Playing NFL football is about making a name for yourself by making the most of your opportunities on the field.
With teams constantly changing year to year, and veteran players getting another year older, there’s always room for young players and rookies around the league to rise to prominence by taking advantage of new or added responsibility when it’s their turn to do so. And it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Here are five NFL players who could become stars this 2020 NFL season:
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Especially in recent memory, we’ve seen highly touted quarterbacks come into the NFL with expectations to turn around their respective franchises. It doesn’t always pan out that way. But something about the way Burrow carries himself, with a cool confidence and the skills to back it up, make us think he’ll be different.
Not to mention, he’s in a pretty good situation with weapons like A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd at wideout and Joe Mixon in the backfield. And if he can get the Bengals to their first playoff win since before he was born, that may be all it takes for Burrow to become a Cincinnati legend.
JC Jackson, CB, New England Patriots
Since the Patriots signed Jackson as an undrafted free agent in 2018, New England fans probably have seen enough already to know he’s a baller at corner. But with increased importance and exposure this season with all of the defensive players who either opted-out or left in free agency, Jackson has quite the opportunity to put himself on the national map.
He and Stephon Gilmore form arguably the best corner tandem in the league, as evidenced by the Patriots allowing the fewest touchdowns and lowest completion percentage in the NFL, while racking up the most interceptions last season. Jackson finished the 2019 campaign with 36 tackles and five interceptions.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Another rookie out of LSU, Edwards-Helaire is going from one championship team to another one, just at a higher level. And as a first-year offensive player, the Chiefs are an ideal landing spot.
Unlike his college teammate Burrow, Edwards-Helaire won’t have any expectations to be the guy to save the franchise, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes already has plenty of options to throw the ball or hand it off to. But getting the new running back into the mix and adding more depth makes them more of a threat, especially after Damien Williams opted out. Edwards-Helaire will have a huge stage to prove himself on with so much hype around Kansas City yet again.
Christian Wilkins, DT, Miami Dolphins
As a rookie, the 2019 first-round pick out of Clemson had significantly more tackles (56) than any other first-year player at his position, proving to be a bright spot for the Dolphins amid a pretty bright season.
And off the field, the exuberant personality showcased during his college days slowly started to show in the NFL. Now that he has a year under his belt and a better supporting cast, it’s likely we’ll see a big jump not only his consistency on the field, but his leadership off it.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
Running back LeSean McCoy was among AFC East players to migrate south to play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, opening a door for Singletary to absorb much more responsibility as Buffalo looks to put together another winning season.
Singletary will be the Bills’ first option at running back, with rookie Zack Moss his only competition there. But if his trajectory continues in his second year of the league, Singletary’s impressive 5.1 yards per carry and 969 all-purpose yards his first season make him a prime candidate to have a big breakout year.
Thumbnail photo via Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports Images