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Second and third-year NFL players ready to break out in 2019

ANALYST

#6 Courtland Sutton

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Before the 2018 season started people looked at the Broncos’ duo of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas still as one of the best in the league, but I thought Thomas was already on the way down, which manifested itself in a disappointing year marked by injuries and ultimately being traded to Houston. However, I thought Denver was on their way to an upgrade when they drafted my third-highest graded receiver in SMU’s Courtland Sutton in the second round.

That kid is a big-bodied, fast wideout with an aggressive mindset with the ball in his hands and as a blocker. While he did start the season as WR3, Sutton quickly earned the respect of the coaching staff and Thomas was sent to the Texans at the trade deadline to give the rookie more opportunities.

Overall he caught 42 passes for over 700 yards and four touchdowns, drastically improving his catch rate over the second half of the season. While his role will certainly increase and the team will expect more from him, I believe with more designed plays for him and Joe Flacco under center he could really shine. Even if Joe Flacco isn’t a major upgrade over Case Keenum, you can see what he has done with big-bodied receivers in the past, such as Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree for a shorter period.

I could see Sutton crack 1200 yards and possibly double-digit touchdowns, depending on how much they will target rookie tight-end Noah Fant in the red-zone. Moreover, I think DaeSean Hamilton will also take a step forward in his second year in the league, primarily playing in the slot. This should be a run-centric offense to complement what still could be a very strong defense, but there are definitely opportunities for play-action and deep shots, with Sutton as the prototype outside receiver.

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Edited by Raunak J
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