The 2014 NFL season is quickly approaching us. Every year has its share of Breakout Stars and new players that emerge into star status. Breakout stars of the past included LeSean “Shady” McCoy who ascended to superstardom last year by leading the league in rushing, with 1607 yards, and established himself as one of if not the best running back in the league. On the defensive side of the ball, it was Luke Kuechly’s turn. Not only did he lead the league in tackles, with 156, he led a top-5 defense in the Carolina Panthers and added the Defensive Player of the Year Award to his trophy collection. As the 2014 season approaches here are a few players I feel can solidify their place in the game and become household names.
First off, Jarvis Jones of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now I will admit part of this is has to with me being a Georgia Bulldog fan (Go Dawgs), but the other part of it is strictly knowing what he is capable of on the football field. Yes, he only had one sack in his rookie season but the Steelers team as a whole was in flux and I expect Coach Tomlin to have that corrected this season. Jarvis jones was a dominant collegiate pass rusher combining for 43.5 TFL [tackles for a loss] and 27.5 sacks in his 2 years at Georgia. It usually takes a pass rusher a couple of years to adjust and I think 2014 will be the year Jarvis Jones figures out the NFL and becomes a star in the league.
Next up, we have Andre Ellington of the Arizona Cardinals. I believe he will have a huge season more based on how I feel about his head coach Bruce Arians and the system that he runs more than I do in his raw natural ability. (Where’s Kurt Warner when you need him?) In his rookie season under Coach Arians, Ellington showed flashes of star potential including rushing for a season high 154 yards against the Atlanta Falcons last year in week 8 of the season. He is also a very good pass catcher out of the backfield which may actually be his best attribute. I expect that in his second full season in Bruce Arians’ offense, Ellington can’t increase upon all of his 2013 totals and maybe even become a Pro-Bowler.
Third is WR Harry Douglas of the Atlanta Falcons. A lot of people might say ‘Wait Harry Douglas had a 1000 yard season last year. That was his breakout year.’ I disagree. He only scored 2 touchdowns and that was without the presence of Julio Jones there to take away targets away from him. I feel that number has to increase especially since Julio is still recovering from ACL surgery and that will allow him to continue to expand on the chemistry he formed with Matt Ryan which will lead to him putting up monster numbers and maybe becoming the best slot receiver in the game.
And the final person I believe has a chance to “breakout” in 2014 is TE Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins Professional Football Team. This is probably the easiest choice for me as far as who is going to have a huge season. Reed’s rookie campaign was one filled with promise that was never fulfilled do to a slew of concussions. His best game came against Chicago when had 9 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. This year he should be healthy and will have the benefit of playing with a healthy RGIII, which should only increase his effectiveness and solidify him as a premier tight end in the game.