ESPN's Scouts Inc released yesterday their list of 32 "V-Factor" players, or the one player on each team for which opponents cannot game plan. The term "V-Factor" is derived from the name of the guy who inspired the list, the Philadelphia Eagle's quarterback Michael Vick.
For the Dolphins, KC Joyner identified wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Explaining his selection, Joyner writes:
"The sixth year vet's ability to shake off vicious hits over the middle made him the most productive pass catcher on dangerous routes (deep ins, crossing routes, etc.) in 2010. His completion rate of 88% (22 of 25 targets for 268 yards) was tops among receivers thrown to at least 20 times on such routes."
Although I can understand the selection of Marshall, I would have thought the pick would be either running back Reggie Bush or linebacker Cameron Wake. Bush was brought in to the team this offseason to add some explosiveness to a stagnant offensive scheme. Meanwhile, Wake was tied for second in the NFL last season with 14.0 sacks, and, although his performance slipped near the end of the year, Wake's ability to get after the quarterback is at least a focus of the game plan, if not a large chunk of it.
Around the rest of the AFC East, Joyner selected Brandon Tate for the New England Patriots, stating:
"Want to know how Tom Brady tied for second in the NFL in yards per stretch vertical attmept (20-Plus yards)? Look no further than Tate. His ability to break open on corner, post and go routes was key to the two-yard pro catching six of 12 stretch vertical targets for 241 yards and two TDs last season."
As for the New York Jets, Joyce selected Antonio Cromartie (how this is not Revis, I don't know):
"After five season of lockdown coverage, Cromartie might be the perfect defensive mirror to Vick himself. He plays tight in man-to-man (6.3 YPA, 17 passes defensed in 2010), has rapid reaction (18 career INTs) and, like Vick, knows what to do in the open field (302 INT return yards)."
And, finally, the Buffalo Bills's nose tackle Kyle Williams. Once again, Joyce wrote:
"O-linemen should have an advantage over their defensive counterparts, because they know precisely when the ball will be snapped. But that edge is lost against Williams. No defender anticipate a QB's count better than him, which is a big reason he led all D-linement with 11 tackles for loss last year."
You can follow the link above to the write up for the rest of the league (ESPN Insider Account required).