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NFC East Players Primed for Breakout Second Seasons

The 2023 NFL season is just around the corner, and there are a number of players in the NFC East who are primed for breakout second seasons.
NFC East Breakout

While the NFC East is packed full of established talent, there are a number of lesser-known players that are primed for a breakout in 2023. Some players take to the NFL straight away and others need time to adjust to the physical and mental demands of professional football.

All the players on this list flashed their potential last year, but all of them have the talent to do even more in 2023.

NFC East Players Primed for Breakout Sophomore Seasons in 2023

Dallas Cowboys – Sam Williams (Edge)

The Cowboys ranked third for sacks and fifth for pressures in 2022. The Cowboys have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to rushing the passer, and Sam Williams should offer even more upside. While Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence will lead the line again in 2023, Williams should see some extended opportunities based on his rookie performance.

In only 192 pass-rush snaps last year Williams generated 22 pressures and 4 sacks. He even had a pass breakup on a play where he dropped into coverage. While Williams only played in 27% of all defensive snaps last season, expect that to rise, allowing for a breakout season.

New York Giants – Dane Belton (Safety)

Belton intercepted five passes in his final year in college as an Iowa Hawkeye. Last year, Belton came down with two picks in limited action as a rookie. He got off to a slow start thanks to a broken collarbone that he sustained during training camp. As a result, the young safety played less than 400 defensive snaps on the season.

With Justin Love switching the empire state for the Seattle space needle, there’s an opening on this Giants defense. The Giants defense is one that requires their safeties to perform on all three levels, and Belton’s size allows him to do that. If Belton hopes to make an impact, he’ll first need to beat out veteran defensive back Bobby McCain first.

Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Davis (Defensive Tackle)

Davis was supposed to be a ‘Godzilla’ presence in the middle of the Eagle’s defense. While he played well against the run as a true nose tackle in 2022, his playing time steadily decreased as the season wore on. At the end of the season, Davis had appeared in just 26% of the Eagles defensive snaps.

Despite Javon Hargrave leaving via free agency, the arrival of Davis’ college teammate, Jalen Carter, may mean that he has to make the most of the snaps he gets. But, more positively, that rotation should keep him fresh. The addition of Carter will likely act as motivation to push Davis to be the player the Eagles thought they were getting.

Washington Commanders – Jahan Dotson (Wide Receiver)

Despite struggling with a hamstring injury during his rookie campaign, Dotson contributed 35 catches for 523 yards and seven touchdowns to the Commanders offense. Dotson led Washington in targets between Weeks 15-18 in 2022, with seven per game.

While Terry McLaurin is still WR1 in the capital, Dotson is likely to see a big target share based on what he was able to do as a rookie. Washington brought in former Kansas City Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, and he knows a thing or two about high-octane passing offenses, although it may be more difficult with Sam Howell taking snaps instead of Patrick Mahomes. Saying that, Dotson is the strongest NFC East breakout candidate among all the nominees.

Main Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


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