The second-year NFL offensive players who could break out in 2020

C.J. Doon, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Football

For all the excitement surrounding rookies when they enter the NFL, it's rare to see them make an immediate impact on the field. It takes time for players to learn the playbook, adapt to life out of college and adjust to the speed of the professional game -- even for superstars such as reigning Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson.

As the NFL works toward opening training camps amid the coronavirus pandemic, here's a look at the offensive players picked in the 2019 draft who could take a big step forward this season:

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray

After Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson turned into MVP winners in their second seasons, many are expecting Murray to make a similar jump. The former No. 1 overall pick won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after totaling 4,266 yards from scrimmage (3,722 passing, 544 rushing) and scoring 24 touchdowns (20 passing, four rushing), and he should put up even better numbers this year after the Cardinals acquired star receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. Arizona also brought back veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back Kenyan Drake, giving Murray everything he needs to take off in Year 2 leading coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense.

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock

Lock might have been the biggest winner of the offseason. The Broncos not only improved their offensive line, signing guard Graham Glasgow and drafting interior linemen Lloyd Cushenberry III and Netane Muti, but surrounded Lock with an enticing group of playmakers. Denver drafted wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler with their first two picks and later added athletic tight end Albert Okwuegbunam to go with Pro Bowl receiver Courtland Sutton and budding tight end Noah Fant. Lock is in position to be one of the league's most productive quarterbacks thanks to the work done this offseason by general manager John Elway.


Patriots quarterback Jarett Stidham

As ESPN's Bill Barnwell pointed out, Stidham is expected to be just the second quarterback in NFL history who was drafted after the 100th pick and started zero games as a rookie before starting Week 1 the following season, joining the Broncos' Trevor Siemian. Stidham, a fourth-round pick, attempted just four passes as a rookie, including an interception. But the Patriots didn't draft a quarterback in April and neglected to sign or trade for an established veteran, only giving journeyman Brian Hoyer a one-year deal. Stidham was a sought-after four-star recruit in Texas who played well as a freshman at Baylor in 2015 before transferring to Auburn, where he failed to live up to high expectations but still threw 36 touchdown passes in two seasons. He brings mobility to the position, something the Patriots haven't had with Tom Brady, and could surprise under the tutelage of future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick.

Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr.

The former Ohio State star had an up-and-down rookie season, completing 58.6% of his passes for 1,365 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Washington lacked playmakers outside of rookie sensation Terry McLaurin last season, so the Redskins drafted running back/receiver Antonio Gibson and receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and brought in LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss as an undrafted free agent. Washington still has plenty of holes, especially on the offensive line, but Haskins has the talent to be an above-average starter.


swipe to next page