In the NFL, no player is guaranteed to produce as advertised. Many prospects are drafted early with the hopes they can develop into a dominant force for their new team. Sometimes this is the case — other times, it’s not. A great example of a let-down, thus far, is Kenny Britt. It is hard to think of a more disappointing player in recent history and with a forgettable 2013 in the books, Britt now hits free agency and fantasy footballers everywhere wait to see where he lands.
All of Britt’s tangibles have been well-documented. Whether it’s his size and speed or his ability to overpower defensive backs, but the intangibles were the main concern for Britt coming out of Rutgers and they proved detrimental to his career, as he has already been suspended for off the field conduct. In early 2011, Kenny Britt looked like the wide receiver he was drafted to be. Through two games, he had 14 catches for 371 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, his season was ended by a terrible knee injury in week three vs Denver. In 2012, the expectations were lower for Britt as he returned from a torn ACL and MCL, but he underwhelmed by posting a 45/589/4 stat line, all the while, rookie Kendall Wright emerged as the top wide receiving option in Nashville.
This season was a make or break year for Britt, at least to many dynasty owners who have been hanging onto him by a thread. He was supposedly fully recovered from surgery, entering the final year of his contract and looking to set himself up for a big payday in 2014. And then the wheels came off.
Britt was getting the targets early on, but he showed worse hands than Darrius Heyward-Bey, and continued to make mental errors that killed drives and set Jake Locker up for failure. Britt lacked discipline and was punished by losing nearly all of his playing time to Damian Williams and Justin Hunter. At one point, he had more penalty yards than receiving yards. The issues Britt had this year were different from any of his previous seasons. It seemed as though the light switch turned off and he wasn’t ever able to recover. The Titans did all they could to trade him, but no one would offer anything for him. For the remainder of 2013, Britt was essentially benched and unable to get back on the field.
Are you disgusted with him yet?
I’m sure most owners in the fantasy community surely are and the January 2014 ADP reveals that to be true, as he is sitting at the WR54 spot, one slot ahead of Riley Cooper – this makes him a perfect low risk, big reward kind of player that can most likely be had for a bag of chips and a Jeff Fisher rookie card, or more realistically, a 2014 third round pick. He has played five seasons in Tennessee, where the focus never was on developing wide receivers, but was always on the run game and Chris Johnson. Vince Young, Kerry Collins, Matt Hasselbeck and Locker are the quarterbacks who have been throwing to Kenny Britt for the majority of his career. Not exactly an awe-inspiring group, but this doesn’t imply that he should get a pass for not performing up to his potential, but it is a reason to believe Britt can be successful elsewhere. He never had a mentor-type wide receiver in Tennessee to play alongside and it may have stunted his growth as an immature receiver who needed guidance on the field. If he can land in a pass-first, wide receiver friendly environment, Britt could blow up. The talent is there, somewhere…it didn’t just disappear. The chip will be bigger than ever on his shoulder as he felt disrespected in Tennessee and he will be out to prove the naysayers wrong.
Kenny Britt’s Career Stats
At 6’3, 223 lbs, the only thing holding Kenny Britt back is his mental confidence. He may still be tentative about taking hits on his knee, which would explain the drops and inconsistent play this year, but if he can get over that, there is no reason to believe he can’t be a world beater. He is the prototypical wide out that teams are regularly looking for in the draft, but he is cheaper than a rookie and his NFL ability is already on film. General Managers will be calling for Britt and hopefully he chooses a situation that can help him clear his name. The fantasy owners who have painfully watched a big time asset sit and rot on their benches, will be rewarded with a solid wide receiver in 2014. Britt will likely get a one year “prove it” deal, and that should be all he needs to reinstate himself as a very serviceable receiving option.
Kenny Britt is capable of being a mid to high WR1 in this league, there is little doubt, as we have seen short flashes of his skills. The question is how good he wants to be, because all too often a guy with all the talent imaginable slips through the cracks. This isn’t necessarily due to poor coaching but because the player himself doesn’t have the mental drive to excel at his position. This is exactly what I think the problem is with Britt. If getting shipped out of Nashville after five years doesn’t open his eyes, nothing will. This is why he needs a new city to play in, new coaches to help him embrace his natural ability and a team that shows confidence in him early on. He is young enough to salvage his career and reputation.
It feels like every year, there is optimism and hope Kenny Britt will put it all together. This year probably won’t be different as he is only 25 years old and has essentially only played for three seasons, taking into account his week three knee injury in 2011 and the fact that he only started three games in 2013. As of right now, it’s hard to forecast Britt’s career arc, but depending on his next destination, he may be a significant part of your fantasy team’s success in 2014 and beyond.