AFC East Breakout Players 2019 – DEFENCE by Max Hillman

AFC East Breakout Players 2019 – DEFENCE by Max Hillman
Reading Time: 2 minutes.

We have seen the predictions of guest writer Max Hillman for 2019 breakout players on the Offensive side of the ball in the AFC East. This article covers who will emerge into the spotlight in the Defence, with  teams in the division making considerable strides on their defence through free agency and the draft. Without further introduction we will get into the list – as with before rookies aren’t included in this particular list.

Patriots – LB Kyle Van Noy

While Van Noy is a fairly recognised name in the Patriots defence, he has often been overshadowed by other defensive giants on the team. In 2018 he had a great year with 92 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception (and a major one on Goff in the Super Bowl), while playing all 16 games for the first time in his career. Entering his 6th year in the league behind a re-vamped D-Line after free agency exits of players such as Trey Flowers (Lions), Van Noy is in a great position to aid the team in pursuit of yet another division win and postseason run.

Bills – CB Taron Johnson

Taron Johnson was an underrated piece of Buffalo’s defence that finished top of the league in Pass Defence last season. After coming straight into the team in a starting slot, Johnson was limited to 11 games by injury. However in those 11 games he managed to rack up 3 pass breakups, an INT, a sack and a forced fumble. Meaning if he is able to stay healthy in the 2019 season, Johnson has the possibility of elevating himself into stardom, especially if the Bills defence can produce similar numbers to 2018, which is likely with the first round draft addition of D-Lineman Ed Oliver.

Dolphins – DE Charles Harris

Similar to the aforementioned Taron Johnson, Harris was limited to 11 games due to injury in the 2018 season. He was a first round pick in Miami in 2017 and has so far in his career managed 3 sacks. However with the losses of both Cameron Wake (Titans) and Robert Quinn (Cowboys), new Head Coach Brian Flores will be looking to add new starting DE’s, giving Harris the perfect opportunity to come into an experimental defensive line and flourish if, as with Johnson, he can remain healthy for the season.

Jets – S Marcus Maye

Typically, at the time of writing, Maye has just been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. If he is still on this list by the start of the regular season he will be unable to play for the first 6 weeks of the season which will significantly hinder his chances of having a breakout year. He only played 6 games last season due to injury but in those games recorded an interception and showed he is a formidable run stopper and also showed signs of improvement in coverage, however he clearly was not playing up to his maximum standard as he was constantly battling various injuries. As seems to be the theme of the article, if Maye can stay healthy, him and Jamal Adams may be a new super duo of the AFC East in the Safety position, a scary sight for Brady and the Sophomore QB’s of the Dolphins and Bills.

So concludes the breakout player predictions of the defences in the AFC East by Max Hillman, it will be interesting to see if any of these occur. Make sure to check out the offensive breakout predictions if you haven’t already!

(image courtesy of FanDuel)

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