The potential breakout player from all 32 NFL teams

Every new NFL season brings with it breakout performances, with players hoping to take their team to the next level. These are the top breakout candidates for each team entering the 2023 season.


Arizona Cardinals: Rondale Moore, WR

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Moore made big strides with the Cardinals last season, averaging 52 yards per game, but he played only eight games due to injury. Kyler Murray‘s knee injury could hinder Arizona’s passing game, but Moore could step into a more prominent role if Arizona trades DeAndre Hopkins.


Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB

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The Falcons were a run-heavy team last season and are set to lean in on that tendency after selecting Robinson eighth overall in the draft. He will lead a strong Atlanta backfield and is a shoo-in for 1,000-plus rushing yards if he stays healthy.


Baltimore Ravens: Odafe Oweh, OLB

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Baltimore has been as good as any franchise at developing pass rushers, and Oweh could be on the cusp entering his third NFL season. He has a total of eight sacks over his first two years but will be counted on for much more after Baltimore lost key veterans in their front seven.


Buffalo Bills: James Cook, RB

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Buffalo has moved on from Devin Singletary, opening the door for Cook to run with the starting job at running back. The second-year back impressed with 5.7 yards per carry last season and could be in for a huge workload if he’s able to fend off free-agent signing Damien Harris.


Carolina Panthers: Bryce Young, QB

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Rookie quarterbacks rarely make a big impact in the NFL, but Young can buck the trend. The former Alabama signal caller showed elite accuracy and playmaking ability in college, and Panthers head coach Frank Reich has proven in the past that he can develop quarterbacks.


Chicago Bears: DeMarcus Walker, DE

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Chicago is begging for an impact pass rusher, and Walker might be able to oblige. He signed a lucrative three-year, $21 million contract with the Bears after recording seven sacks in Tennessee last season and could see more consistent playing time with his new team.


Cincinnati Bengals: Irv Smith Jr., TE

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Smith’s struggles in four seasons in the league have been more due to injuries than ability. He missed all of 2021 and played only eight games last season, but Smith has shown flashes when healthy. The prolific Bengals offense could allow Smith to prosper if he’s finally able to stay on the field.


Cleveland Browns: Elijah Moore, WR

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Moore showed strong flashes in his first two NFL seasons but never gained the trust of the Jets coaching staff. The opportunity will be great on a Browns team begging for a secondary option behind Amari Cooper.


Dallas Cowboys: Deuce Vaughn, RB

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The loss of Ezekiel Elliott not only means that Tony Pollard will see more snaps but also there will be more opportunity behind him. Vaughn fell to the sixth round of the draft due to his lack of size, but he was a highly productive back at Kansas State and at least capable as a third-down running back. If Pollard shows any rust after a late-season injury last season, Vaughn could see an even bigger workload.


Denver Broncos: Greg Dulcich, TE

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New head coach Sean Payton produced tight ends with big stats in New Orleans, which should be music to the ears of Dulcich. He already had a solid rookie campaign, with 33 catches for 411 yards in only 10 games, so there should be optimism about his production in 2023.


Detroit Lions: Sam LaPorta, TE

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The Lions traded T.J. Hockenson last season, but LaPorta is a fellow alum of Iowa with a similarly high upside. He’s already been the talk of rookie camp and could play a big role in one of the league’s top offenses.


Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB

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Love’s time in Green Bay has finally arrived after the Packers traded Aaron Rodgers. His production has been mixed over 10 NFL regular season appearances, but we saw vast improvement when Love found the field last season. The Packers seem optimistic Love won’t miss a beat.


Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr., DE

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Houston sent a massive trade haul to Arizona in order to select Anderson third overall, with new head coach DeMeco Ryans searching for the elite pass rusher he had in San Francisco with Nick Bosa. Anderson looked the part at Alabama and will get every opportunity to succeed in his rookie season.


Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye, DE

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Paye has shown flashes in his first two NFL seasons, with a total of 10 sacks in 27 games. Injury prevented Paye from reaching his full potential last season, but the Colts are counting on him to take the next step this year.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, DE

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The first overall draft pick in 2021, Walker came along for Jacksonville as the year progressed. His 3.5 sacks during the regular season doesn’t represent the full impact he had as a pass-rushing disrupter, and the progress was shown in the playoffs with three quarterback hits and a half sack. Walker could take another big step forward this season.


Kansas City Chiefs: Kadarius Toney, WR

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Toney was worked slowly into the Chiefs offense after they acquired him at the trade deadline last season. He made a big impact in the Super Bowl both as a punt returner and receiver, though the opportunities for targets were limited. His role is likely to increase exponentially this season after the Chiefs lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman in free agency, with Kansas City hoping Toney can step up as their No. 1 wideout.


Las Vegas Raiders: Tyree Wilson, DE

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Las Vegas is set to have a ferocious pass rusher, adding Wilson to Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. Wilson’s production at Texas Tech doesn’t match the upside as a huge defensive end with elite physical tools. He could respond well as a situation pass rusher in his rookie campaign.


Los Angeles Chargers: Joshua Kelley, RB

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Chargers starting running back Austin Ekeler hasn’t seemed keen on his contract, at one point requesting a trade this offseason. Ekeler remains in the fold, but there’s no doubt the Chargers will need to plan for life beyond their disgruntled running back. Kelley is the next man up and has shown great flashes in three season, both as a runner and receiver. He could make a bigger impact this season with a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore.


Los Angeles Rams: Van Jefferson, WR

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Without cap space or draft capital, the Rams are looking within for improvement. Van Jefferson could play a huge role this year after missing much of last season due to injury. He had 802 yards receiving and six touchdowns while healthy in 2021, and should see more targets this season after the team traded Allen Robinson.


Miami Dolphins: Braxton Berrios, WR

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Berrios was a fine role player over the last four seasons with the Jets, and that role could expand with his new team. He’s prospered as a special teams player and possession receiver, and has a chance to step in as Miami’s No. 3 wideout after the team lost Trent Sherfield.


Minnesota Vikings: Marcus Davenport, OLB

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Davenport has tallied as many as nine sacks in a season during his NFL career, and will be featured prominently in the Vikings new defense after the team traded Za’Darius Smith. He’s looking to rebound from a down 2022 season and has the pressure of a new contract with his new team.


New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB

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The Patriots didn’t set up Jones to succeed last year, with a makeshift wideout corps and inexperienced offensive coordinator. They’ve answered the latter issue by bringing back former coordinator Bill O’Brien, and the team also added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki in the offseason.


New Orleans Saints: Carl Granderson, DE

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The loss of Marcus Davenport puts more pressure on the Saints existing pass rushers, including Granderson. He’s shown flashes in his four NFL seasons, including 5.5 sacks last season, and could see more opportunities this year.


New York Giants: Wan'Dale Robinson, WR

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The Giants are begging for one of their wideouts to step up this year after struggles last season. Robinson showed promise in his rookie season with 23 catches in only six games, but he missed most of the season due to injury. The undersized speedster has shown an ability to get open and should see much more work if he can stay healthy.


New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR

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Wilson won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2022, but that could be just the start. The addition of Aaron Rodgers gives Wilson a top quarterback delivering the ball after the team’s struggles throughout last season, and it also should be noted that Wilson didn’t have regular production until the middle of last season. Wilson could be ready to deliver elite numbers.


Philadelphia Eagles: D'Andre Swift, RB

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Detroit was often hesitant to use Swift over the last three years due to his inability to stay healthy. It remains to be seen if Philly will have that same hesitancy, but their running back depth does provide nice alternatives should the speedy Swift get injured again. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season and has big potential behind the elite Eagles offensive line.


Pittsburgh Steelers: George Pickens, WR

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Pickens impressed with highlight catches during his rookie season and got a bigger role after the Steelers traded Chase Claypool. He has a chance to step up as the team’s No. 1 receiver, especially if Diontae Johnson’s struggles catching the ball continue.


San Francisco 49ers: Drake Jackson, DE

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The 49ers lost Charles Omenihu in the offseason, with the clear hope that Jackson can step up in his second season. He had three sacks with limited playing time this year and should get plenty of opportunities to feast while defenses focus on Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave.


Seattle Seahawks: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR

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Seattle’s search for a No. 3 wideout ended with Smith-Njigba’s addition in the first round of the draft. He missed most of last season at Ohio State due to injury, but showed elite ability in 2021. Carving out an immediate role behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf could be difficult, but Smith-Njigba has the ability to add a new dimension to the Seahawks offense.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, DE

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Tryon-Shoyinka has shown flashes in his first two seasons with eight sacks, but his ability for big production was somewhat hindered by the veterans around him. Now that Tampa Bay is in a rebuild, Tryon-Shoyinka will be a more featured part of the front seven without great competition for sacks.


Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR

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Burks had a lost rookie season due to injuries, playing only 11 games. The Titans liked what they saw when he was on the field, and are relying on Burks even more this season after moving on from Robert Woods. He’s a gifted player with the ball in his hands, and should grow as the Titans likely install rookie quarterback Will Levis at some point in 2023.


Washington Commanders: Brian Robinson, RB

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Much of the focus this offseason has been on young quarterback Sam Howell, but new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s addition could help Washington’s running backs even more. The former running backs coach will lean on Robinson, who improved as his rookie season progressed after recovering from a gunshot wound just before Week 1.

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