Second Year Players Poised to Breakout
Jerry Jeudy WR Broncos
Jerry Jeudy is filthy. After his first year, it's already safe to say he is a top 5 route runner in the NFL. Jeudy gets open, there is no question about that. His South Florida roots and Alabama experience prepared him for the NFL very well. There are two reasons why he was not a "star" last year; his hands and his quarterback. I loved Jeudy coming out of Alabama in 2020, but the one thing he struggled with was catching the football. I'm assuming he's spent quality time with the jugs machine this offseason and with an actual offseason under his belt, I think he's poised for a breakout year. Drew Lock struggles with accuracy, but if he has Teddy Bridgewater tossing him the rock, I like Jeudy's chances. With Courtland Sutton coming back from injury, there won't be as much attention on Jeudy from the defense. I expect a thousand yard, 10+ touchdown season from Jerry Jeudy this year.
Patrick Queen LB Ravens
Patrick Queen is an absolute dog and in his rookie season, there were spirts where he looked like the best player on the football field. Queen is always around the football and has an old-school mentality between the lines. Talking shit and hitting hard, that pretty much sums up how Patrick Queen plays. He's also very athletic and a great tackler. Against the run, Queen does a great job at attacking running lanes and against the pass he mirrors the quarterback very well. After having a full season to adjust to the speed of the game, I expect Patrick Queen to be a top ten linebacker this year and have a phenomenal season in 2021.
Jonathan Taylor RB Colts
Not to pat myself on the shoulder, but I predicted what would happen in Jonathan Taylor's rookie season perfectly. I had a feeling he'd struggle early on, but get it going late in the season. At Wisconsin, Taylor was a productive runner, but he had so many plays where he'd either lose yards, have no gain, or just one yard. It was like he was running for quantity rather than quality. His natural instincts and athleticism has always been there, but his eyes weren't. Once he adapted to the speed of the game, 12 weeks into the season, he took off. In Indianapolis, he's playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. He learned to be patient and decisive when hitting holes. By the end of last season, he was already one of the best running backs in the NFL. I expect Taylor to be the workhorse for Indianapolis this season.
JK Dobbins RB Ravens
JK Dobbins was my favorite running back coming out of the draft last year and he showed what he was capable of towards the end of 2020. His contact balance is tremendous and his ability to change directions is next level. As soon as Mark Ingram signed elsewhere, I knew it was time for Dobbins. In the Ravens' run-first offense, Dobbins is going to get the load and he's the type of player to get better with more carries. Not only is Dobbins dangerous as a runner, but he is elusive as a pass catcher. In Greg Roman's offense, Dobbins is in the perfect position to be an all-pro caliber player.
Brandon Aiyuk WR 49ers
The 49ers had an insane year last season, the only thing higher than their expectations going into last season, was their injury count by the end of the season. Brandon Aiyuk only played three games with Jimmy Garoppolo, but still had either 100 yards or a touchdown in 12 out of the 15 games he played. A lot of things stand out when watching Aiyuk play: his route running, yards after the catch, and his length. Aiyuk has the same wingspan as Calvin Johnson despite being six inches shorter. No matter if it's Garoppolo or Trey Lance throwing him the football, I expect Aiyuk to have an amazing sophomore season.
Lynn Bowden WR/RB/QB Dolphins
Some players are able to do things that other athletes couldn't even think of doing. Like Taysom Hill, Lynn Bowden is capable of doing anything that the offensive coordinator asks from him. Dynamic with the ball in his hands, Bowden is a phenomenal running back and wild cat quarterback. He can also line up in the slot and route up defensive backs. His versatility makes him an asset for the Dolphins and I expect him to have a big role as a running back this year. Every team needs to have that wildcard player that gives an offense mystery. Bowden is that player for Miami and I could see him having 500+ receiving and rushing yards for Miami this year.