The NFL off-season is well underway and fans will already have their eye on the next season – especially with the sporting world ground to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And while the draft is just round the corner, there are undoubtedly existing pros training hard and chomping at the bit to prove themselves next season.
Maybe they were hampered by injury last year, maybe they were a rookie who is now settled into their role – we take a look at four players who are set to breakout in 2020…
N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots (WR)
In the limited field time Harry had last season, he showed flashes of true promise for an NFL rookie of his calibre.
He averaged 8.8 yards per reception with two touchdowns – and one which was disallowed by the refs against the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Tom Brady out of the picture and Julian Edelman undergoing surgery, Harry will need to step up and be a key part of the Patriots’ offence and he has shown he can be.
Through his rookie year, he made some impressive catches putting his 6’3″ frame to good use and, when he dropped the ball, it was clear he was learning from his mistakes.
He only played in seven games thanks to an ankle injury but with experience under his belt and unhampered by injury, he should be put to good use.
Deebo Samuel – San Francisco 49ers (WR)
Another rookie heading into the second year of his NFL career is 24-year-old Deebo Samuel.
Samuel had an incredible rookie year with 57 receptions for 802 yards and an average of 14.4 yards with three touchdowns.
But that was with Pro-Bowler Emmanuel Sanders on the roster – the star wide receiver who has now gone to the New Orleans Saints.
Samuels actually out-performed Sanders in the second half of the season so now he has he shown he can handle the pressure, he’s earned his time as QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s top wide receiver.
With Sanders out of the picture, look for Samuel and George Kittle to cause problems for defences next season.
Devin Bush – Pittsburgh Steelers (LB)
Devin Bush led the Pittsburgh Steelers with 109 total tackles and was integral to what turned out to be a solid defence.
By the end of the regular season, the Pittsbugh Steelers defensive unit looked like an elite unit and Bush put in an explosive performance as part of that – he was named the team’s top newcomer.
The 21-year-old, who also wracked up two interceptions and a sack, reportedly had his snaps limited to keep him from hitting the rookie wall.
What’s more, rumour has it that Bush’s performance is leading to former classmates eyeing up Pittsburgh to rejoin him on the defence.
With a full season under his belt and potentially familiar team mates, the linebacker should head into his second year confidant and ready to join the top backs in the NFL.
Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals (QB)
Kyler Murray had an incredibly promising rookie year – he had a QB rating of 55.7 and ranked 15th in the NFL ahead of veteran quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.
He completed 64.4 per cent of his passes for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 544 yards and four more scores.
That’s an impressive rookie season and was the best performing rookie QB in the league and he would have been on this list even before free agency.
But add in perhaps one of the most remarkable trades in NFL history – the Cardinals’ acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins – and you can bet Murray will break out big.
Hopkins is obviously one of the league’s top wide receivers and Murray has proven he has the talent to use a weapon like Hopkins with tremendous effect.
Murray and the Cardinals could be the team to keep an eye on next season and that’s before we’ve even had the draft.
So there you have it – what do you think about the players on this list? Who do you think is going to break out next season?
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