Injuries happen and players sometimes put together a season they’re not always proud of in the National Football League.
But sometimes those down seasons, whether it’s due to missing time or just lack of production, are just a minor setback for a major comeback.
Here are five players poised to have a bounce-back season:
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey has never missed a game before the 2020 season, in which he was sidelined for all but three contests as he dealt with ankle and shoulder injuries. McCaffrey returns to health with a new quarterback in Sam Darnold, and it’s fair to believe his touches will jump right back to where they were before last season. After all, this is the same player who compiled almost 2,500 yards of offense during his third season in the league.
Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys workhorse running back missed quarterback Dak Prescott last season, and it showed. Opposing defenses were able to focus more on Elliot without Prescott behind center and the sixth-year running back turned the ball over a career-worst six times. He rushed for 65 yards per game, the worst of his career by nearly 20 yards per game. With Prescott back, and one of the league’s best receiving corps to draw some extra attention, Elliot could run rampant again this season.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
Beckham’s career has been filled with injuries having played just one 16-game season in the past four years. Still, it’s hard to count Beckham out of bouncing back given the potential of the Browns offense with running back Nick Chubb, fellow wideout Jarvis Landry and quarterback Baker Mayfield. In the five seasons Beckham played 12 or more games, he’s recorded 1,000 yards in each campaign with 74 catches or more.
Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans
Did anyone have a better offseason than Jones? The multi-time All-Pro wideout was able to put a bad situation behind him with the Atlanta Falcons and now joins a Tennessee offense which fits his physical style of play. Jones will now be opposite third-year wideout A.J. Brown with the league’s leading rusher Derrick Henry forcing teams to pick their poison.