Which Detroit Lions could have the biggest breakout season?
By Robert Jones
There are always possible players on any given team that could be in line for a breakout year. Whether it may be players that have been trending up and seem ready to take that big step or even sometimes rookies who far exceed their expectations despite whatever round they were drafted in or even signed as a free agent.
I will, however, be using two guidelines to make my selections of who will be the offensive and defensive breakout players for this coming season.
First is that the player can’t already be a star and second I am eliminating rookies from my personal equation. Again that doesn’t mean there aren’t rookies who can have a breakout year, but for the sake of this article, veterans will be the only eligible players.
Now some of you may say, ‘well the Lions don’t have many or even any stars’. Everyone is allowed to their opinion, but it is also what you categorize a star.
For instance, one of the easy choices for offensive breakout player is running back Kerryon Johnson. He’s an exciting young player that most consider a budding star, but not a star yet.
Here’s my point, last season if Johnson had been healthy all year he would have easily shattered 1,000 yards rushing, not to mention additional opportunities catching the ball out of the backfield and instead of being an impressive young player with potential, he would have been considered a rising star in the league.
While there are a few viable candidates on the Lions offense, my selection for offensive breakout player is … drum roll, please … Frank Ragnow.
Last year as a rookie, Ragnow was a starter pretty much from the moment he signed his contract and played very well overall for a rookie being thrown to the defensive wolves of the NFL.
But he’ll also be the first to tell you he still has a lot to learn and much progress to make. I believe that he will make a big jump in his second NFL season. Part of that has to do with the offseason switch back to center.
Now Matt Patricia could just have been doing offseason cross-training, but if this move is permanent, then the familiarity of moving back to the position he is most comfortable with, along with a year of experience under his belt, sets him up for a big breakout year. Which will help the offense out since against four-man fronts, it’s usually the center that is the ‘help’ man in most blocking schemes, he can help make whoever wins the starting job at left guard better.
A breakout player on the offensive line is always a good thing.