Breakout Candidates for the 2016 NFL Season
Preseason football is almost upon us!
Here are some breakout candidates on the offensive side of the ball (in no particular order) for the upcoming season.
- Tyler Lockett: Lockett had a pretty strong rookie year, catching 51 balls for 664 yards and 6 TDs, to go with both a punt and kickoff return for touchdowns, but he still somehow flew under the radar. This was due to a couple of factors; first, the Seahawks offense hasn’t been a pass-heavy offense for the majority of Pete Carroll’s tenure, and secondly, Doug Baldwin’s ridiculous second half season number overshadowed everyone. Baldwin will remain the first option in the passing game, but that will only serve to take attention away from Lockett, opening up opportunities for big plays. That, coupled with an extra year in the system, means Lockett should improve on his rookie numbers.
- Ezekiel Elliott: Elliott should transition seamlessly from the college game to the NFL (legal troubles aside). The Dallas offensive line is hands down the best in the league, meaning Elliott will have plenty of holes to run through. He has the combination of size and speed to take full advantage and, as long as Tony Romo stays upright, the passing game will do its job to keep defenses honest. Expect him to put up big numbers in his rookie campaign.
- Josh Doctson: Having watched Doctson a fair amount during his time at TCU, I am sold on his skill set. He highpoints the ball extremely well, has pretty good size, and has a knack for getting open. He has the necessary receivers in Washington to keep attention off of him while he adjusts to the pro game. Expect him to come on strong over the second half of the season.
- Kevin White: Forced to sit out last season due to injury, I expect White to make up for lost time quickly. He’s big, he’s fast, and he’s strong. The image of him destroying Alabama’s secondary during his final season at WVU is still burned in my mind. A perfect complement for Alshon Jeffrey, the Bears will have one of the better receiving corps in the NFL this year. That should help Jay Cutler, the consummate “throw it up and let them go get it” QB. White is a good bet to have the best season stats-wise of anyone on this list.
- Dorial Green-Beckham: An absolute athletic freak, Green-Beckham’s most formidable opponent thus far has been his awful decision-making. Despite his penchant for finding trouble and his inability to live up to his hype in college, I think he’s poised to break out this year. He showed glimpses of being an excellent red zone threat last year in spot duty for the Titans. This year I expect him to make the leap. He may not be a 1,000-yard receiver, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he hit double-digit touchdowns this season.