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Predicting Every NFL Team's Breakout Player for 2021

the National Football League
Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Chargers
the Arizona Cardinals
the Atlanta Falcons
Sports Talk ATL
NFL Radio
Ohio State
Ravens Wire
the Minnesota Vikings
the Cincinnati Bengals
Notre Dame
USA Today
The Dallas Cowboys
Penn State
NBC Sports Edge
the Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Pro Football
the Indy Star
CBS Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs
the Las Vegas Raiders
The Los Angeles Chargers
NFL Network
Chase Young
the Green Bay Packers
Rams Digest:"Cam
the New England Patriots
the Kansas City Chiefs
the New Orleans Saints
the University of Dayton
the Dayton Daily News
New York Giants
Chase Claypool
Penn Live
NBC Sports Bay Area
Texas Tech
the Tennessee Titans

Josh Allen
Justin Jefferson
Justin Herbert
Isaiah Simmons
Zaven Collins
Kliff Kingsbury
Kyle Pitts
Jake Gordon
Terry Fontenot
Julio Jones
Calvin Ridley
Jeremy Shockey
Mark Ingram II
Baltimore Ravens
J.K. Dobbins
Ryan Mink
Kevin Oestreicher
Gregory Rousseau
Boogie Basham
A.J. Epenesa
Derrick Brown
Kyle Crabbs
Benjamin Solak
Ndamukong Suh
Matt Nagy
Justin Fields
Andy Dalton
Brent Sobleski
pick."Ja'Marr Chase
Joe Burrow
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Lance Zierlein
Joe Woods
Micah Parsons
Todd Archer
Dan Quinn
Jerry Jeudy's
Teddy Bridgewater
DJ Moore
Robby Anderson
Courtland Sutton
Dan Campbell
Penei Sewell
Pro Bowler
Trent Williams
Taylor Decker
Krys Barnes
Christian Kirksey
Adrian Amos
Jaire Alexander
Za'Darius Smith
Tytus Howard
Howard 23rd
Parris Campbell
as Joel Erickson
Percy Harvin
T.Y. Hilton
Michael Pittman Jr.
Trevor Lawrence
Andrew Luck
Bryan DeArdo
Fred Taylor
Laviska Shenault Jr.
Marvin Jones Jr.
Travis Etienne
James Robinson
Justin Herbert's
Patrick Mahomes
Tyrann Mathieu
Sam Monson
L'Jarius Sneed
Henry Ruggs III
Tyreek Hill
Joe Marino
Rashawn Slater
Chris Hayre
Daniel Jeremiah
Cam Akers
Sean McVay
Eric Williams
Malcolm Brown
Zach Krantz
Kevin Nogle
Brian Flores
Tua Tagovailoa
Will Fuller
Jaylen Waddle
Irv Smith Jr. hasn't
Noah Cierzan
Kyle Rudolph
Adam Thielen
Mac Jones
Damien Harris
Cam Newton
Adam Trautman
David Jablonski
Sean Payton
Travis Kelce
Darren Waller
Jared Cook
Daniel Jones
Andrew Thomas
Saquon Barkley
Kenny Golladay
Kadarius Toney
Nate Solder
Danny Dimes
Joe Namath
Michael Carter
Tyler Greenawalt
Zach Wilson
Trevor Lawrence."I
Chris Simms
Aaron Rodgers
Brett Favre
Sam Darnold
Carson Wentz
Jalen Hurts
Jalen Reagor
DeVonta Smith
Najee Harris
John Luciew
Big Ben
Brandon Aiyuk
Alex Didion
Trey Lance
Deebo Samuel
George Kittle
Jimmy Garoppolo
K.J. Wright
Jordyn Brooks
Carlton Davis
Jeffery Simmons
Mike Moraitis
Bud Dupree
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Kentucky's Jamin Davis


the NFC East
Green Bay
New England
Western Pennsylvania

the Twin Cities
Round 1
the Steel City

the Windy City
San Francisco
Alabama State
Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans
New York
Mississippi State

a Super Bowl
Pro Bowl
the Super Bowl
a Pro Bowl

Positivity     49.00%   
   Negativity   51.00%
The New York Times
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And in a Falcons passing attack that includes wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, defenses won't be able to focus their attention on the youngster without getting roasted outside.Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the most receiving yards a rookie tight end has ever compiled is 894 by Jeremy Shockey in 2002.Shockey won't hold that record much longer.With Mark Ingram II now playing in Houston, the title of lead running back for the Baltimore Ravens has fallen to second-year pro J.K. Dobbins. Per Kevin Oestreicher of Ravens Wire, Dobbins ranked first among running backs in yards per carry, first in true yards per carry (5.4), first in breakaway run rate (8.2 percent), third in yards created per touch (2.18) and fifth in juke rate (30.9 percent).The only thing standing between Dobbins and stardom is opportunity.The Buffalo Bills spent significant draft capital on the defensive line in 2021, using their first two picks on edge-rushers in Miami's Gregory Rousseau and Wake Forest's Boogie Basham.It's the second straight year Buffalo has gone that route with its initial selection—after dealing their first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in 2020, the Bills used their second-rounder on Iowa edge-rusher A.J. Epenesa following a 2019 season in which he piled up 11.5 sacks for the Hawkeyes.Epenesa's first year with the Bills was uneventful. And Epenesa's first year was unprecedented in its weirdness—thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was thrown to the proverbial wolves without any real training camp.Now, Epenesa has a year of experience, whereas Rousseau is a 21-year-old who didn't play at all last year after opting out of his final college season.Epenesa will be counted on to play a much larger role in 2021, and it won't be much of an upset if he leads the Bills in sacks.The Carolina Panthers invested their first pick in the 2020 draft along the defensive front, selecting Auburn tackle Derrick Brown seventh.From a statistical standpoint, his first season was unimpressive—he tallied 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss and a pair of sacks in 742 snaps. Leading into the 2020 draft, Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network called Brown "one of the most complete interior defensive line prospects to pass through the draft process in recent memory." Colleague Benjamin Solak compared the 6'5", 320-pounder to Ndamukong Suh.With a full offseason under his belt, Brown should see his production to meet his potential in 2021.While speaking to reporters from rookie minicamp, Bears head coach Matt Nagy insisted that despite trading up to the 11th pick to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, veteran free-agent acquisition Andy Dalton will be the starter in Chicago."Andy is the starter," Nagy said. But he offers the Chicago offense a new dimension and a ceiling that is exponentially higher than what Dalton offers at this point in his career—or possibly ever could.The sooner Fields takes over as the starting quarterback in the Windy City, the better the Bears' chances of making a third trip to the playoffs in the past four years.When the Cincinnati Bengals passed on drafting the top offensive line prospect in the class of 2021 in lieu of selecting a wide receiver, the decision was criticized in some circles.However, as Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski wrote, that criticism had nothing to do with the player the Bengals did pick."Ja'Marr Chase is an exceptional talent," Sobleski said. He gets his best players on the field and [in] position to make plays and I have full faith in him."Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, but two years ago he was a force, piling up 109 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and five sacks.Dallas didn't use the 12th overall pick on Parsons so he could be eased in slowly, and if he earns an every-down role from the get-go, the 6'3", 245-pounder has a good chance of leading the Cowboys in tackles and being in the thick of the Defensive Rookie of the Year race.Jerry Jeudy's first season was an up-and-down affair. He doesn't have nearly the notoriety of cornerback Jaire Alexander, edge-rusher Za'Darius Smith or even Amos, but Barnes has an inside track to leading Green Bay in tackles in 2021.No team could use a breakout player more than the Houston Texans.As a matter of fact, after an awful 2020 season and with quarterback Deshaun Watson's future with the team uncertain at best, there isn't a franchise that could more use whatever shred of good news it can get.Given Houston's struggles along the offensive line in recent years, a young tackle starting to realize his first-round potential would absolutely qualify.To be fair, tackle Tytus Howard has at least been OK, allowing two sacks in each of his first two seasons, per Pro Football Focus. If Jacksonville's offensive line holds up fairly well, Lawrence could challenge Justin Herbert's rookie record for passing scores and Luck's record for passing yards by a first-year pro.It's also worth mentioning that in Manning's first season he set a record too—for most interceptions thrown by a rookie.The Kansas City Chiefs are known mostly for an offense led by Patrick Mahomes that racks up points and yardage with relative ease. But as Sam Monson reported for Pro Football Focus, second-year cornerback L'Jarius Sneed played a big part in the team's success in 2020: "A fourth-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Sneed was a real find for the Chiefs and a big reason why they were able to make it back to the Super Bowl. In a season in which rookie cornerbacks were regularly torched, Sneed allowed a passer rating of just 66.6 when targeted, including the playoffs.”In 410 snaps as a rookie last year, Sneed allowed 59.6 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed for 250 yards while surrendering just a single touchdown pass.If he can maintain that sort of pre-snap effectiveness in an increased role in 2021, Sneed could easily earn his first career Pro Bowl spot.Heading into the 2020 draft, Henry Ruggs III of Alabama was considered one of the best wideout prospects in his class—a 6'0", 190-pounder whose blazing speed drew comparisons to Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs. Ruggs' breakout season is one born of necessity.If his numbers don't go way up this year, the Vegas passing game will be in real trouble.Aside from Lawrence, there may not have been a more obvious pick in the entire first round of the 2021 draft than No. 13 overall.The Los Angeles Chargers hit on a quarterback of the future last year when they drafted Herbert. There aren't a lot of young guys in line for major roles, and the rookie who stands out, quarterback Mac Jones, may not get his chance until later in the season or even 2022.However, there is one third-year pro who appears headed for a much larger role and has the talent to take advantage of the extra work.Running back Damien Harris barely played as a rookie, carrying the ball all of four times over two games. Harris would go on to surpass the century mark twice more, finishing the season with 691 rushing yards while averaging five yards per carry.He finished the season tied with Cam Newton for the team lead in carries, and if he can match last year's average of 69.1 yards per game in 2021, he'll rack up 1,175 yards on the ground.When the New Orleans Saints drafted tight end Adam Trautman in the third round in 2020, it was the first time a player from the University of Dayton had been selected in over four decades.Given the massive leap in competition, it's no surprise that Trautman's rookie season was quiet. He's not likely to join the ranks of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller among tight ends who top 1,000 receiving yards in 2021, but with Jared Cook gone, Trautman sits atop the TE depth chart in New Orleans and should demolish his stat line of 15 catches, 171 yards and one touchdown from a year ago.After topping 3,000 passing yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a rookie, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was a trendy breakout pick a year ago.Yeah, about that.The thing is, quite a bit of the blame for a lackluster (to be kind) second season from the sixth pick in 2019 lies with factors outside Jones' control. But Wentz and Jalen Hurts weren't exactly put in position to succeed—Jalen Reagor was a massive disappointment as a rookie, and the Eagles fielded one of the weakest wideout groups in the league.The Eagles went back to the well in 2021, drafting a wide receiver in Round 1 for the second year in a row.The second time should be the charm.All DeVonta Smith did last year at Alabama was haul in 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns while helping lead the Crimson Tide to a national title. What isn't is that for Washington to make the playoffs this year, the defense will have to set the tone, just as it did in 2020.And that means a player who is quite a bit younger than Fitzpatrick will have to grow up in a hurry.Of the off-ball linebackers selected in the first two days of the 2021 draft, there wasn't a youngster who fell into a better situation in terms of making an immediate impact than Kentucky's Jamin Davis, the No. 19 pick.The 6'3", 234-pound Davis, who tallied 102 total tackles for the Wildcats in 2020, is a rangy player who should slot immediately into a three-down role on the weak side for Washington.As good as the WFT defense was last year, the linebackers were average.

As said here by Gary Davenport