NFL Class of 2007 Hidden Gems
Kolby Smith, RB, Chiefs
Smith has stepped up since Kansas City running backs Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes went down with injuries. The former Louisville Cardinal rushed for 150 yards in Week 12 and 83 in Week 13.
Aundrae Allison, KR, Vikings
Allison hasn't played much for the Vikings, but in a league where kick returner is rapidly becoming a vital position, several teams probably wish they had scooped up the former East Carolina receiver. Allison has three returns over 60 yards, including a 103-yard TD, and has averaged over 37 yards in 10 returns this season. He's still raw, but he seems to have a knack for making the big play.
Nick Folk, K, Cowboys
Folk is tied with fellow rookie Mason Crosby for the league lead in scoring. Folk gets the slight edge over Mason, because the Cowboy hit a game-winning 53-yard field goal against the Bills not once, but twice, because Buffalo called a timeout right before the first attempt. Folk has hit 20 of 23 attempts and should be a key weapon for Dallas in the postseason.
Fred Bennett, CB, Texans
Bennett has been burned a few times, but he's improved this season and has three interceptions in his last four games. Teammate DeMeco Ryans told the <i>Houston Chronicle</i> that Bennett would be a "shut-down" corner in this league.
Steve Breaston, Returner/WR, Cardinals
The former Michigan standout is quickly developing into a dangerous punt and kick returner. In Week 13's win over Cleveland, Breaston showed he could contribute as a receiver with a clutch catch in the 27-21 victory.
Brian Robison, DE, Vikings
The former Texas star has 4 1/2 sacks this season and has added a lot of energy to a line that needed a lot of help rushing the passer.
James Jones, WR, Packers
Jones has 43 catches for 633 yards and has become the primary vertical threat for the Packers. The San Jose State product immediately displayed toughness and good hands to go along with his speed.
Selvin Young, RB, Broncos
The former Texas Longhorn wasn't drafted, but proved he could carry on the Broncos' tradition of excellence at running back. He's been slowed by injuries, but when he's in there he has averaged 5.0 yards per carry and been a dangerous weapon at receiver.
Ed Johnson, DT, Colts
Johnson was at one time considered a first-round talent at Penn State, but fell in the draft, in part because of questions about his character. But he's started every game for the Colts, and done an excellent job replacing the injured Anthony McFarland.
Tanard Jackson, S, Buccaneers
A converted cornerback from Syracuse, Jackson has been a standout in Tampa Bay's Cover Two defense. He's an excellent hitter with a knack for finding the ball. Jackson has 12 pass defenses, two interceptions and 45 solo tackles.