By Jack Hamrick
Last year’s NFL season was filled with great, young talent. The youth that the NFL shows us now is a more fun and fast-paced game, drawing in more viewers than ever before, especially from the United Kingdom. The rookies put on quite a show for us football fans last year, but who can keep it going for their second year?
The New Orleans Saints had a bevy of young talent, including the Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara, respectively. The new-look Saints, who finally found a defense, are one of my “way too early” favorites to be crowned the next Super Bowl Champs. We saw Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs start the season off with seven-straight 100 yard games from scrimmage, something football hasn’t seen since Eric Dickerson. All three of these stars should continue their performance in year two, and might even come back better.
Although Carolina running back/receiver Christian McCaffrey had a fairly decent season with the Panthers, don’t look for this to be a reoccurring theme. Although the Panthers had a top 5 offense last season, their backfield is filled with impeccable talent, most of which I believe are better than McCaffrey. Curtis Samuel, who is essentially a more athletic McCaffrey, should start to see more and more playing time. The all so reliable Jonathan Stewart is (still) on the roster, and young Cameron Artis-Payne is knocking at the door. The Panthers will have no offensive troubles, but McCaffrey will really have to battle it out for playing time.
Reuben Foster of the San Francisco 49ers could have been a vital piece to the Niners defense, but was just charged with three felonies. Sadly, this isn’t Foster’s first run-in with the law, as he had domestic abuse charges against him back when he was in college at Alabama.
The NFL last season was just bursting with talented rookies, a lot of which show promise to continue that trend in year two and more and more to come. The rookies from last season showed signs of becoming stars down the road. I’m excited to see who turns into big time players, as well as who will turn out to be a one hit wonder.