Clayton likes Slaton in '09

ESPN senior writer John Clayton has come up with a list of 10 young offensive players who might "hit it big" in 2009. Number four on his list: Texans running back Steve Slaton, who ran for 1,282 yards as a rookie.

"There's a good chance he could go over 1,300 yards, and the Texans have an outside chance of winning nine or 10 games this year, which will make Slaton more known around the league," Clayton said.

Though it's a complimentary mention, Clayton might have missed the boat on this one. He doesn't include running backs Matt Forte, Kevin Smith or Chris Johnson on his list because they "immediately established themselves as factors by having 1,000-yard seasons" as rookies. Slaton had more yards than all of them and was one of the most important parts of the league's third-ranked offense.

Clayton's premise for listing Slaton seems to be that the Texans went 8-8 last season, so his standout rookie campaign didn't receive much hype. Regardless, it's good to see that Clayton expects Slaton to improve in 2009.

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