The National Football League (NFL) is a dynamic and ever-evolving league, where new talent emerges each season. As we look ahead to the 2023 NFL season, several players across all 32 teams have the potential to break out and make a significant impact. Let’s dive into the list of players to watch out for in the upcoming season.
Potential Breakout Players from All 32 NFL Teams in 2023
Arizona Cardinals: Marquise Brown, WR0
Marquise Brown, also known as “Hollywood,” possesses explosive speed and agility. In the 2022 season, Brown showcased glimpses of his potential as a deep threat and a playmaker. With the Cardinals’ offensive firepower, Brown has the opportunity to flourish as a complementary receiver alongside DeAndre Hopkins. If he can improve his route-running and build a strong connection with quarterback Kyler Murray, Brown could become a breakout star in Arizona.
Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR
Baltimore Ravens: Odafe Oweh, OLB
Odafe Oweh, a physical specimen with exceptional speed and explosiveness, is primed to make a splash in the Ravens’ defense. With his relentless pursuit of quarterbacks and ability to disrupt passing plays, Oweh has the potential to become a game-changing edge rusher. As he continues to refine his technique and develop his pass-rushing moves, Oweh could emerge as a force to be reckoned with in Baltimore’s formidable defense.
Buffalo Bills: Gabriel Davis, WR
Gabriel Davis displayed glimpses of his potential during his rookie season, showing great chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen. With the Bills’ high-powered offense, Davis has the opportunity to shine as a deep threat and a reliable target in the red zone. His combination of size, speed, and ball skills make him a dangerous weapon for the Bills’ passing attack. If Davis can continue to develop and build on his rookie success, he could have a breakout season in Buffalo.
Carolina Panthers: Shi Smith, WR
Shi Smith, a quick and elusive receiver, has the potential to become a key playmaker for the Panthers’ offense. With his agility and route-running ability, Smith can create separation and make plays in open space. As he gains more experience and adjusts to the NFL level, Smith could emerge as a reliable target for quarterback Sam Darnold. Keep an eye on this young receiver as he aims to contribute significantly to Carolina’s passing game.
Chicago Bears: Cole Kmet, TE
Cole Kmet, a talented tight end, possesses the size and athleticism to become a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. In his sophomore season, Kmet has the opportunity to step into a more prominent role in the Bears’ offense. With his reliable hands and ability to work the middle of the field, Kmet can provide a valuable security blanket for quarterback Justin Fields. If he continues to develop his route-running and establishes chemistry with Fields, Kmet could become a breakout player in Chicago.
Cincinnati Bengals: Irv Smith Jr., TE
Irv Smith Jr., a versatile tight end, has the potential to become a reliable target in the Bengals’ offense. With his athleticism and route-running ability, Smith can create mismatches against linebackers and safeties. As he builds chemistry with quarterback Joe Burrow, Smith could emerge as a go-to option in the passing game. Look for him to make significant contributions and potentially have a breakout season in Cincinnati.
Cleveland Browns: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR
Dallas Cowboys: Micah Parsons, LB
Micah Parsons, a versatile linebacker with exceptional athleticism, made an immediate impact in his rookie season. Parsons showcased his ability to rush the passer, drop into coverage, and make plays all over the field. With his speed, instincts, and playmaking ability, Parsons has the potential to become a defensive force for the Cowboys. As he continues to develop and refine his skills, Parsons could emerge as one of the premier linebackers in the league.
Denver Broncos: Greg Dulcich, TE
Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, DE
Aidan Hutchinson, a dominant edge rusher, has the potential to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. With his size, strength, and relentless motor, Hutchinson can generate pressure and disrupt offensive game plans. As he continues to refine his pass-rushing moves and develop his technique, Hutchinson could become a nightmare for offensive tackles. Keep an eye on this talented defensive end as he aims to make a significant impact in Detroit.
Green Bay Packers: Christian Watson, WR
Christian Watson, a physical and athletic receiver, has the potential to become a breakout player in the Packers’ offense. With his size, speed, and leaping ability, Watson can make contested catches and stretch the field vertically. As he continues to refine his route-running and build chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers or his successor, Watson could emerge as a key weapon in Green Bay’s passing attack. Keep an eye on this promising young receiver as he aims to make his mark in the NFL.
Houston Texans: Nico Collins, WR
Nico Collins, a big-bodied receiver with good hands, has the potential to become a go-to target for the Texans’ offense. With his size, physicality, and ability to win contested catches, Collins can be a reliable option in the red zone. As he develops his route-running and gains more experience, Collins could emerge as a key contributor to Houston’s passing game. Keep an eye on this young receiver as he aims to make a name for himself with the Texans.
Indianapolis Colts: Matt Ryan, QB
Matt Ryan, a seasoned veteran, brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the Colts’ offense. With his accurate passing and decision-making ability, Ryan can effectively distribute the ball to his playmakers. In Indianapolis, surrounded by a talented roster, Ryan has the opportunity to rejuvenate his career and guide the team to success. Keep an eye on this accomplished quarterback as he aims to make a significant impact with the Colts.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, DE
Travon Walker, a disruptive defensive end, has the potential to become a game-changing presence for the Jaguars’ defense. With his quickness off the line of scrimmage and ability to penetrate the backfield, Walker can wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines. As he continues to refine his technique and develop his pass-rushing moves, Walker could emerge as a force to be reckoned with in Jacksonville. Keep an eye on this talented young defender as he aims to make his mark in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs: Skyy Moore, WR
Skyy Moore, a dynamic and elusive receiver, has the potential to become a dangerous weapon in the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. With his speed, agility, and playmaking ability, Moore can create separation and make big plays in space. As he gains more experience and adjusts to the NFL level, Moore could emerge as a valuable asset for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ explosive passing attack. Keep an eye on this exciting young receiver as he aims to contribute significantly to Kansas City’s offensive firepower.
Las Vegas Raiders: Darren Waller, TE
Darren Waller, a supremely talented tight end, has already made a name for himself as one of the premier players in his position. However, in 2023, Waller has the potential to elevate his game even further and solidify his status as one of the league’s best. With his size, speed, and exceptional route-running ability, Waller can create mismatches against linebackers and safeties. As he continues to build chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr, Waller could put up record-breaking numbers and become an unstoppable force in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles Chargers: Khalil Mack, OLB
Khalil Mack, a dominant edge rusher, has been a terror for opposing offenses throughout his career. Now, with the Los Angeles Chargers, Mack has the opportunity to make a significant impact on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. With his combination of speed, strength, and pass-rushing moves, Mack can disrupt game plans and generate pressure on quarterbacks. Keep an eye on this established star as he aims to bring his game to new heights in a Chargers uniform.
Los Angeles Rams: Aaron Donald, DT
Aaron Donald, widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the NFL, needs no introduction. With his unmatched combination of strength, quickness, and technique, Donald consistently wreaks havoc in opposing backfields. In 2023, expect Donald to continue his dominance and be a disruptive force for the Rams’ defense. Whether it’s collapsing the pocket, stopping the run, or creating turnovers, Donald is a game-changer who can impact every snap.
Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR
Jaylen Waddle, a dynamic and explosive receiver, has the potential to become a star in the Dolphins’ offense. With his electrifying speed, precise route-running, and ability to make plays after the catch, Waddle can stretch the field and create mismatches against opposing defenses. As he develops chemistry with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Waddle could emerge as a go-to target and playmaker for the Dolphins. Keep an eye on this exciting young receiver as he aims to make a significant impact in Miami.
Minnesota Vikings: Justin Jefferson, WR
Justin Jefferson burst onto the scene as a rookie and quickly established himself as one of the league’s top wide receivers. With his smooth route-running, exceptional hands, and ability to make contested catches, Jefferson has all the tools to continue his success in 2023. As he builds chemistry with quarterback Kirk Cousins or his successor, Jefferson could put up even more impressive numbers and solidify his status as one of the premier pass-catchers in the NFL.
New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB
Mac Jones, a promising young quarterback, enters the spotlight as the future leader of the New England Patriots offense. With his accuracy, poise, and decision-making ability, Jones has the potential to guide the Patriots to success. Under the tutelage of head coach Bill Belichick, Jones has the opportunity to develop and showcase his skills on the biggest stage. Keep an eye on this talented signal-caller as he aims to make his mark in New England and carry on the Patriots’ winning tradition.
New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR
Chris Olave, a polished and versatile receiver, has the potential to become a key weapon in the Saints’ passing game. With his route-running precision, strong hands, and football IQ, Olave consistently finds ways to get open and make plays. As he adjusts to the NFL level and builds chemistry with quarterback Taysom Hill or his successor, Olave could emerge as a reliable target and impact player in New Orleans. Keep an eye on this talented young receiver as he aims to contribute significantly to the Saints’ offensive success.
New York Giants: Kadarius Toney, WR
Kadarius Toney, a dynamic and elusive playmaker, has the potential to become a game-changer for the Giants’ offense. With his exceptional quickness, agility, and ability to make defenders miss, Toney can turn short passes into big gains and provide a spark in the return game. As he continues to refine his route-running and gain more experience, Toney could emerge as a go-to target for quarterback Daniel Jones. Keep an eye on this exciting young receiver as he aims to make a significant impact in New York.
New York Jets: Elijah Moore, WR
Elijah Moore, a versatile and explosive receiver, has the potential to become a key piece of the Jet’s offense. With his speed, route-running ability, and knack for making contested catches, Moore can be a reliable target for quarterback Zach Wilson. As he gains more experience and adjusts to the NFL level, Moore could emerge as a playmaker and provide a much-needed boost to the Jets’ passing attack. Keep an eye on this talented young receiver as he aims to make his mark in New York.
Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith, WR
DeVonta Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is poised to make an immediate impact in the NFL. With his precise route-running, excellent hands, and ability to create separation, Smith can be a nightmare for opposing cornerbacks. As he builds chemistry with quarterback Jalen Hurts, Smith could emerge as the Eagles’ primary receiving threat and a dynamic playmaker in their offense. Keep an eye on this highly-talented receiver as he aims to showcase his skills at the highest level.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB
Kenny Pickett, a talented quarterback out of Pitt, has the potential to take the reins of the Steelers’ offense shortly. With his arm strength, accuracy, and ability to read defenses, Pickett has the tools to succeed at the next level. As he continues to develop and learn under the guidance of head coach Mike Tomlin, Pickett could become the long-term answer at the quarterback position for the Steelers. Keep an eye on this promising young signal-caller as he aims to make a significant impact in Pittsburgh.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB
Trey Lance, an athletic and dual-threat quarterback, enters the spotlight as the future of the San Francisco 49ers’ offense. With his strong arm, mobility, and ability to extend plays, Lance brings a dynamic element to the quarterback position. Under the guidance of head coach Kyle Shanahan, Lance has the opportunity to develop his skills and showcase his potential. Keep an eye on this exciting young quarterback as he aims to make his mark in San Francisco and lead the 49ers to success.
Seattle Seahawks: D.K. Metcalf, WR
D.K. Metcalf, a physical specimen with incredible size and speed, has already established himself as one of the premier receivers in the NFL. With his ability to stretch the field, make contested catches, and outmuscle defenders, Metcalf is a nightmare for opposing secondaries. In 2023, expect Metcalf to continue his dominance and be a go-to target for quarterback Russell Wilson. Whether it’s making highlight-reel catches or simply outmuscling defenders, Metcalf is a game-changer who can impact every game he plays.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Godwin, WR
Chris Godwin, a reliable and versatile receiver, has been a key contributor to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s success in recent years. Godwin consistently comes through in clutch situations with his route-running precision, strong hands, and ability to make tough catches in traffic. In 2023, expect Godwin to continue being a trusted target for quarterback Tom Brady and a vital piece of the Buccaneers’ high-powered offense. Keep an eye on this talented receiver as he aims to contribute to another championship run in Tampa Bay.
Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR
Treylon Burks, a physical and explosive receiver, can potentially become a playmaker for the Tennessee Titans offense. With his size, speed, and ability to win contested catches, Burks can be a dangerous weapon in the red zone and on deep routes. As he develops his route-running and gains more experience, Burks could emerge as a go-to target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Keep an eye on this promising young receiver as he aims to make a significant impact in Tennessee.
Q: What does it mean for a player to have a breakout season in the NFL?
A: A breakout season refers to a player experiencing a significant increase in performance, productivity, and impact on their team compared to previous seasons. It often involves players exceeding expectations, emerging as key contributors, and making a name for themselves in the league.
Q: Are breakout players only limited to young or rookie players?
A: No, breakout players can come from any stage of their career. While young or rookie players often have the most potential for breakout seasons, established veterans can also have breakout seasons by elevating their performance to new heights or adapting to new roles or systems.
Q: What factors contribute to a player’s breakout potential?
A: Several factors contribute to a player’s breakout potential, including their skill set, physical abilities, opportunity for playing time, team dynamics, coaching, offensive or defensive schemes, and overall player development. These factors interact in complex ways, making it difficult to predict breakout players with certainty.
Q: Can breakout players sustain their success in subsequent seasons?
A: Sustaining success after a breakout season can be challenging. It requires continued development, adaptability to changing circumstances, avoiding complacency, and staying healthy. Some breakout players establish themselves as consistent performers, while others may experience fluctuations in their performance.
Q: How do breakout players impact their teams’ success?