonio Cromartie for a conditional 3rd round pick which could turn into a second round pick. At 6''2, With a rare blend of size and speed, Cromartie has all the tools to be a shutdown corner in this league. However, since recording a league high 10 interceptions in 2007, Cromartie hasn't quite managed to rediscover his form. Sometimes criticized for a lack of effort, the former Florida State Seminole will relish a fresh start for the Jets and if he can rediscover his 2007 form where he was voted to the Pro Bowl, the Jets will have the best cornerback tandem in the league.
Another former Seminole, Ernie Sims was part of a three team trade in which the Eagles gave up a fifth round selection for the linebacker. After being drafted 9th overall, Sims racked up 371 tackles in his first three years for the Detroit Lions before missing a large portion of last season. Sims is known for his speed and aggression and with his sure tackling, he will help the Eagles run defense greatly. If he can play a bit smarter, he could be a steal for the Eagles.
The 9th overall pick a year after Sims was wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. After failing to live up to expectations in Miami, the former Ohio State Buckeye was shipped to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 5th round selection. Ginn is a gifted athlete with gamebreaking speed but had trouble with drops for the Dolphins, and only showed flashes of ability. With the ball in his hands though, Ginn can produce big plays, and if the 49ers can get the ball to him he could be a weapon. At the very least, Ginn will be a dangerous return man after returning 2 kickoffs for touchdowns last year.
Someone who didn't play at all last year and was subsequently traded was former Nebraska standout defensive tackle Adam Carriker. After selecting Carriker with the 13th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft the Rams were disappointed with his production and was dealt to the Washington Redskins for the swapping of fifth and seventh round picks in 2007. A freakish athlete with size,speed and strength, Carriker has the physical tools to become a valuable asset for the Redskins. A change of position could be what Carriker needs to kick-start his NFL career and he will move from defensive tackle in a 4-3 to defensive end in Washington's new 3-4 system. If he and Albert Haynesworth can get things together, they could cause problems for opposing offensive lines.
While Adam Carriker arrived in Washington, a former first round pick was allowed to leave. Quarterback Jason Campbell was traded to Oakland for a 2012 fourth round selection. For a team which has seen very poor play from their quarterbacks over the past few years, Jason Campbell may be what they need. Although fairly unspectacular in his five years for the Redskins, Campbell has been solid. He has thrown for more touchdowns than interceptions in all of his seasons and brings experience to a relatively young Raiders offense. Another gifted athlete, at 6''5 Campbell is the kind of player Al Davis likes a could lead a Raiders resurgence.
These teams have given up mid to late round picks for what were all former first rounders. Often, a change of scenery can re-ignite a player's career and for the low price given up, given the talent these players possess, they could prove to be steals for their new teams.