With the 2016 NFL season practically upon us, it’s time to dive into some of the year’s potential breakout players.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals. David Johnson came on strong during the second half of the 2015 season; he was a huge part of the Cardinals team that made it all the way to the NFC Championship game. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians loves David Johnson’s skill set and has said that he plans to use the young running back in a variety of different ways this season. Johnson is one of the most versatile running backs in the entire league and now that he is the Cardinals undisputed starter at that position, there is no telling how far he can go in 2016.
Byron Jones, FS, Dallas Cowboys. A year removed from setting the world record for broad jump at the NFL Combine, Byron Jones finds himself as the starting free safety for the Dallas Cowboys. Jones is an extremely diverse player who lined up at both cornerback and safety in 2015. Byron Jones is one of the most gifted athletes in the entire NFL, but will he put the pieces together and have a breakout year in 2016? I believe so.
Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints. Coming over from the Indianapolis Colts, Fleener will most certainly have a much larger role in the Saints offense than he ever did in Indianapolis. Like former Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, Fleener will have the opportunity to go one on one against smaller and slower defenders. Coby Fleener will, no doubt, prove to be a great asset for Drew Brees and the already potent Saints offense in 2016.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions. Jones has already had his “awakening” as a player during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, but I believe that his performance this season will blow away his prior career highs. Jones signed with Detroit as a free agent this offseason and looks to be the number two wide receiver for the Lions. Factoring in the pass heavy offense that head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter are known for, 2016 seems like a great opportunity for Marvin Jones to emerge as a top receiver in the NFL.
Damarious Randall, CB, Green Bay Packers. Now, you could argue that Randall already had his big breakout year during his rookie season in 2015. I would disagree. We saw flashes of what the former ASU cornerback can do, but I believe that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Randall is going to get to start from the get-go this season across from seasoned veteran Sam Shields, and he will have plenty of chances to prove his worth during his second season.