News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

Five under-the-radar NFL players entering Year 2 who could break out

It’s not difficult to foresee a player like Quinnen Williams or Marquise Brown taking a step forward and flourishing in Year 2. That’s merely how the learning curve often works in the NFL for top prospects. It’s the guys who weren’t even shoe-ins to make a roster last season, let alone to start early on in their career, that I’m more interested in. These are five players drafted in the fifth round or later in 2019 who have drawn rave reviews in training camp and could be in line for a breakout season.

WR Olabisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings

First-round draft status is often a golden ticket to a starting job out of the gate in the NFL — especially when there’s no established starter at the position. That hasn’t been the case this fall for Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The Vikings released their first unofficial depth chart this week, and it’s 2019 seventh-round pick Olabisi Johnson who is listed as the starter alongside Adam Thielen. That’s good news for Johnson’s prospects going forward, especially considering the Vikings run a good deal of 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends, two receivers).

Filling in for Thielen last season, Johnson was wholly unspectacular. His 1.03 yards per route ranked 90th out of 101 qualifying receivers. He was hardly targeted, seeing 41 looks on 340 pass plays. If he’s done enough to hold off Jefferson, though, he could be the second fiddle in the Vikings' offense.

That’s nothing new for Johnson, as he ceded targets to the likes of Preston Williams and Michael Gallup as an ancillary option at Colorado State. In his final year of college, Johnson caught only 54 of 75 targets for 796 yards and four scores. Still, he had quality all-around athletic testing and an NFL-ready body type at 6-foot, 204 pounds.

S Jalen Thompson, Arizona Cardinals

Subscribe to PFF Edge to continue reading

Already have a subscription? Sign In

NFL Featured Tools

  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data.

    Available with

    Elite
  • PFFELO Ratings are PFF’s NFL power rankings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

    Edge
  • 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2021 draft class.

    Available with

    Edge
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr