Every NFL season new stars emerge as others regress and fade out. Looking back at last season, guys like DJ Chark, Bud Dupree, and Shaquil Barrett broke out into game-changers for their respective teams. With the state of the world right now, the progress of some players could be stunted, but I’m confident in the situation and/or ability of these guys to take the next step.
Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Colts
I’ve been a truther since his time at Rutgers. After a solid rookie season, he was looking great to start his sophomore campaign. That was until he broke his ankle in the Colts’ 19-13 victory over the Chiefs.
This injury took place in a game where he looked to be finally coming out of his shell. The play before his injury, he got a half-sack on Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. I expect Eberflus to get Turay after the quarterback a lot this season.
If his health allows, I could easily see a 10 sack season.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers
It’s pretty normal for players to make a jump going into year two, but I am including Johnson because I believe he could be a pro bowl level player in year two. As a rookie, he led all NFL receivers in average separation with 3.6 yards per catch.
Entering year two, he’s slated to be their 2nd option behind Juju Smith-Schuster. On top of that, the QB play will be much more consistent this year with their long time starter Big Ben returning after missing nearly all of 2019.
Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, Raiders
The Raiders made some big moves this season (pun intended). Not only did they move the team to Las Vegas from Oakland, but they also finally beefed up their linebacker room with the signings of Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski.
As a Chicago Bear, Kwiatkoski was never really given the reigns, but when he was on the field he didn’t disappoint. While he’s pretty good in coverage, that pressure will be lifted thanks to the cover ability of teammate Cory Littleton.
Kwiatkoski has made a lot of flashy plays in his career, whether it’s a diving interception or blowing the middle of the line up on a blitz. He’s the kind of linebacker I love to watch, and I think Raiders fans will really enjoy his presence.
Photo Credit: Toledo Blade