Aaron Donald is the Rams’ foremost standout player. He dominates the Defensive Player of the Year award and overshadows his rivals. Donald even closed out the Super Bowl last year. It’s not easy to be his teammate either because he’s so good. Gaines is the Rams’ other starting defensive end and deserves more respect.
He doesn’t receive the same plaudits but he’s still a good talent. Gaines played a key role as the Rams won the Super Bowl and defeated the Bengals. He’s not as flashy as Donald but he brings consistency to the table. This could be a breakout season for Gaines as he takes on more responsibility (via Draft Kings Nation).
One of Green Bay’s key players is a man named Mr. A. Rodgers. No, we’re not talking about their elite quarterback but their second-year wideout. There’s no disguising the loss of Davante Adams because he is one of the NFL’s best athletes. But Rodgers hopes to fill the gap with his skills and versatility.
Furthermore, he can play snaps at running back as he adds to the Packers’ depth in the position. He isn’t a like-for-like replacement for Adams but he’s a valuable asset. Rodgers may develop into a crucial gadget player as he also returns punts and kicks (via USA Today Sports).
Tagovailoa has no excuses in 2022 because the Dolphins went all out in acquiring his weapons. He had a tough couple of seasons so it’s do-or-die for the Hawaiian. It’s highly conceivable that Miami would have acquired DeShaun Watson if that deal made sense.
Mike McDaniels wants his quarterback to succeed and believes he can unlock a breakout season. Meanwhile, the likes of Tyreek Hill will provide an elite outlet for the former Alabama star. However, fans have their doubts about Tagovailoa so he must prove himself now (via The Ringer).
Oweh made a good impression in his rookie season as an outside linebacker. The pass-rusher proved his toughness and tenacity as he won the Defensive Player of the Week award. That’s no small achievement for a new NFL player considering the competition and the quality of the league.
The Ravens have a lot of questions in offense but this is one area where they’re on fire. They hope that Oweh will lead their next generation and become a devastating talent. Patrick Mahomes knows all about the former Penn State star because he took a brutal hit from him (via Russell Street Report).
Surtain’s father was a three-time Pro Bowler so he has a phenomenal pedigree. The cornerback was brilliant for Alabama and had a decent rookie season in Denver. He even won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance against the Chargers.
Now the onus is on Surtain to take the next step and develop into an elite NFL talent. Denver has an exciting roster in 2022 and hopes to become a contender. Surtain’s progress will heavily influence their ambitions because his ceiling is so high (via Sky Sports).
Rousseau impressed the Bills Mafia throughout his rookie season and hopes to be a bigger influence in 2022. There’s no reason why the defensive end won’t develop into one of the NFL’s best players. He’s not the finished product yet but there’s the hope of a breakout season in upstate New York.
Meanwhile, he’s learning from one of the best defensive players in the business in Von Miller. The veteran’s presence will bring a surety to Rousseau’s game. They’re not the same type of player but Miller will be a positive influence on Rousseau and an inspiration (via Democrat and Chronicle).
It’s fair to say that the entire Bengals roster had a breakout season in 2021. However, the likes of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase stole the plaudits. If we look further down their depth charts one potential candidate jumps out. We’re talking about Ossai because this young defensive end has a lot of upside.
Many people forgot about him after he suffered a season-ending injury but he’s back with a vengeance. Suddenly, the Bengals have a frightening defensive line. This team wants to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. They have youth on their side and a chip on their shoulder (via Dallas News).
The Falcons swapped a fifth-round pick for Edwards and a seventh-round pick during the 2022 offseason. It was a low-risk move with the potential of a high reward. Edwards has massive potential for a breakout season after leaving the Raiders and joining Atlanta.
Nobody is saying that the Falcons are better at wideout without the suspended Calvin Ridley. But the impetuous Edwards offers youthful invention and dynamism. It’s going to be exciting to see what he can do in Georgia as he looks to prove himself in the NFL (via Sports Illustrated).
Jones landed in the best rookie quarterback situation in 2021 when he fell onto Bill Belichick’s lap. Nobody can pretend that he was elite but he enjoyed some decent moments. The Patriots weren’t too far from the postseason and even enjoyed a win over their rivals, the Bills (via Boston.com).
That year of experience will have done wonders for Jones’s progress. He’s aware of what it takes to be a successful NFL quarterback now and is taking it seriously. Photographs emerged during the offseason of Jones after he bulked up. He wants to become the next Joe Burrow and it’s not impossible.
Whisper it but the Cardinals have one of the most fascinating wideout units in the NFC West. DeAndre Hopkins is serving a suspension but Marquis Brown will help to fill the void. Moore is another valuable asset with a lot to offer quarterback Kyler Murray (via Bleacher Report).
The former Purdue star hopes to make his mark after Christian Kirk left in free agency. He had a solid rookie year but this could be a breakout season for the young man. Chase Edmonds also departed so Moore may tread the line between wide receiver and running back.
Carr is another relative veteran who may have a breakout year. He’s in the most competitive division in the NFL but is determined not to make up the numbers. Davante Adams might be the standout receiver in the AFC West and this may give the Raiders an advantage over the Chiefs.
Their quarterback wants to prove that he’s more than decent. Finally, he has elite weapons at his disposal and an attack-minded coach in Josh McDaniels. Don’t be shocked if the Raiders sneak into the postseason this season because they’re quietly building something special (via TWSN).
Hollywood Brown thinks that he’s one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. However, he didn’t deliver his full promise to the Ravens. Now he’s playing in Arizona with his best friend and former college teammate, Kyler Murray. On paper, it’s a match made in heaven (via AZCardinals.com).
It’s time for Brown to put his money where his mouth is and prove his worth. Brown cited happiness as a major reason why he joined the Cardinals. He loves Baltimore but believes he’s in a better place mentally now. This could be a breakout year because DeAndre Hopkins will miss a huge chunk of it due to suspensions.
Mitchell Trubisky will be the Steelers’ Week One starter but Pickett isn’t out of the picture. The young quarterback is in a great situation because he played for Pitt. He knows the stadium well and is a local icon already. The fans want him to succeed and Mike Tomlin will give him a shot.
Trubisky knows that he’s on borrowed time unless he explodes. Pickett has a lot of talent and was the only first-round quarterback in 2022. This was highly unusual but it’s also fascinating to see that the Steelers took a punt on the young man (via Fansided).
The Jets threw Wilson into the deep water in 2021 but he came close to drowning. However, Wilson isn’t lacking in confidence and believes that this will be a breakout season. It hasn’t been the preseason that he wanted because he suffered a knee injury that makes him doubtful in Week One.
Meanwhile, a salacious scandal emerged after he allegedly slept with his mother’s best friend. Gang Green hopes that these distractions won’t follow him onto the field. But now the Jets have more balance and better weapons so the hope is on the horizon (via Sportskeeda).
Paye underwent a serious learning curve in his rookie year but the best sense possible. He performed well as he learned his trade with the Colts as an edge rusher. Now the former Michigan standout is in a great position to take this experience and become a leader in his position (via Detroit Free Press).
Indianapolis used a first-round pick on the Wolverines’ athlete despite his relative rawness. But this left them with a lot to work with and he’s improving annually. Nobody is going to think of Paye immediately when they consider breakout players but he deserves a place on this list.
Lawrence arrived in the NFL as the most-hyped quarterback since Andrew Luck. However, his year didn’t go to plan because he arrived at a dysfunctional franchise with Urban Meyer as head coach. Hopefully, things will stabilize in his sophomore year under new coach Doug Pederson (via The Athletic).
Analysts projected Lawrence to become of the best players of his generation. There are a lot of expectations on his shoulders but this is a big season for him. The Jaguars are better in 2022 so it’s time for Lawrence to step and show improvements in his game. The hype train hasn’t derailed yet because there’s a long way to go.
Wilson’s inclusion on this list may seem strange because he spent a decade with the Seahawks. But this may be a breakout year for the quarterback after he joined the Broncos. He hopes to turn Denver into a contender again and potentially lead them to another Super Bowl.
Fans aren’t sure if Wilson or Pete Carroll stagnated in Seattle but they’ll find out this year. It may be slightly too early for Denver to compete but Wilson is already an MVP favorite. He never won the coveted individual award before but many analysts believe that this could be his year (via The Sportster).
Kansas City fans raved about Bolton after the linebacker’s early performances. He showed flashes of elite quality in his rookie season and now it’s time for him to reach the next level. Bolton will be playing in Pro Bowl games very soon if he continues his excellent form.
He made 112 tackles in his rookie year as he adapted to the intensity of the professional sport. Now he’s ready to produce as a sophomore and show the Chiefs that they’ve secured a gem. Bolton’s potential is very exciting and he is a good bet for a breakout season (via KSHB).
Several analysts believed that the Bears pulled off a coup when they drafted Fields in 2021. They pointed to his outstanding IQ and his phenomenal displays for Ohio State. Then he suffered nine sacks in his debut and reality hit him hard. It wasn’t an easy rookie season for Fields but the Bears didn’t help him much.
Now it’s time for Chicago and Fields to progress together. He was excellent during their preseason and fans hope that the team will offer him more protection. Fields have a ceiling that’s higher than the Burj Khalifa but there are no parachutes if he falls in the NFL (via Chicago Sun-Times).
Joe Burrow overshadowed Herbert in 2021 because of the Bengals’ unexpected run to a Super Bowl final. However, Herbert is arguably the most talented young quarterback in the NFL today. He deserved more shine but his franchise failed to make the playoffs (via L.A. Times).
The Chargers have accumulated one of the most balanced receivers and running back corps in the league. This will be to Herbert’s advantage as he looks to unlock teams throughout the season. Watching how far he can take his team in a potential breakout year will be exciting.
Many people think that Lamar Jackson underperformed in 2021 but perhaps former No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown was part of the problem. Anyway, ‘Hollywood’ is in Arizona now and Bateman is his replacement. Perhaps the new receiver will get the best out of one of the NFL’s most polarizing quarterbacks.
The 2021 first-round pick is an exciting talent and hopes to revive the Ravens’ faltering attack. They fell short of expectations over the past couple of years and require an elite wideout to make the difference. Baltimore wants to play a more dynamic offensive scheme and Bateman is a crucial asset (via The Ringer).
Many NFL fans are keeping a close eye on Lance because he will be the Niners’ starter in Week One. Kyle Shanahan’s career as a head coach may ride on his young quarterback’s performances. He chose Lance as QB1 over the more experienced but inconsistent Jimmy Garoppolo.
Lance has many doubters who downplay his abilities because he played for North Dakota State. They also think that Jimmy G. will oust the youngster by Week Five. However, Lance has a lot of talent and is in the driving seat for a breakout season. It will be fascinating to watch him even if he fails (via The Mercury News).