NFL

25 Star NFL Players With Tons To Prove This Season

Darren - July 1, 2020
NFL

25 Star NFL Players With Tons To Prove This Season

Darren - July 1, 2020
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Baker Mayfield

Mayfield has a lot of pressure on his shoulders right now. The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback knows he is walking on thin ice. If he starts this season as he finished the last, he may as well give up the starting spot night. It might be less painful for everybody.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The former Heisman Trophy winner and number one overall draft pick has the ability to be something special. However, last year was awful. He set the rookie touchdown pass record in 2018 but struggled with turnovers in 2019. This year he needs to prove himself quickly.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. DeAndre Hopkins

Everybody thinks the Houston Texans made a massive mistake by trading Hopkins to Atlanta. However, now he has to prove we were all correct. There are great expectations for the wide receiver who thinks he is number one in the entire NFL. That’s a bold claim and he has to back it up.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He definitely has the grounds to make that statement but he’s also inviting more pressure upon himself. We respect his guts, but in his first full season in Arizona, he will need to make an immediate impact. A four-time Pro Bowler, he will want the Cardinals to win their first NFC West title since 2015.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Kenny Golladay

At the time of writing, the Detroit Lions had 12 wide receivers on their roster. Yes, you read that correctly. Obviously, they’ll whittle down those numbers, but the question remains who will be their starters? Golladay remains the best of the group by a wide margin.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, he has a lot of players breathing down his neck, so Golladay will want to prove that he’s a level above them all. PFF projects that the Pro Bowler will have a stellar year and could be a top-five receiver in the league. Things are looking up for the 26-year-old.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Damien Williams

It’s clear that his future is in Williams’ hands. The most talented of Kansas City’s running backs, Williams needs to prove his fitness. After scoring the winning touchdown in their epic Super Bowl win, he’ll want to carry on where they left off.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He recorded 355 rushing yards, 185 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns in just five postseason games appearances in a Chiefs’ uniform. However, he fell behind LeSean McCoy early in the season when injuries took their toll. The team also drafted former LSU back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round, not exactly a ringing endorsement of Williams’ future with the team. Williams needs to persuade the Chiefs that he’s their main man.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Aaron Rodgers

The first of two veteran quarterbacks who have given a lot to the sport, Rodgers is not in a happy place right now. First of all, the Packers threw a massive curveball into the works when they drafted Jordan Love. They traded up in the first round despite having pressing needs elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball. Now, Rodgers has an exciting but unproven youngster breathing down his neck.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

This also means that there won’t be a new contract. Rodgers always expected to leave Green Bay on his terms but the writing is on the wall. They’re looking towards the future with no sentiment in place. Meanwhile, the Packers’ attack looks quite limited. It could be a frustrating year in Wisconsin.

Mandatory Credit: CBS

3. Tom Brady

You could argue that Brady has nothing left to prove after a stellar career in which he has won everything. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star definitely won’t feel that way because of two words: Bill Belichick. They won’t want to admit it, but Brady and Belichick want to prove they can win without the other.

Mandatory Credit: NBC

Brady’s first season in Florida is going to be fascinating. First of all, the team will have to adapt to his style of play because they play a vertical passing game. It’s questionable if Brady still has plenty left in his arm. There’s more on the line because he would love to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. That’s possible this year for Brady.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Le’Veon Bell

Last year Bell averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry and racked up a disappointing 789 yards on the ground. Those are his worst numbers since an injury-plagued season with the Steelers back in 2015. Last year though, there was no good excuse. Bell really needs to improve for the sake of the New York Jets and his own career.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, the Jets have reinforced their offensive line around Bell QB Sam Darnold. In short, this should create opportunities for Bell to improve after his disappointing first season in New York. He will want to prove that he is still a dynamic and powerful running back with a lot left in the tank.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Cam Newton

In the end, it was a no-brainer for the Patriots. Newton joins the post-Brady revolution on an initial one-year deal because former fourth-round pick Jarret Stidham was never convincing as Brady’s successor. If Newton becomes the starter, he’ll be the first starting quarterback in 27 years who the Patriots didn’t draft.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, for Newton, there is a lot on the line. He has a unique opportunity at one of the most powerful franchises in the nation to prove that he still has what it takes to be a Pro Bowl quarterback. The 2015 NFL MVP is back, but does he still have the ability and the drive?

Advertisement