Top 10 Breakout Players
TE Hunter Henry (Los Angeles Chargers)
Henry had a good rookie year by posting 47 receptions for 478 receiving yards and eight TD’s. He was a major weapon in the red zone. He showed soft hands and good route running ability throughout the season. Expect him to take his game to another level in year two despite Antonio Gates still being on the roster.
WR Corey Coleman (Cleveland Browns)
During his rookie season, Coleman got off to a good start. He had seven receptions for 173 yards and two TD’s during the first two games. Then he broke his hand in practice and only returned in week nine. He was a non-factor after he returned to the field. If the Browns get any consistent play at the QB position, Coleman should become a dangerous deep threat.
DT Sheldon Rankins (New Orleans Saints)
The 12th overall pick in 2016 got injured in training camp and missed half of his rookie season. When he returned from injury, he became a force for the Saints. The defensive tackle recorded 15 pressures and four sacks. Rankins showcased his quickness off the snap and the ability to cause havoc in the backfield.
DT Maliek Collins (Dallas Cowboys)
A third-round pick out of Nebraska in 2016. Collins started 14 games and recorded 23 total tackles and five sacks. He is a DT with terrific quickness, active hands and a non-stop motor. He should become a playmaker on the defensive line in year two for Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys.
LB Myles Jack (Jacksonville Jaguars)
A knee injury caused him to drop out of the first round in the 2016 NFL Draft even though he was considered by many to be a top ten pick. As a rookie, Jack didn’t see a lot of playing time. He is expected to be the starting MLB this season. He is an outstanding athlete with terrific speed and instincts. He is also very good in pass coverage. He should become a playmaker for the Jaguars’ defense.
WR DeVante Parker (Miami Dolphins)
Everyone has been waiting patiently for Parker to breakout for two years. He showed glimpses of his immense talent last year. However, he hasn’t been able to put it altogether yet. He is a playmaker who shows a knack for stretching the field vertically. The arrow is pointing up for the talented WR to take his game to another level.
DE Shaq Lawson (Buffalo Bills)
Lawson was a good all-around DE who had a knack for getting after the QB in Clemson. He didn’t get to showcase that pass rushing ability during his rookie season due to a shoulder injury. He returned late in the year, but received limited snaps after surgery. He should be an obvious breakout candidate for the Bills under new head coach Sean McDermott.
OG Christian Westerman (Cincinnati Bengals)
He will replace Kevin Zeitler at RG who signed with the Browns in free agency. Westerman was an absolute steal in the fifth round in 2016 Draft. He is an athletic OG with quick feet, good short area quickness and knee bend. He is a technician who should develop into a top-notch guard for the Bengals.
DL Kenny Clark (Green Bay Packers)
He ended the season on a high note. He saw increased playing time during the second half of the season. Clark also made plays during the last four or five weeks of the 2017 season. He is a versatile DL who plays with good leverage and knows how to use his hands. He is ready to become a consistent force on the defensive line in the Packers’ 3-4 defense.
S Darian Thompson (New York Giants)
2016 third-round pick missed most of his rookie campaign due to a foot injury. However, Thompson is expected back at full strength in 2017. Expect him to win the starting free safety spot from Andrew Adams this season. Thompson is an instinctive safety with good size and outstanding ball skills. He should form a great safety tandem with Landon Collins for years to come.