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Five potential breakout stars in 2020

Thinking about this list, the Los Angeles Rams have plenty of potential players that can step-up at any moment and make an impact on the 2020 season. In fact, this could easily be a “10 potential breakout stars” list, but who doesn’t like a good challenge? I will have an honorable mentions section since I’ve listed the five I feel are most likely to showcase their skills and breakout.

TE Tyler Higbee

So some of you might think, “hasn’t Higbee already proven himself?” Yes and no. Higbee has certainly improved over the seasons, and toward the end of the 2019 season, he was among the best TEs in the NFL. Don’t believe me? The last five weeks of the season, Higbee earned 522 yards. That’s an average of 104 yards a game. Those are great stats, but that’s a small sample size considering Higbee only earned 212 yards in the other nine games.

It’s not likely that Higbee will be able to maintain the 104-yard per game average, but if  he becomes one of Jared Goff’s top targets, he will be one of the better TEs in the league. Easily looking in the top 10 range.

CB Troy Hill

Wow, look at how far Hill has come. There was a time where Hill was considered a fringe roster casualty. I was one of the biggest advocates of cutting Hill. In my defense, Hill did struggle quite a bit in his first few seasons. Last season, we seen Hill step up in a major way. Hill picked up the slack when Marcus Peters was struggling and Aqib Talib was injured. Also, continued to become a presence felt when Jalen Ramsey came into the picture.

Two interceptions don’t seem like mind-blowing stats, but Hill did an excellent job in coverage and isn’t given enough credit for his tackling skills. Overall, we can expect Hill to continue to develop and become a dangerous threat alongside Ramsey. Factor in a terrifying defensive line and 2020 could be a big year for Hill.

S Taylor Rapp

Rapp’s rookie season went much better than many anticipated. There was no question that Rapp is talented and he would thrive eventually, but seeing him learn throughout the season was comforting. He was far from perfect in 2019, particularly in coverage. He did show some signs of improvement as the season went on. As a tackling machine, we can expect to see Rapp all over the field.

Rapp’s versatility is going to be highly coveted, especially with the uncertainty at inside linebacker. Expect Rapp’s numbers to increase with his multiple roles being even more valuable to the Rams defense.

OG David Edwards

Offensive line is one of the most difficult positions to learn in football. So it was nerve-wrecking with the thought of Edwards starting at guard. But, the injuries piled up and so the Rams risked starting Edwards. It’s not wise to expect perfection from a rookie, but Edwards did a solid job. Now that Edwards has some in-game experience and the offseason to prepare, he has the potential to breakout. It would be good news to Goff and the entire offense if his skills continue to develop.

WR Josh Reynolds

This one is a bit of a wild card because the addition of rookie Van Jefferson changes things a bit. While I don’t believe Jefferson will alter too much of the receiving corps this season, if he adapts quickly, Reynolds may be the forgotten man. That said, Reynolds’s potential increases each year, being this is his contract year, he might evolve even more.

One thing is certain, Reynolds has stepped up the past two seasons. The way the offense will likely be ran, Reynolds could be a key target in the red zone. While Goff likely won’t take too many shots downfield, we can expect Reynolds to get a few looks when he does. In other words, don’t sleep on Reynolds, he may surprise us.

Honorable Mentions:

ILB Micah Kiser

Kiser was expected to be the starter last season, but injuries didn’t allow that to happen. Since injuries have plagued Kiser’s career so far, I believe he will be hungry to prove his potential. He also has the advantage of playing on an under developed corps. Kiser might be a guy that will be talked about in 2020.

RB Darrell Henderson

Now that the shadow of Todd Gurley is gone from Los Angeles, Henderson has the opportunity to shine. It will be a running-back-by-committee though, so he will share some of the snaps with rookie Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown. Despite being in a committee, don’t be surprised if Sean McVay rolls more with the hot-hand. He essentially did that for C.J. Anderson when he arrived on the roster.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

You can follow Johnny Gomez on Twitter @Johnny5not6. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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