One Breakout Player From Each NFL Team; AFC North
Onto the AFC North.
Yesterday we looked at some breakout guys from the AFC East, now today we’re making our way down the list to the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman Bradley Bozeman: Baltimore beefed up their offensive line with additions of Ben Cleveland, Kevin Zeitler, and Alejandro Villanueva but the guy who’s going to really breakout is Bradley Bozeman.
The Alabama alumni has had some struggles since entering the league in 2018 so 2021 will be a make or break season. He’s gone between guard and center and it looks like he’ll get the nod at center for this year. Coach Harbaugh said a few weeks ago that Bozeman is expected to start in the middle.
I believe that at 6’5, 325 pounds, Bozeman will allow one sack but he’ll make the biggest impact in the run game paving the way for Lamar and Dobbins.
Cincinnati Bengals Edge Rusher Trey Hendrickson: The new kid in Cincinnati is Trey Hendrickson and I think that he will blow up this season and rank top five in the NFL in sacks. The 26 year old Florida Atlantic alum, played with the Saints from 2017 to 2020. Last season he racked up 13.5 sacks which was tied for second in the whole league.
The Bengals pass rush was very poor last season so they went out and got Hendrickson, Reader, and Ogunjobi to help that issue. With the being said, Hendrickson benefits from Reader and Ogunjobi being signed because he’ll be able to face more one on one protection.
I predict that Hendrickson will have big games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore because their offensive tackles are a bit weaker. I think he’ll record 17.5 sacks next season and elevate the Bengals defense.
Cleveland Browns Tight End Harrison Bryant: Last season Harrison Bryant was drafted and projected to be tight end number three on the roster but with David Njoku’s poor play recently, Bryant will step up and play second fiddle to Austin Hooper.
In fifteen games last year, Bryant reeled in 24 grabs for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now with Njoku getting bumped to third, Bryant will have more opportunities in single coverage. The teams the Cleveland plays will focus on Hooper, Odell, and Landry so Henry will work against slower linebackers and smaller safeties.
With Bryant having more exposure, I predict that he’ll catch 49 balls for 580 yards and 6 touchdowns. I think he’ll make a big impact in the run as well as a wing/ H-back.
Pittsburgh Steelers Edge Rusher Alex Highsmith: Out of all the guys I have listed from the AFC East and AFC North, I think that Highsmith is most primed to breakout. Highsmith will benefit from Bud Dupree heading south to the Titans and take over in his outside linebacker slot.
T.J. Watt is arguably the leagues best edge rusher so being on the opposite side of him will be a huge help. As a rookie last season, Highsmith played in all 16 games and racked up 2 sacks, 48 tackles, and 1 interception.
His big games will come against Cincinnati and Baltimore who have weaker tackles. I predict that Highsmith with record 9 sacks, 62 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles. We could see the rise of the leagues best pass rushing duo that will be around for years to come.