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BRB Groupthink: Break Me Out

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Who do you think is going to break out next season?

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Football no longer exists now that the offseason is over. It’s like a relationship that has gone on for years, where the company is all that exists, everything has been said, there’s nothing to do, so it becomes madlib questions. Which quarterback in the league would be the best wide receiver? Which retired player would you want to have exist in the All-22 era? If a dragon was a dog then what would be a cat?

Despite the franchise botching this offseason, I wanted to think of something nice, something pleasant. So I asked the masthead which player do you expect to break out in 2019 and make the jump from interesting to good, or good to Pro Bowl, or Pro Bowl to All Pro?

Capt Ron:

One of the best areas to dig around in the roster in search of the player who will make a noticeable leap from last season to the upcoming 2019 season are the guys heading into their second or third year in the NFL.

With a surprisingly strong rookie campaign in 2018: 81 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 QB hit, 10 passes defended, and 3 interceptions with 1 returned 101 yards for a touchdown, safety Justin Reid should ascend significantly this year. I fully expect him to receive Pro Bowl or All Pro recognition if he maintains the expected development arc.

If he can avoid missing games due to injuries, Keke Coutee could also receive top honors as he was quite the highlight reel last year when he burst onto the scene setting a franchise record of 11 receptions for 109 yards in week 4 against the Colts, which is the most by any rookie receiver in their NFL debut since the NFL/AFL merger. He also broke DeAndre Hopkins’ franchise record by clawing in 18 receptions in his first three NFL games. With only a half dozen games of experience, he totaled 28 receptions for 287 yards and 1 touchdown. Let’s hope his hamstrings are up for more than six games in 2019!

Diehard Chris:

I have allowed myself to fall into the trap of thinking D’Onta Foreman is going to be a force (or at least very good) in the backfield. The way the Texans have talked about him this offseason, and reading about his own mental state and motivation - I’m on board. I almost feel as though the Texans altered their offseason plans at the RB position because of Foreman’s “come to Jesus” meetings both with himself and the one he reportedly had with Bill O’Brien to reassure coach that he’s fully-committed and is gonna kill it in 2019. Why else would they not bring in a free agent or draft a RB after what went down with that position last year? Undrafted RB Damarea Crockett certainly has some exciting potential, but grabbing an undrafted rookie is not a “plan” to address a significant positional need.

The other choice is probably a common one - minus injuries, I just don’t see a smart, energetic, and instinctual player like safety Justin Reid suddenly taking a step back. He tapered off a bit toward the end of last year as many rookies do. I expect Reid to have a good year in 2019 and be a potential Pro Bowl candidate. You know, the kind that can make the Pro Bowl BEFORE everyone starts dropping out of the game due to lack of interest.

Matt Burhnam:

To be honest, I am really high on Keke Coutee. I think it’s more so because DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are going to take most of the defensive attention. But in my mind I’m imagining multiple instances of Keke catching an 8-yard pass in open space than running for another 15.

His route running and army-swiss knife receiver abilities lead me to believe he can rack up 600-700 yards this year. If he stays healthy. We saw several flashes of it last season including the playoff massacre.

As he builds more chemistry with Watson and more trust with Brain, his stock will continue to rise.

That’s my guy. I’m going to be the captain of the Coutee Ship all year.

Matt Weston:

In the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft wide receivers Corey Coleman, Will Fuller V, Josh Doctson, and Laquon Treadwell were all selected. Coleman has somehow bounced his way around the league after broken hands, and dropped passes, ruined his time in Cleveland. Doctson and Treadwell are one hit wonders who can’t create separation, and can only jump over players and play jackpot along the sideline.

Will Fuller leads all four in yards and receptions, despite playing in only 31 of a possible 48 games. He can run really fast, so fast, that receivers play twelve yards off him in man and just hand over easy crossing routes. He learned how to catch the ball. When he’s healthy he’s been very good, especially when playing with Deshaun Watson, where all he does is catch touchdowns.

Fuller has the talent, skill, and ability to be a Pro Bowl alternate receiver in 2019. It just depends on his heath, torn ACL, hamstring, collarbone, have all broken his bird body, and whether or not Bill O’Brien allows Deshaun Watson to throw the ball downfield. Neither of these things may happen, but they should happen. The talent and short sample results have been so overwhelming, it’s hard to not expect for Fuller to have at least one spectacular season while in Houston.

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Bernardrick McKinney. I am absolutely convinced he is going to be one of the best LBs in the league at some point, and at 26, he’s reaching his prime. If we go back to blitzing him like we did in 2017, I think he could put up some pretty massive numbers.