Every year, teams have players that breakout by making huge improvements or exceeding expectations. Lamar Jackson’s 2019 MVP season was a breakout unlike any other and is the perfect example of what a “breakout player” is. It’s great to see players like this from your favorite team and around the league and is part of what makes the NFL great. Tons of Ravens broke out last season, including Ronnie Stanley, Mark Andrews, Matthew Judon, Marlon Humphrey and of course Lamar Jackson, Which makes it hard to predict who else could break out in 2020. There are a few players that I do think will breakout.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown: Hollywood is a popular breakout candidate among many and for good reason, but I’m more confident that he actually will. He’s created a lot of buzz with the offseason workouts he’s been posting on social media and has been putting in a crazy amount of work. He’s also bulked up to 180 pounds after previously coming into the league at 160. Another reason to believe he is going to breakout is the fact that he is going to be 100% healthy after playing with multiple screws in his foot which limited his speed and explosiveness. While already showing that he is a capable deep threat while playing on a serious injury, he should be even more dangerous this season as one of the most explosive players in the league with the Ravens passing game expanding.
Chuck Clark: After Tony Jefferson suffered a torn ACL against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Clark was thrown into the starting strong safety role next to Earl Thomas. Clark was steady, and was even more than just a band aid while also assuming the defensive play calling role. The former 6th round pick out of Virginia Tech will go into the season as the starting strong safety after receiving a 3 year extension this offseason, while still going under the radar of many NFL fans. I predict we see Clark show an improvement and look very comfortable in Wink Martindale’s defense as a versatile player that will play one high center field and as a sub package linebacker. Clark is one of the smartest players on the Ravens defense, and looks to have everyone where they’re supposed to be while making plays.
Tyus Bowser It’s almost becoming a meme at this point with Ravens edge rushers breaking out in their contract years. Pernell Mcphee, Za’darius Smith and Matthew Judon all had career seasons in years where their contracts expired, and went on to get paid good money the next year. This year is Tyus Bowser’s final year until his rookie contract expires, and has yet to break out after being a second round pick in 2017. He’s shown flashes here and there as an athletic versatile edge rusher but has to prove this year that he can be a legitimate starting caliber edge rusher. Theres a good opportunity to get playing time at the edge spot opposite of Matthew Judon, and if Bowser can develop his explosiveness off the edge, there’s no reason he can’t win it and break out as a very good edge rusher.
Jaylon Ferguson: If Bowser isn’t the one to break out, I think Ferguson is. Ferguson is also battling with Bowser and Pernell Mcphee for that #2 edge on the Ravens. Ferguson is a very different player from Bowser, in fact he has the complete opposite skill set. Ferguson lacks burst and bend off the edge, but is a powerful rusher with heavy hands that gets good pocket push. He showed consistent improvement all season throughout his rookie season and consistently saw more playing time with it. There’s a decent chance that he is called upon into a bigger role this year, and with Martindale scheming up pressure, I think there’s a chance we could see a Ferguson breakout in year 2.
Tavon Young: Tavon Young’s career has been hit hard by injuries up to this point. Young suffered a neck injury in the 2019 preseason that would sideline him for the entire season. However, he will be back in 2020, with Harbaugh saying “What I was told yesterday is that Tavon will be back for the first day of the offseason program and he’ll be rolling,” Young received a 3 year 25 million dollar extension last offseason, making him one of the highest paid slot corners in the league after a successful 2018 season. With great talent around him in the Ravens secondary with players like Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Earl Thomas, I expect Tavon to have a breakout year. Humphrey was asked to play a lot of slot corner last season to match up with certain receivers like Tyler Lockett who operates well from the slot, but Tavons quickness is more well suited for that role, while Humphrey will be able to use his length and physicality better on the outside. I believe Young will be a very good playmaker and have a great season as one of the top slot corners in the NFL in 2020.