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NFC South Players Primed For A Breakout Second Season

NFC South Players Primed For A Breakout Second Season


This is the third article in our breakout series. We’ve already looked at the NFC East and NFC West. Now we shift our focus down South to preview some potential budding stars with our NFC South players primed for A breakout second season feature.

Second-Year NFC South Players Set to Breakout in 2023

Atlanta Falcons – Arnold Ebiketie (Edge)

Ebiketie is a twitched-up athlete who’s the ideal 5-tech with a non-stop motor. Dean Pees’ defense gave him the opportunity to pin his ears back and may a name for himself flying off the edge. Although he only registered three sacks on the season, he did generate 28 pressures, 11 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. Pees is now enjoying his retirement and the Falcons defense will be led by Ryan Nielsen, who has plenty of experience when it comes to bringing down the quarterback.

Nielsen was with the New Orleans Saints between 2017-2022 and during that time New Orleans ranked second in the NFL with 281 sacks. It’s impossible to not feel good about Ebiketie in 2023. Ebiketie is perhaps number one on this list of NFC South players primed for a breakout second season.

Carolina Panthers – Ikem Ekwonu (Offensive Tackle)

Ekwonu experienced a ‘welcome to the NFL’ moment in week one as he faced up against the Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett surrendering two sacks and four pressures, but that was as bad as it got for the former NC State man all season. After surrendering another sack in week two, Ekwonu went 10 straight games without one and that bodes well for the Panthers and Bryce Young in 2023. Offensive line coach James Campen says that Ekwonu is way ahead of where he was last year, and with a year of technique study in the books, he’s primed for a breakout campaign. 

New Orleans Saints – Rashid Shaheed (Wide Receiver)

Here’s another undrafted free agent who made a name for himself in 2022, at least among Saints fans and fantasy football players. Shaheed caught 28 passes for 487 yards and 2 touchdowns last year and in 2023 he’ll have consistently better quarterback play thanks to the signing of Derek Carr. Reliable pass-catchers will always have a role on any team, and considering he caught 82.4% of all balls thrown his way and didn’t drop a single pass, I’m expecting big things out of Rashid this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Rachaad White (Running Back)

White currently finds himself atop the Buccaneer’s depth chart and he was recently picked by Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager as breakout running back of 2023. Tampa Bay is hoping for more consistent play from the offensive line this year and with Tristan Wires moving to left tackle, that opens things up for Luke Goedeke on the right, both should help pave the way for some running lanes. White finished last season with 481 yards on 129 carries, and while he had more fumbles (two) than rushing touchdowns (one), there is a lot of excitement for White in the sunshine state, especially now Leonard Fournette has moved on. 

Main Image: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


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