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10 NFL players who could break out in 2021

Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow's season was unfortunately cut short by injury
Walter Sharp
Modified 15 Jan 2021, 02:17 IST
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2021 NFL Season gives young talent the opportunity to have a break out year

The 2020 NFL Season has been full of ups and downs. It brought a lot of challenges to veterans and rookies. Rookies did not have much time to prepare for the regular season. The COVID-19 pandemic really impacted the rookies more than the veterans.

Rookies look for training camp to get adapted to the speed of the NFL and the teams offense. It also gives the rookies an opportunity to bond and build chemistry with their teammates. The rookie quarterbacks are the rookies that needed the offseason the most.

For the first time the NFL Draft was virtual and the season looked different as well. There was limited attendance or no attendance at all for NFL games during the 2020 NFL Season. This caused problems for some of the players that feed off the crowd to get into the game.

NFL rookies are coming off a season that had a packed house for every game that they played. It would give them a different look and feel when they would play their first NFL game without fans in the stands. On top of no fans they had little time to prep for their first game.

Some of the NFL players adapted to the change quickly and others it took some time to adapt. In the end it was the new feel to the NFL. Some may say it favored the rookies because the games had a practice feel to them without fans.

When it comes down to it, there were two handfuls of players that excelled and have a chance at becoming breakout players. With everything looking to be on schedule for the 2021 NFL Season. It shows promise that the 2020 NFL rookies will have a full offseason to get to the next level in their NFL careers.

The NFL is planning on having everything back to normal when the 2021 NFL Season kicks off. With the COVID-19 vaccine being available to the public soon it will make things easier on the NFL when it comes to allowing fans. It will finally give the 2020 NFL rookies a chance to feel the atmosphere of an NFL game.


Whether fans are allowed back or not. There are still 10 players that stood out in the 2020 NFL Season. Those 10 players have the potential to have break out years in the 2021 NFL Season.

10 NFL players who could break out in 2021

#10 Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals)

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons has the opportunity to become elite in the 2021 NFL Season.

Arizona Cardinals would select linebacker Isaiah Simmons with their 8th pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Simmons had an outstanding college football career at Clemson University. Isaiah Simmons would bring home the 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award, 2019 Consensus All-American and 2019 Dick Butkus Award.

Isaiah Simmons Career stats at Clemson University:

  • Total Tackles: 238
  • Sacks: 11
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Forced Fumbles: 6
  • Fumble Recoveries: 1
  • Touchdowns: 1

In the four years that Simmons spent at Clemson his 2019 college football season was his best. He would record 104 total tackles, 8 sacks, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. This would land him the Dick Butkus Award for being the best linebacker in college football. Lets take a look at how the 2020 NFL Season turned out for Isaiah Simmons.


Isaiah Simmons' NFL Rookie Season

Simmons would play in all of the 2020 NFL games in his rookie season for the Arizona Cardinals. He would be a key role player on the Arizona Cardinals defensive front seven. Simmons has amazing speed and great talent for a linebacker.

There were times during the season that he made rookie mistakes but that is normal as he did not have a full offseason to prepare. Simmons would record four straight games where he would only record one tackle. As a linebacker that is not very impressive.

Although he made rookie mistakes and had some games that he struggled in, Isaiah Simmons proved that the Cardinals made the right pick in drafting him. Simmons will be a key piece to the Arizona Cardinals defense in the next year or two. He has the potential to have a break out year in 2021 if they can get him a full offseason to prepare for it.

Isaiah Simmons 2020 NFL Season Stats:

  • Total Tackles: 54
  • Sacks: 2
  • Forced Fumbles: 1
  • Fumble Recoveries: 1
  • Pass Deflections: 2
  • Interceptions: 1

Even though these are not eye popping numbers it is still a productive year for the NFL rookie linebacker. Simmons has all the talent to make a big jump during the 2021 NFL Season he just needs time. With everything looking like it will go back to normal. We could potentially see Isaiah Simmons become one of the premiere linebackers in the NFL in the 2021 NFL Season.

#9 Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)

Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Clyde Edwards-Helaire will look to show the Kansas City Chiefs that he is the right running back

Kansas City Chiefs would draft running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire with their 32nd pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Edwards-Helaire would play three seasons with the LSU Tigers before jumping to the NFL. His sophomore and junior years at LSU were his most productive. He would be a part of the LSU team that won the National Championship in 2019.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire's Career Stats at LSU:

  • Rushing attempts: 370
  • Rushing yards: 2,103 yards
  • Rushing touchdowns: 23
  • Receptions: 69
  • Receiving yards: 595
  • Receiving touchdowns: 1

Clyde Edwards-Helaire would have his best season in 2019 for the LSU Tigers. He would have 1,867 all purpose yards and 17 total touchdowns. He stepped into a bigger role in the LSU Tigers offense and never looked back.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire's NFL Rookie Season

Edwards-Helaire would play in 13 of the 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs in his rookie season. The former LSU running back would not record a single fumble in his rookie year. He showed glimpses of what he can bring to the Chiefs offense in the future.

The Chiefs would add running back Le'Veon Bell during the 2020 NFL Season but it did not impact Clyde Edwards-Helaire. With the Chiefs being a pass dominant offense he still managed to have a good rookie year. In his rookie season he would lead the Kansas City Chiefs in rushing yards.

Clyde's talent was overshadowed by Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce which is expected. He still put his head down and gained quality yards for the Chiefs when they needed him. Lets take a look at how Clyde Edwards-Helaire's 2020 NFL Rookie Season turned out.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire's 2020 NFL Season Stats:

  • Rushing attempts: 181
  • Rushing yards: 803 yards
  • Rushing touchdowns: 4
  • Receptions: 36
  • Receiving yards: 297 yards
  • Receiving touchdowns: 1

With the numbers that Clyde Edwards-Helaire put up in his rookie season he showed the ability to be the number one running back in Kansas City. As a rookie he led all other Kansas City Chiefs running backs. Clyde is a quick running back that can catch the football out of the backfield.

This is exactly the type of running back the Kansas City Chiefs have been looking for. His catching ability causes mismatches on linebackers. We could potentially see Clyde Edwards-Helaire have a bigger role in the Chiefs offense and have a break out year in the 2021 NFL Season.

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Published 15 Jan 2021, 02:17 IST
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