The new NFL season is nearly upon us and it’s going to be as long and as hard of a campaign as ever for all 32 teams.
It’ll certainly be difficult for fans to call the winner of the Super Bowl next year.
What’s easier to get a grasp of though, is who the players are that you need to keep an eye out for when the new campaign fires into action. Here are our five picks for who to eye out for this year:
1. Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars
Heads will still be throbbing amongst Jaguars fans this offseason, as the club managed to land one of the most promising talents available in the draft in Trevor Lawrence.
The quarterback has been touted as a future Hall of Famer and is believed to be one of the best prospects of the last decade.
He tossed away the competition in college and he’s expected to continue tossing them off to one side in the big leagues too despite the leap up.
He’s strong, athletic and has proven to be a commanding presence when it matters.
If he can step up to the plate (and handle the sheer pressure from all sides) then he could help the Jags have a much better campaign this year. Literally all eyes will be on the youngster this season.
2. T.J Watt – Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers fell away towards the back end of the last campaign but one of their main assets was their defensive ability.
A large reason as to why they managed to keep it so tight was because of the skillset of T.J Watt.
The linebacker has been a two time All-Pro and is arguably one of the best players in the league, regardless of position.
He’s proven he can break through holes in the offence at will and his ability to get to the quarterback is second to none (he even registered the most sacks in 2020).
With his team faltering in attack, T.J Watt will have to ensure he’s at his best this year to ensure the Steelers stay on top in the AFC North and launch a Super Bowl bid.
3. Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
Another quarterback and another promising young talent in this list is Josh Allen.
The player had a massive season in 2020 and it looks like he is the right man to lead the franchise for the foreseeable future.
His hand technique has come on leaps and bounds since he made his Buffalo debut and his ability to find his receivers with a variety of passes is unprecedented in the league.
He’s exactly what you would want from a player in his position and he’s already proven that he can step up to the plate in big games – he doesn’t feel the nerves and could therefore be the man to finally lead the Bills to that elusive Super Bowl title.
4. Devin White – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers finished exactly as they would have wanted back in February. With Tom Brady leading the charge, they flew to the biggest trophy of them all in claiming the Super Bowl crown over the Kansas City Chiefs.
However, it wasn’t just the offensive members of the squad that helped surge their side to victory in the big game. In fact, it was Devin White who helped seal the win by landing an interception when it really mattered.
The 23-year old has only been in the league for two seasons but already looks like the real deal. Picked 5th in the 2019 draft, he has already cemented himself as an important staple in the Buccs side and has the ability to continue to grow even bigger as a player over the course of the next few months.
He’s already been elected as a second-team All-Pro player and if he continues to put in the grind, hit hard and ram his way to the opposition quarterbacks, he could flourish and go even better in 2021 despite his young age.
Either way, he’s bound to be pivotal to the Buccaneers. If he has a good day, then so does his team more often than not – and regardless of TB12 or Rob Gronkowski, he could be just as essential to their success this season.
5. Julio Jones – Tennessee Titans
It could to be a massive stroke of genius from the Titans to land the wide-receiver from Atlanta Falcons. Jones has been one of the elite level players in the league over the course of the last few campaigns but he’s struggled to get himself going over the last year or so.
However, the ability is certainly there and it could all prove to just be a hump in the road for the WR. If he can recapture his previous form, he could be a shrewd signing for the Titans and could help carry them to the level needed to be real challengers in the post-season.
It’ll be a tough one for the Falcons to take if he does end up becoming one of the best receivers in the league again but their loss is no doubt the Titans gain.
Jones has pace, can confound opposition cornerbacks and, at his best, can deliver poundings to opposition defences all day long. One sighting of the 6ft 2in powerhouse lining up against you will already put the fear up many a player – the issue is just whether he can recapture that elite, top-level form that has already gone a long way towards making him one of the best WRs to ever do it.