With the second half of the 2019 NFL regular season upon us, here’s a look at a dozen young players who look primed to break out between now and the end of December:
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen
The second-year top-10 pick stumbled out of the gate in 2019, but has come around the last four weeks. He’s thrown seven touchdown passes to just one interception during that span. The Bills made a lot of offensive changes in the offseason, and it’s possible Allen is beginning to get comfortable with that revamped supporting cast.
Bills RB Devin Singletary
The third-round rookie averaged 8.6 yards per carry in September and October, but was largely ignored. But now he’s starting to get more work, as the Bills seem to realize they have something special. Singletary amassed 140 yards on 23 touches in last week’s victory over the Washington Redskins. He should benefit from Allen’s progress, and Allen should benefit from his.
Oakland Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow
The rookie fifth-round pick has had to fight for opportunities in the Oakland offense, but now he’s really emerging. Entering Thursday night, Renfrow had 10 catches, 142 yards, and a pair of touchdowns in his previous two outings.
Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant
The enticing first-round rookie failed to hit the 40-yard mark in each of his first eight games, but Fant scored a 75-yard touchdown, and caught two more passes of 24 and 16 yards in a breakout performance last week against the Cleveland Browns. If he’s got good chemistry with new Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen, he could take off in the second half of the season.
Houston Texans OT Tytus Howard
The first-round rookie came back from a knee injury and absolutely dominated a talented Jacksonville Jaguars defensive front in Week 9. He’s already improved immensely in all disciplines and should stay on that trajectory.
Washington Redskins C Chase Roullier
A knee injury also cost Roullier some time earlier this season, but the third-year sixth-round pick has really stepped up his game since returning. He might never become a superstar, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him and he’s been a bright spot for a team that has gone through hell.
Jacksonville Jaguars DT Taven Bryan
The 2018 first-round pick was rather quiet as a rookie and hasn’t had any monster games yet this year, but he’s been making steady progress all year, particularly as a pass rusher. You get the feeling he’s about to explode. He’s certainly got the support in that Jacksonville defense.
Tennessee Titans LB Harold Landry III
Like Bryan, Landry was somewhat limited as a rookie, but the second-year second-round pick has played a significant role as a disruptive force up front in recent weeks. Landry has five sacks and six quarterback hits in his last six outings.
New York Giants LB Lorenzo Carter
The 2018 third-round pick flashed at times as a rookie, but after a slow September he exploded in October this fall. The 23-year-old was a wrecking ball against the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Watch for his sack numbers to shoot up soon.
Kansas City Chiefs CB Charvarius Ward
The undrafted second-year cover man has been a complete shutdown artist the last two weeks against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, which could be a sign that he’s becoming something special at age 23. Interceptions should come soon.
Oakland Raider CB Trayvon Mullen
The rookie second-round pick made a statement when he went toe-to-toe with DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills two weeks ago against the Houston Texans. And then a week later he surrendered zero catches in coverage and made seven tackles against the Lions. He looks ready to take off.
Los Angeles Rams S Taylor Rapp
In his second career start last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, the second-round rookie shined with 12 tackles and solid coverage. He’s got an opportunity with starter John Johnson III out with a shoulder injury, and it looks like he’s ready to take advantage.
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