When talking about pro football, one of the main things all fans and NFL odds experts are always keen on watching is how out of the blue any player which is coming off a respectable season takes the plunge to establish themselves as the newest stars of the game. While there are players who are already bonafide all stars in their own rights, like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald, DeAndre Hopkins and others, every season, players who are coming off a strong showing in the previous year might leap into stardom.
Now, while we wait for the new NFL season to start, here is our pick for the top four players who look most-ready for a breakout season in 2021.
1. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers
For Packers CB Jaire Alexander, his fourth season in the NFL might just be the season that allows him to establish himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, joining players like Jalen Ramsey, Xavien Howard, Tre’Davious White and Stephon Gilmore amongst others. Alexander, who is coming off his best season yet, having even made it to his first Pro Bowl is more than ready to show the league why he is one of the most feared corners for opposing offenses all around.
Alexander’s 2020 season can be taken as enough proof that 2021 might end up being the year in which he enters the realm of top quality CB’s in the league, especially if he can lead Green Bay like he did last year in passes defended. If you need any proof of just how good this man can be, go back to the Packers vs. Buccaneers NFC Championship game where even though Green Bay lost, Alexander was able to pick off Tom Brady twice in the last quarter of the game, leaving fans and experts wanting more from him.
2. Justin Herbert, QB, LA Chargers
If there was ever a time for Chargers fans to be excited about their prospect at QB is right now with Justin Herbert entering his second season with LA. After winning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award last season it seems that Herbert was just getting warmed up and 2021 might end up being way better than what 2020 was for him and his team.
Last season Herbert was able to have seven games with a passer rating of over 100, all while playing with an offensive line that wasn’t up to a respectable level, to say the least. But there’s the magic in Herbert’s game. It seems as if the more under pressure he’s in, the better he plays with a passer rating of 99.4 when dealt with incoming pressure from opposing defenses. All that is left to do here is for the Chargers to improve their offensive line, because if given time to play and not be chased around everywhere, Herbert might just become the next big thing in the QB department for the NFL.
3. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Filling in for Steffon Diggs might be one of the hardest jobs in the league. Filling in for Steffon Diggs while in your rookie year? That just sounds like the steepest mountain to climb. But Justin Jefferson wouldn’t know about any of that, because in his rookie season last year, Jefferson balled like a seasoned pro and in 2021 he is ready to put the league on notice with his skills.
Even with having Kirk Cousins being his QB, which is not necessarily bad, but it’s also not the best available option, Jefferson was able to put up some exciting numbers, putting him right up in the conversation for top receivers in the game alongside Green Bay’s Davante Adams and the former Vikings now Bills WR, Steffon Diggs. It’s not hard to say that if Jefferson breaks out this year, he could be in talks for best WR in the league.
4. Chase Young, DE, Washington Football Team
Making it big as a defensive player so early on in his career is one thing for Chase Young. Automatically making Washington’s defense one of the best defensive units in the game is more along the lines of what Young has done since entering the league. Young is coming off a season that saw him get 7.5 sacks, four defended passes, four forced fumbles and even a touchdown scored against the 49ers.
Now with the 2021 season on its way and with Washington having one of the best young defensive lines in the game, it’s time for Chase Young to step up and become not just the leader of this defense, but also of the team, the AFC East division and one of the most feared defensive ends in the game. It won’t be hard for him, just watch him play and you’ll see why.