One of the great joys of being a football fan is seeing young players rise to greatness. Sometimes you see a promising rookie on the field and just know that they’re going to be a star. Here are the 10 players to watch this season.
Myles Garrett, Browns
When you’re the number on pick in the NFL Draft, people expect great things. Garrett is currently with the Browns, with a record of seven sacks over 11 games. Browns fans are keen to see if he’ll be even more impressive during his sophomore season.
TJ Watt, Steelers
Talent runs in families—just ask the Gronkowskis or the Mannings! TJ’s older brother, JJ Watts, is with the Houston Texans, but we’re expecting even bigger and better things from this linebacker. This will be his second season with the Steelers, and there’s little doubt they’ll continue to be a dominant team.
Deshaun Watson, Texans
Speaking of the Texans, their new QB was sidelined by a torn ACL near the start of the 2017 season. But Watson is back and ready to rumble after missing 9 games last year. Here’s hoping he stays healthy.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
McCafferey made waves when he was at Stanford, but his rookie season wasn’t quite what we were hoping. 435 yards rushing and 651 receiving isn’t anything to sneeze at, but we believe we’ll see a major uptick in his numbers during the 2018 season.
Jerick McKinnon, 49ers
This running back signed a $30 million, 4-year contract with the 49ers. While he was with the Vikings last season, he rushed 570 yards. Though he’s recovering from a calf strain at the moment, hopes are high that McKinnon will be a key player in the 49ers offensive line.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Another torn ACL derailed a promising start to a rookie season. Cook only managed three and a half games last year before getting injured, but he still managed to rush a combined 354 yards. Expect to see him back on the field and ready for a comeback story.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins
Drake was a breakout star during the Dolphins’ 2017 season. Although he only started 6 games, he put up some impressive numbers—especially rushing. Let’s just hope he keeps his temper. Earlier this week, defensive tackle Gabe Wright apparently threw a punch at Drake during a practice melee, and Wright was cut from the team.
In the final game of the 2017 season, however, Drake received a fine for unsportsmanlike conduct. You can’t say he’s not passionate about the game!
Alvin Kamara, Saints
Where do you go after winning the Rookie of the Year award? Hopefully, straight into the stratosphere. Kamara had an incredible first season with the Saints, with a combined 13 TDs. Could he pull off 1000 yards in both receiving and rushing this year? Keep your eye on Kamara, friends; he’s going places fast.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles
Agholor has been around the block a few times—this will be his fourth season in the NFL—but last year was his best yet. With 8 TDs and 62 receptions, we’re finally seeing him achieve the early promise he showed as a rookie. This year is shaping up to be another record-breaker for the wide receiver.
Saquon Barkley, Giants
This year’s number two draft pick has a lot of promise, but he’s currently dealing with a hamstring strain. The powerhouse running back managed a 39-yard run last week in a pre-season match against Cleveland, so here’s hoping that he’s back to form soon.