We see it every season: players break out and turn into Pro Bowl players who put up massive numbers.
It’s no secret that passing in the NFL has taken over the game. Wide receivers mean more to an offense than arguably any position not named quarterback.
Let’s look at some breakout wide receivers this season.
Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
Randall Cobb had 80 catches for 954 yards and eight touchdowns last year, but with no Greg Jennings, Cobb is set to explode in 2013.
Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the league. He has made a name out of Jordy Nelson. The offense Green Bay runs is set up perfectly for Rodgers and the wide receivers to excel.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said this about Cobb:
“Last year was really the year we tried to tailor some things to him, and he responded in an excellent way. That will be like that this year,” McCarthy said. “He’s a very good football player, and I think he’s going to be an excellent player for us for a long time.”
The coach likes him. Rodgers likes him. Cobb, if he can stay healthy, is ready for a monster season in an offense that needs him to step up and be a priority receiver with Greg Jennings in Minnesota.
Expect quality numbers for Cobb.
Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens
Anquan Boldin is no more. Half of the Ravens’ roster is no more. Joe Flacco has his Super Bowl. Ray Rice is another year older.
Who is going to be the threat on the offensive side of the ball? We saw great flashes of Torrey Smith last season at Baltimore and now that he’s the likely No. 1 receiver, he’s going to need to step up to the plate in an even bigger way.
Smith has hovered around the 50 receptions, 850 yards and seven-to-eight touchdown in his first two seasons.
Historically, the third year for receivers is the breakout campaign.
Smith will break out in his third season.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
Alshon Jeffery played in only 10 games recording 24 receptions, 367 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL season.
Alshon Jeffery was deemed a guy who couldn’t create space for himself coming out of college. Alshon Jeffery couldn’t get off the line of scrimmage against press coverage.
Alshon Jeffery is about to break out in a BIG way.
Brandon Marshall says this about Jeffery, according to NFL.com:
“He was softer last year, much softer,” Marshall said. “Now he’s strong. He’s a beast.
“He’s like a sponge,” Marshall said. “I say, ‘Hey bro, this is how you take care of your body.’ So he’s eating right. Got a chef. Seeing a chiropractor. Getting massages. Studying film. Working out hard. I can’t say enough about what he put in.”
Marshall believes great things are in this kid’s future and I think he’s right. With Jay Cutler at the helm, with a hopefully improved offensive line and a new system, offense will be a major key to the Bears success this season.
Jeffery will be that No. 2 target Cutler needs, and Marshall will continue to take up double teams and the focus of the defense, leaving the former Gamecock in one-on-one situations.
Expect Jeffery to triple or even quadruple his numbers this season.