The NFL preseason is almost here, with the Browns and Jets set to face off in the Hall of Fame Game in just a few days. While the preseason isn’t always the most exciting source of football, there are a few players around the league that could use the exhibition games as a jumping-off point for a breakout campaign.
5 Players That Could Break Out in the NFL Preseason
The past year has not been good for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. After entering 2022 as the starter, the former third-overall pick has suffered a season-ending injury and fallen down to third on the depth chart. Is he simply incapable of playing football at the professional level, or is he just not a fit for Kyle Shanahan? Only time will tell for sure, but we’ll get our first clue at that answer in the NFL preseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs desperately need somebody to step up at wide receiver. With Kadarius Toney sidelined with yet another injury, the reigning Super Bowl champions are dangerously low on proven pass-catchers. The NFL preseason should determine which playmakers see the field in this high-octane offense, and Justyn Ross could make a push for a starting job.
The Clemson product is not your typical undrafted free agent, as he probably would have been a first- or second-round pick if weren’t for injury concerns. Assuming he can stay healthy, Ross could use the NFL preseason as a stepping stone to become a household name.
Bryce Young is the unquestioned face of the Carolina Panthers, and Andy Dalton might just be the best backup in the league. This leaves second-year quarterback Matt Corral in an uncomfortable situation, as he effectively lost his job through no fault of his own. Reports indicate that the former third-round pick will handle most of the preseason work, and if he plays well, some other NFL team could try to trade for Matt Corral.
Even though he will not face felony charges, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara will likely receive some type of suspension in the 2023 season. While veteran Jamaal Williams is the favorite to replace Kamara, it’s entirely possible that Kendre Miller wins the starting job with a strong performance in the NFL preseason.
Williams is coming off of an impressive 14-touchdown season, but that stat oversells his talents. Most of those scores came from only one or two yards out, and he has never been anything more than average since entering the NFL. Kendre Miller has the potential to be a more explosive option and could earn a larger share of the touches if he’s ready for an expanded workload.
Kendre Miller is 220 lbs with this type of footwork. pic.twitter.com/FkoCaMKHyb
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) July 27, 2023
Rashod Bateman is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but reports out of camp indicate it won’t be long before he’s back on the field. Once he makes his long-awaited return, he’ll have some work to do. The wide receiver played well during the start of the 2022 season, but he’ll need to prove that he can recapture that form and actually stay on the field. If he can’t, then newcomers Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers could take over as the top wide receivers in this offense.
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