Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/27/11
Throughout the NFL, there are many players who sit at the bottom of the depth chart hoping for one shot to prove himself. Some of these players have to battle week in and week out just for a roster spot. I have narrowed it down to 5; these are the players most deserving of more playing time.


1. Javon Ringer, RB, Tennessee

24-year-old RB Javon Ringer was the #2 back on the Titans roster before breaking his hand in week 14. At that point, he sat behind Chris Johnson. If you compare Johnson’s play to his new contract, then he has been downright awful this year, with 986 yards on 247 carries (4 YPC) and only 4 TD.

This season, Ringer was only given 59 carries. With these, he was able to rack up 185 yards (3.1 YPC) and a score. Johnson struggled early on and come this time next year, Ringer should be looking to get a lot more carries.


2. Davone Bess, WR, Miami

Miami’s slot receiver Davone Bess has all the credentials to be one of the better receivers in the game. At this point, he’s lost in the mix with Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall. Bess has been a great third down guy for both Chad Henne and Matt Moore over the past couple of years and could be used more effectively in that offense.

This season Bess has caught 45 passes for 492 yards and 3 TD. As mentioned earlier, he is mainly a third down guy, however, this is a player who can be used in multiple situations, and until that happens, Miami is wasting talent.


3. Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota

If there’s one thing that Vikings RB Toby Gerhart has learned in his first two years in the league, it is that it’s not easy backing up the best RB in the game.

It is clear that Adrian Peterson is the Vikings guy, but when given a chance, Gerhart has stepped up this year. Filling in for and injured AP, Gerhart has picked up 464 yards on just 94 attempts (4.9 YPC), tacking on a score in the process.

With AP sidelined for 9 months with a torn ACL, Gerhart will look to prove himself in both week 17 and 2012’s preseason. Giving Gerhart more carries would not only be a change of pace in the offense, but it would allow AP to rest, and take pressure off of young QB Christian Ponder, as he looks to get settled in to his new role as Minnesota’s franchise QB.


4. Ben Tate, RB, Houston

Ben Tate is another case of a guy backing up one of the league’s top backs. Tate, however, has gotten more carries than Gerhart did due to early injuries to Arian Foster.

On just about any other team Tate would be a starter. As a backup with Houston this year he has rushed for 845 yards on 159 carries (5.3YPC) to go along with 3 TD. Tate is still is his rookie contract, making only 405k. When he becomes a free agent in two years time, his decision on whether he stays or goes will most likely be decided on how much his playing time increases going forward.


5. Stephen Williams, WR, Arizona

This Arizona Cardinals receiver is in his 2nd year out of Toledo, and hasn’t been given much of a chance yet. With Andre Roberts and Early Doucet struggling, and nothing left to play for, Williams should be given an opportunity to prove himself in week 17 against Seattle.

At 6’5 208lbs, Williams has the physique to become a great receiver and a huge mismatch in the red zone. Williams’ route running skills are very raw and he has some work to do. With that said, the guy needs a chance, and it’s not like Arizona has a top-tier receiving core that he has to fight to make.
These 5 men are all deserving of more playing time, and if they are given this playing time, their teams will only benefit.


Honorable mentions: Frank Zombo, Reed Doughty, Keiland Williams.  
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