3 Second-Year/Rookie Players to Take a Huge Leap Post-NFL Draft

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars / Sam Greenwood/GettyImages

The NFL Draft is over and done with and we now have a much better idea of what each team is going to look like come Week 1. As is the case every year during the offseason, some teams got better, some worse, and others laid stagnant. 

But I want to take a look back at the 2021 NFL Draft class and see if any names jump off the page as candidates for a breakout sophomore season. Let’s take a look at three of those names. 

Trevor Lawrence QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

This feels like the most obvious choice just because of how much raw talent Lawrence possesses. On top of that, the Jaguars did a great job bringing in guys to put Lawrence in a better position to succeed. They brought in WRs Christian Kirk and Zay Jones along with TE Evan Engram from the Giants. 

Lawrence was a massive disappointment after being hailed as the next Petyon Manning coming into his rookie year. While the Jags had a decent team, the circus that surrounded the team thanks to Urban Meyer disrupted this entire team. 

With those distractions removed and some fresh faces on the roster, we might finally see what Trevor Lawrence can do with a football in his hands. 

Zach Wilson QB, New York Jets

Wilson has one clear advantage when it comes to breaking out in 2022. He set a really low bar in his rookie year. With 2,334 yards passing, nine touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, it’s clear that things could have gone better for the rookie out of BYU. It is worth noting that Wilson added four touchdowns on the ground with 185 yards rushing. 

Also worth noting is that he was hobbled by a lingering knee issue that caused him to miss a month in the middle of the season. But Wilson bounced back and placed decently down the stretch. This rebound as a rookie gives me hope for him in 2022. 

Another thing that gives me hope is the one-two combo the Jets have in the passing game after drafting Garrett Wilson with the No. 10 pick. Wilson, along with Elijah Moore, could grow into one of the best WR duos in all of football. Or course, it's the Jets. So the train is always close to flying off the rails. But I’m willing to bet that Wilson and Co. put together a strong 2022 season. 

Elijah Moore WR, New York Jets

Yes, I have two members of the New York Jets on this list. And no, I am not a wishful thinking fanboy for Gang Green. It’s hard for me to even write this, but the Jets' offense could be really good in 2022. Like really good. The addition of G. Wilson will give Moore some extra room to work and allow Wilson more options downfield. While Wilson will cut into Moore’s targets, the balls he does see will be of better quality.  

Moore finished 2021 with 538 yards on 43 receptions with five touchdowns. He only played in 11 games though and looked very good after a slow start. Moore didn’t catch a TD pass until Nov. 14. But, he caught two in that game. He went on to score in three of the Jets' next four games. He then suffered a quad injury and was subsequently shut down for the year. 

Look for him and Wilson to pick up where they left off last year with the added benefit of G. Wilson in the mix.