Generally, a player’s second or third season is when you get to see flashes of their true potential. Each of these three players are day two guys who were dubbed as “high ceiling players”. With their rookie seasons under their belts, it is time to see what these young men are made of. Here are three under the radar sophomores who could have a big 2021 NFL season.
IDL Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens
Round 3, Pick 71
During the 2020 pre-draft process, I remember being infatuated with Madubuike. The former Texas A&M Aggie showed great pass rush upside and supreme athleticism for a lineman during his three year college career. I loved the fit with the Ravens from the second they picked him and he gets to learn from Calais Campbell who had a similar profile coming out of college. After an under whelming rookie year we should see a big step from Madubuike. The Ravens are in need of a serious pass rush threat now that Matt Judon has departed and with this young core of Odafe Oweh, Jaylon Ferguson, and Tyus Bowser off the edge, Wink Martindale will rely heavily on his front three to create pressure.
Projected 2021 Stat Line: 15 games player/48 TOTAL/37 SOLO/6 Sacks/8 TFL
SS Brandon Jones, Miami Dolphins
Round 3, Pick 70
I always felt like Brandon Jones wasn’t getting enough attention especially last year. During his time as a Texas Longhorn he showed that he can be a reliable tackler who will make the occasional play on the ball. Once drafted by the Miami Dolphins, I knew Brian Flores would get the most out of him. As a rookie he posted 62 total tackles which is above average but what really makes that stat ridiculous is the fact that he only played 1/3 the amount of snaps as starting safeties Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe. I expect 2021 second round pick Jevon Holland to be a rangy ball hawk early in his career and now that Bobby McCain is gone, Jones can start at strong safety and can play down in the box with Holland covering deep responsibilities.
Projected 2021 Stat Line: 17 games played/101 TOTAL/72 SOLO/1 Sack/6 TFL/6 Passes Defended/1 Interception
WR Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders
Round 3, Pick 81
I am the chairman, CEO, and founder of the Bryan Edwards fan club. He played extremely well in the SEC while showing great body control, hands, and route running abilities. Henry Ruggs III, John Brown, and Hunter Renfrow will work to stretch the field which leaves Edwards to be the short-intermediate possession receiver. I expect Edwards to take a big step in this offense and to act as a safety net opposite Darren Waller.
Projected 2021 Stat Line: 17 games played/65 receptions/88 targets/897 receiving yards/13.8 YPC/7 receiving touchdowns