Rookies are always the biggest talk at the beginning of every NFL season. They are a new talent that can hopefully be immediately impactful, especially since they want to bolster their value once it comes to contract talks.
Rookies don't always dominate the headlines though. Veterans share the excitement heading into the 2021 season. Veteran players have been shopped around and added to other teams, and also resigned by their respective teams. Veterans can offer a unique look at the game to rookies, as well as, maintaining their status as the "go-to" players on their teams. These are the 5 veterans that can still deliver in the 2021 season.
Which NFL veteran will be the most impactful?
Andy Dalton - Chicago Bears
Andy Dalton, Chicago Bears quarterback, is still a proven veteran of the league, even if his play has been criticized during the past couple of seasons. Changes in scenery are sometimes what players need to reignite their game. Look at Ryan Tannehill playing for the Tennessee Titans. Not that he was a terrible quarterback, but moving to the Titans has elevated his game to a whole new level.
Dalton can still show everyone there's a reason he is the starting quarterback over rookie Justin Fields. Dalton has amassed 33,764 yards with 218 TDs and 126 INTs and an overall passer rating of 87.5 There is a reason why Coach Mangy has seen fit to keep Dalton the starter, and Dalton will look to prove he can still be a leader in the locker room.
Raheem Mostert - San Francisco 49ers
Raheem Mostert, of the San Francisco 49ers, will be looking to put his injury-riddled 2020 season behind him. The veteran running back is still relatively young in age. At only 29 years of age, Mostert has plenty more left in him.
After only playing 8 games last season, Mostert still managed to put up 521 rushing yards with 2 TDs and 156 receiving yards, and 1 TD. If Mostert can stay healthy this season, expect his numbers to skyrocket, leaving him to sit in the top 10 running backs for 2021.
J.J. Watt - Arizona Cardinals
J.J. Watt has been one of the most dominant defensive ends in football since he entered the league. However, Watt's age and injury history are now starting to rear their ugly heads.
Watt has seen a dip in his production the past two seasons, not hitting over double-digit sack counts. After spending the entirety of his career with the Houston Texans, Watt is now with a new team: the Arizona Cardinals. Watt joins veteran Chandler Jones in what might be the league's most dominant DE duo if Watt can return to a bit of his former self.
Julio Jones - Tennesee Titans
In the same light as J.J. Watt, Julio Jones is heading to a new team after spending his entire career with the Atlanta Falcons. The Tennessee Titans welcomed Jones with open arms, adding a would-be deep threat to their receiving room.Also veteran Ryan Tannehill has seen his production increase year after year and now he will have the chance to throw to one of the best wide receivers in the game.
Jones may be getting up in age, but his numbers have not taken that deep a dive. Jones racked up 771 yards and 3 TDs last season with the Falcons. Expect the Titans and Tannehill to utilize Jones as a way to stretch the field, especially as a great pairing with A.J. Brown.
Zack Martin - Dallas Cowboys
Veteran Zack Martin has been a dominant offensive lineman for the past six seasons. All six of those seasons saw Martin make the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately for Martin, suffering an ankle injury led to only 10 games played in 2020, negating his 7th trip to the pro bowl. That won't keep the stalwart offensive guard from returning to proper form in the 2021 season.
Dak Prescott will need a lot of help so he doesn't suffer another season-ending injury. Martin will look to be the anchor and leading man when allowing the offensive line to gel.
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