One Breakout Player From Each NFL Team; NFC North
Time for the black and blue division.
I’ve been busy the past few days but I’m back to finish this series up. Today we’ll look at breakout players from the NFC North.
Chicago Bears Tight End Cole Kmet: Kmet had a pretty solid rookie campaign last season as he reeled in 31 balls for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns but, this season I predict will be massive for the Notre Dame alumni.
Kmet is still set to back Jimmy Graham up but I think by week nine of this year, he’ll move into the starting slot. His blocking skills are ten times better than Graham and he’ll be super effective as a wing, H-Back, and tight end. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and doesn’t fear any player that gets in his way.
I predict that next season Kmet will catch 52 balls on 76 targets and go for 570 yards and 7 touchdowns. He’ll be a huge weapon for Dalton and Fields along the goal line and be instrumental in the run game as a lead blocker.
Detroit Lions Edge Rusher Romeo Okwara: Okwara and Kmet are both Notre Dame alumni just years a part. Okwara has been in the NFL for six seasons and as he heads into his seventh season, I think the coaching change will benefit him.
Last season was Okwaras best season as he tallied 10 sacks, 44 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles. While some players begin to decline when they head into year seven, Owkara seems as if he’s only getting better. He is a mismatch nightmare at six foot four and has elite quickness. I think Okwara will be up in the top ten in sacks this season.
I think that Okwara will go for 13 sacks, 64 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles. Watch out for this mean pass rusher to make the Pro Bowl.
Green Bay Packers Running Back A.J. Dillon: You may be thinking “Isn’t Aaron Jones the number one back for the Packers?”. Yes he is. But, Dillon still got 55 carries in 13 games last year and it will only increase this season.
Last season Dillon rushed for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. I think that he’ll be on a 65% to 35% carry rate at the beginning of the season and eventually move to 60% to 40% by the end of the year. He is more powerful than Jones and will be a useful weapon from fifteen yards and in.
Dillon will be a Mike Tolbert esque player this season, a goal line leach. I think he’ll tally 515 yards with 9 touchdowns, 7 of them coming inside the ten yard line. He has tree trunks for legs and is impossible to tackle so good luck to any defense that has to meet Dillon in the hole at the seven yard line.
Minnesota Vikings Tight End Irv Smith Jr.: As a Vikings fan, I’m fired up to see what Irv Smith does now that he is the number one tight end on the Vikings roster. Kyle Rudolph signed with the Giants and leaves Smith to take over.
Last season, Smith went for 365 yards and 5 touchdowns on 30 catches in 13 games. He plays very similar to Evan Engram, fast and athletic but has way better hands. He’ll see single coverage from linebackers this season as many teams will key on Jefferson and Thielen.
I think that Smith will catch 62 balls and go for 640 yards and 7 touchdowns. Kirk Cousins loves throwing to tight ends on play action so Smith will see a lot more passes thrown his way.