In this article, I’m going to predict breakout players who will flourish this season, producing exceptional results for their teams. In the AFC East, these could be second-year players who had an underwhelming rookie season, veterans players that have been sidelined by injury or just ready to take their shot as they are put into the spotlight. These might not be well-known players but by the end of this upcoming season, you will know their names. Also, there will be no quarterbacks or rookies on this list as those are topics for different articles.
Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – Running Back
Drafted out of Alabama in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Kenyan Drake has always had players ahead of him on the Dolphins roster. It was Jay Ajyai, and then Damien Williams. But last season we got to see what Drake was able to do racking up over 1,000 yards when combining his rushing and receiving yards. Now with Brian Flores in as head coach and Josh Rosen in at quarterback, Drake will definitely be getting more of the ball giving more chances to show off his incredible elusiveness with the ball in his hands. He moves like smoke through a keyhole when he has the ball.
Laremy Tunsil – Miami Dolphins – Offensive Tackle
Ever since his crazy draft day back in 2016, there’s always been a cloud hanging around Laremy Tunsil. People are quick to assume that he’s not plugged into the game and that he’s bust. But if you watched him play in the AFC East last season, his game got better and better. He finished with career highs in run and pass blocking grades by PFF. He was snubbed of a Pro Bowl vote at the end of the season. Now in a new offence and under the tutelage of 2-time Super Bowl winning offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, expect Tunsil to blossom into one of the best tackles in the league.
Robert Foster – Buffalo Bills – Wide Receiver
Foster has had a wild NFL journey so far, being undrafted out of Alabama in 2018, he was signed by the Bills last season. He was on the team, got cut, resigned, was cut to the practice squad and promoted again. Foster said, “It was a wake-up call.” when he was cut again. It was in his second stint with the team, Foster began to show off his crazy speed and body control. He averaged 20 yards per catch and finished the season with 541 yards with 3 touchdowns. Spending the offseason working with Josh Allen, Foster will break out and become the playmaker that the Bills have been desperately searching for since Andre Rison.
Sony Michel – New England Patriots – Running Back
You might think there’s little that Sony Michel can do to breakout considering he scored the winning touchdown in Super Bowl LIII. However, with Rob Gronkowski gone and Tom Brady another year older, I believe that with the experience and trust he gained in his rookie year. The Patriots are going to give him far more carries this season. Micheal will have over 1,200 scrimmage yards by the end of the season, most in the AFC East. If he can stay healthy this season, expect the Patriots to have their best running back since 2004 Corey Dillon.
Robby Anderson – New York Jets – Wide Receiver
Robby Anderson has all the physical tools to be a number one receiver for the Jets. He’s 6ft 3in, weighs 190 lbs and ran a 4.36 40 yard dash at his pro day. He can run every route in the book and has a knack for getting into the endzone. It’s Anderson’s off the field antics that are slowing him down. With multiple arrests, suspensions and injuries slowing down his career so far. He’s shown the potential when he’s played but it’s been far too rare. Anderson will blossom this season into one of the league’s most dynamic receivers if he can keep on the straight and narrow. Which for Sam Darnold’s and every Jets fans’ sake is something they hope will come true in 2019?
Image from www.buffalonews.com
Alex Riley is a 49ers fan who’s followed the game since 2010, He’s currently at the University of Leicester. You can find him on Twitter at @NFLRiley and his blog at www.rileynfl.wordpress.com