Injuries to stars across the NFL hurt the product in 2020. Fortunately, those stars are healthy and will look to bounce back this year. The Comeback Player of the Year award will have more candidates this year than ever.
Both sides of the ball are represented, which shows how good of a spot the league is in. These are the top five NFL stars coming back from a major injury this year.
5 big names coming back from a major injury in the 2021 NFL season
#1 - Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott was the MVP after the first quarter of last season, so yeah, he was a big miss. Prescott had an absurd 1,856 passing yards while completing 68.0 percent of throws. He's the key to the Dallas Cowboys' Super Bowl aspirations in 2021.
His injury will leave some impact, and he may not truly be 100 percent this year. But a healthy Prescott is one of the brightest stars in the NFL. He has a healthy offensive line again, not to mention Ezekiel Elliott, who looks in shape and motivated.
If he continues the chemistry he showed with CeeDee Lamb last season, Prescott will be hard to stop in the 2021 NFL season.
#2 - Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley is still on a different timetable than the rest of the stars on the list. Barkley is a must-watch running back due to his home-run playing ability and nightmarish athleticism. Now entering year four, Barkley will look to show he can still be who he was in 2018.
Barkley is a do-it-all talent with a phenomenal cutting ability to complement his big plays. He caught 91 catches in his rookie NFL year, showing he's a dual-threat.
The New York Giants need some juice to get fans excited. Barkley's return will provide just that, even if he may not be fully ready for Week 1.
#3 - Derwin James
Like Barkley, Derwin James was in the spotlight as one of the NFL's rising stars after his rookie year. James played like Troy Polamalu by intimidating at the line of scrimmage. He was quick, athletic, and smart enough to then drop back into coverage and make a play.
James hasn't played since five games into 2019. Time will tell if he's the same player he was, since the Los Angeles Chargers didn't play him in the preseason.
That said, no safety in the NFL captains their defense like James. He'll be one of the brightest stars on the defensive side of the ball if he's even 80 percent of what he used to be.
#4 - Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey played only three games in 2020, yet, he accounted for 17 receptions and a touchdown. He had five touchdowns on the ground. McCaffrey's 2019 season was his showcase as to why he's one of the best players in the NFL.
Even this year's Top 100 NFL Players List had him ranked despite him missing 13 games. Defenses fear him because he's incredibly strong and tough to tackle, despite not having the most size at 5'11". There isn't a better dual-threat back in the game, which is why McCaffrey is one of the biggest stars to watch.
#5 - Nick Bosa
Nick Bosa had 80 quarterback pressures in his rookie NFL season, according to Pro Football Focus. He had ten sacks and was every bit the generational pass rusher he was hyped up to be. When Bosa is disrupting play after play, he's a delight to watch. Not many stars on defense are as noticeable as him due to how busy he is.
He's overpowering, but at the same time athletic enough to blow through slower tackles. In the running game, Bosa was just as strong, able to shed blocks and make secure tackles.
The San Fransisco 49ers want to be contenders in 2021 after injuries dismantled their 2020. With Bosa setting the tone week in and week out, the 49ers are on the right path towards contention.