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NFL Analyst Identifies 11 Breakout Candidates

NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks recently released his top 11 breakout candidates on the offensive side of the ball.
NFL Breakout Candidates

One of the best parts of every single NFL season is identifying potential breakout candidates that will excel from casual role players to household names. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks recently released his list of players to keep an eye on, and there are a few surprise selections on this list, along with the usual suspects.

In total, Brooks identified the following NFL players as breakout candidates.

Quarterback – Kenny Pickett
Running Back – Rhamondre Stevenson
Wide Receiver – Kadarius Toney
Wide Receiver – George Pickens
Wide Receiver – Jerry Jeudy
Tight End – Isaiah Likely
Offensive Tackle – Walker Little
Offensive Tackle – Ikem Ekwonu
Guard – Alijah Vera-Tucker
Guard – Tyler Smith
Center – Connor Williams

11 NFL Breakout Candidates on Offense

The Obvious Choices

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney is going to be the talk of the offseason for quite some time. With the Chiefs not expected to sign DeAndre Hopkins, there is a very real chance that Toney enters the season as the top wide receiver in the NFL’s best passing attack. Toney has flashed his talent throughout his two-year career, but injuries and off-field issues have prevented him from consistently being a dangerous threat. If he can put it all together, he could be in for a huge season.

Outside of Brock Purdy, Kenny Pickett was the only rookie quarterback that played a significant number of meaningful snaps. While there were some growing pains early on, the first-round pick put it all together down the stretch and had a strong finish to the season. Perhaps this was just a random fluke, but if it was a sign of things to come, then he should be one of the top breakout candidates in the NFL.

Jerry Jeudy is so, so good at getting open, but he has never had a quarterback capable of getting him the ball in space. If Russell Wilson can play like a top-20 NFL quarterback, Jeudy should have a fantastic season. Unfortunately, that’s not a given, especially with Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator.

The Surprise NFL Breakout Candidates

It’s interesting seeing Rhamondre Stevenson on a list of NFL breakout candidates, as he basically broke out last year. The former fourth-round pick was basically the only good part of the New England Patriots offense, recording 210 carries for 1,040 yards and five touchdowns while adding another 69 receptions for 421 yards and a touchdown on 88 targets. Now that he has a real offensive coordinator and no real backfield competition, he should be even better in 2023.

Isaiah Likely played well in the preseason and had his moments during the regular season, but how much of that was due to the complete lack of target competition? The Baltimore Ravens entered the 2022 season with basically no depth at wide receiver, and that was before Rashod Bateman suffered yet another injury. Likely stepped up simply because there was nobody else on the depth chart – especially when Mark Andrews missed some time of his own. Now that the team has Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers paired with a healthy Andrews and Bateman, how many targets will be left for Likely?

Main Photo: Michael Chow – USA Today Sports


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