Kieran Light ’21
Every NFL offseason features an abundance of acquisitions and moves. Big name players move all around the league, coaches change teams, etc. All these different moves create different opportunities for different players and coaches.
Having now been through the majority of free agency, I’d like to share three players that I believe are primed to break out next season.
Carl Lawson, DE (New York Jets)
Lawson is one of the many new additions the Jets made in free agency this year and he’s a player that I think can thrive in newly-appointed head coach Robert Saleh’s defence. For those who don’t know, Saleh was previously the defensive coordinator for the 49ers and was a critical piece in making one of the league’s best defensive units. This unit got the 49ers to a Super Bowl and the NFC’s best record just last year. He’s a defensive genius. Saleh is also known for his passion for the game and can frequently be seen yelling and jumping around on the sideline.
This enthusiasm is what Lawson said made him sign in the Big Apple. What does this say? It says that Lawson is completely bought into Saleh’s system. Lawson will also have young stud Quinnen Williams on the d line with him to relieve some pressure. Lawson has shown great potential in Cincinnati before signing in New York, having had many seasons where he had some of the highest recorded QB hits, QB pressures, and pass rush percentage. This will be his year.
Gerald Everett, TE (Seattle Seahawks)
Everett is a relatively unknown name. He spent the last four years playing for the LA Rams, not getting much spotlight due to injuries and the fact that he was in an offence that heavily leaned on players like Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and the then MVP candidate Todd Gurley.
Furthermore, this past year the team became more focused on its defence, having built the best in the league. Now he’s in Seattle under head coach Pete Carrol. Carrol is a coach that loves to use his tight ends in the passing game and whose offence has become more passing-centric.
In years past, the Hawks had one of the league’s best tight ends in Jimmy Graham, who was an integral piece in their offence. Even the more recent tight ends like Will Dissly, a washed-up Greg Olsen, and Luke Wilson all got a good number of targets. I believe that Everett is much more talented than these three players, so I think he’ll break out this season.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB (Miami Dolphins)
How about we actually give Tua a chance. It’s crazy to me how fast fans went from saying he was rookie of the year to trash.
Take a step back and look at his situation. Rookie playing the most intellectually challenging position, no preseason with his new team, and coming off the same injury that ended Bo Jackson’s career. He was also thrown into the starter spot in week seven, and for the better part of the season, didn’t have his Pro Bowl-caliber receiver DaVante Parker on the field with him.
Despite all that, for the first two games, he was good and he even beat the league’s best defence—the Rams—in just his first game as a starter. Now he actually gets a preseason to learn the offence and marinate. And to help out, the Fins front office signed the speedy deep threat receiver Will Fuller V from Houston to bolster his weapons.
Furthermore, the Dolphins also hold the 6th pick in this year’s draft after having made a few amazing trades over the past two years. This means they can go get him more young weapons like his old college teammate DaVonta Smith, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, or Kyle Pitts, the tight end who most scouts believe will be one of the league’s best in just his rookie year. Clearly, Tua has all the pieces and all the talent necessary to succeed, so why don’t we just give him a shot?