NFL: Predicting breakout players from the AFC South
The AFC south was very busy this off season to say the least. The Houston Texans added longtime Patriots Nose Tackle Vince Wilfork to bolster their defensive line, and the Colts added former pro-bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson to add another threat for Andrew Luck. The Jacksonville Jaguars were even in the news this offseason, as they signed former Broncos Tight End Julius Thomas to a 5-year Deal. The Titans are their own story, as they are in the process of rebuilding and hope they have found their franchise quarterback in Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who they selected with the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft. The AFC south is relatively young and have a bunch of young stars that are primed to have a breakout season, heres a look at some players that are going to be a big part of their teams success:
Indianapolis Colts -TE Coby Fleener
With all the weapons Andrew Luck now has for his disposal, Coby Fleener will benefit the most from it. Dwayne Allen is primarily the red zone target, but Fleener has the better hands and is the more skilled out of the two. Defenses will focus on T.Y. Hilton and newly acquired Andre Johnson, which will give Fleener more favorable matchups. His numbers will be better this year and especially from a fantasy football perspective, he will be a steal in the mid-rounds of a draft.
Houston Texans – WR Jaelen Strong
I expect Jaelen Strong to come in and immediately contribute to the Texans roster. Strong is intriguing in the sense that he is a big physical receiver with a lot of athleticism and can cause matchup problems to defensive backs. For the Texans, it was a steal in the 3rd round as he slipped in the draft due to the uncertainty of his injured wrist. The last couple of years have been going fairly well for rookie wide receivers entering the league, and this year for Strong will be no different.
Jacksonville Jaguars – RB T.J. Yeldon
Another rookie that makes the list is T.J. Yeldon, as he is expected to make a big impact to a young offense in Jacksonville. Blake Bortles will go into his second year and he will need a spark from the former Alabama running back. Although he hasn’t secured the job yet, Yeldon has opened eyes in workouts and is sky rocketing to the top of the depth chart. Last year, the Jaguars rush offense was very inconsistent with Denard Robinson getting the bulk of the carries in the second half of the season. The signing of Julius Thomas should help Bortles as Thomas becomes a security blanket for the young quarterback. Expect Yeldon to open up big plays down the field and be the productive back the Jags have been missing since the departure of Maurice Jones-Drew.
Tennesse Titans – RB Bishop Sankey
Averaging 3.7 yards per carry, Bishop Sankey ran for 569 yards on 152 attempts last year. Just like the Jaguars, the Titans will have a very young offense and will look for more production from the running back position. He struggled a bit last year, but mostly because of an offensive line that was pretty much patched together. His carries should go up this season and if he works on the fundamentals, many people believe he is a viable option.
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