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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

5 NFL breakout players of 2019

Sometimes, NFL players come out of nowhere to have successful seasons. In other cases, one might see it coming. Either way, the NFL breeds new stars every year, and they’re not just the top draft picks or highly-touted young talents. Sometimes, guys who were on the backburner or off the radar step up and turn into quality players.

Here are five breakout players so far in the 2019 NFL season.

5. Marlon Mack, RB, Colts

All the ingredients were in place for a Mack breakout before the season, so this one doesn’t come as a huge shock. Still, he’s been particularly invaluable to the Colts after Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement, and at times has carried the offense. He burst onto the scene with 174 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Chargers, and his 132 rushing yards were instrumental as the Colts took down Kansas City. Mack is on pace to push for 1,500 rushing yards in 2019.

4. Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins

Given the offensive struggles on Washington’s part this year, it seemed pretty unlikely that anyone would break out for them on that side of the ball. Enter McLaurin, a third-round rookie who has managed to become one of the NFL’s leading receivers in spite of inconsistent quarterback play and modest talent around him. Scary Terry had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season on Sunday, is on pace for well over 1,000 yards, and has scored in four of five games this year. Not bad for a first-year player at all.

3. Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

Chubb has quickly emerged as one of the NFL’s finest lead backs. After falling just shy of 1,000 yards as a rookie, he looks a sure bet to get there and well beyond this season as long as he doesn’t get hurt or see his workload significantly reduced by Kareem Hunt’s eventual return. Chubb’s worst game of the season has been 62 yards on 18 carries, which is perfectly respectable, and he’s one of the few Cleveland offensive cogs to actually work properly in 2019.

2. Shaq Barrett, LB, Buccaneers

Barrett signed a modest one-year deal with Tampa Bay before the season and promptly emerged as the NFL’s sack leader through six games. After never posting more than 5.5 sacks in a season, Barrett already has nine for Tampa Bay in 2019, including four in one game against the New York Giants. Barrett has turned into a quality pass rusher that teams have to gameplan for. The numbers bear that out, and life in Tampa seems to be treating him very well.

1. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars

Nobody has done more to take the NFL by storm than Minshew, who wasn’t even supposed to play until Nick Foles suffered a Week 1 injury. The rookie won back-to-back starts against Tennessee and Denver, looking like a capable NFL quarterback in the process. In six games, he’s put up a respectable nine touchdowns to only two interceptions, and would actually be on pace to push for 4,000 passing yards over a full season if given the chance. He’s captivated a lot of people, and it helps that he’s really quite meme-able.

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