NFL 2022: Trey Lance of the 49ers, Javonte Williams of the Broncos and other second-year players ready for the successful season

If an NFL player doesn’t show something, nothing, by Year 2, there’s a problem. Specifically if that player was a selection at the start of the round. And patience runs out now because, nowadays, the stars emerge in their second season, if they didn’t already in year 1.

These are the second-year pros poised to emerge in 2022. I have not included those that I felt have already emerged as stars as rookies, such as Ja’Marr Chase, Micah Parsons, Jaylen Waddle and Kyle Pitts.

I am forced to start with a layup. I have to. Trey Lance is the most gifted quarterback Kyle Shanahan has ever coached, especially during his stint as head coach. From his engineered running skills to his monstrous arm talent, Lance fits perfectly into the mold of the modern-day franchise quarterback. That’s not to say he’s still a franchise passerby, but he ticks the physical boxes for what it takes to become one.

Speaking of Shanahan, his track record with (minor) quarterbacks is sterling. The game designs, the game calls, a pattern that accentuates YAC’s talent, Shanahan * always * deploys a highly efficient passerby. As for the YAC talent around Lance, yes, that’s incredible. Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk. Heck, even Jauan Jennings is an open field paddock load.

Lance is ready for a Year 2 monster, although all mechanical and precision knots are resolved along the way.

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Jaelan Phillips comfortably had 39 pressures out of 402 rookie pass sprints, good for a reasonable 10.9% pressure creation rate. It’s a specimen that swung at Miami Pro Day in 2021, so there’s plenty of size and athleticism to accentuate. Furthermore, the arsenal of pass-rush moves is far from sterile. The Dolphins re-signed veteran Emmanuel Ogbah this off-season, so Phillips won’t have to be the alpha rusher immediately in Year 2.

Situationally, the Dolphins are expected to be better than they were during the roller coaster of a 2021 season that featured a seven-game losing streak and a winning streak of the same length, thus giving Phillips more opportunities to run the passer-by.

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As a rookie, Javonte Williams played a lot like he did in North Carolina: through the faces of the tacklers. He averages 3.42 yards after contact per run, the 10th highest figure in football among defenders, and has forced an astronomical 63 missed tackles out of 203 attempts. Only Jonathan Taylor forced more during the regular season.

He has Melvin Gordon contend in the backfield, but we don’t consider it negative. Williams is absolutely capable of handling a “full” workload, but if he is not immediately thrown into a classic backstage role and his carries are somewhat limited to every game, it will lead to a fresher Williams later in the season. .

And I can’t overstate how vital Russell Wilson’s presence will be to the running game. The running game? Yes. Those extra defenders will be removed from the area much more frequently than they were a season ago. Williams will rise to “elite back” status in 2022.

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JOKer was an animal last season for the Browns, but hardly got any hype for defensive rookie of the year. The ultra-smooth and incredibly athletic second tier defender was built for today’s NFL. He lives in space, where many linebackers are uncomfortable.

Out of just under 54% of defensive snaps, Owusu-Koramoah recorded 76 tackles, four interrupted passes, three lost tackles and 1.5 sacks. And he’s playing behind a solid defensive front that not only signed back to skilled defender Jadeveon Clowney, but added two bodies in the project’s middle round in Perrion Winfrey and Alex Wright.

By the end of the year in 2022, we will consider Owusu-Koramoah the best young pure off-the-ball linebacker in the game. He is so special.

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Josh Palmer is both talented and offensive with an extremely gifted quarterback. After a somewhat slow but not entirely surprising start for a rookie third-round receiver, Palmer was more involved at the end of the year. In weeks 14, 16 and 18, he averaged more than seven targets per game and scored 14 total tricks with 154 total receiving yards. Palmer also scored a touchdown in each of those games.

A chippy, battle-through-contact type with deceptively good ball skills and course sharpness, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder is set to become the # 1 option. 3 for Justin Herbert, and there’s no Jared Cook, who saw 83 goals a season ago.

Palmer is simply a complete wideout who may not be spectacular in any area, but he can win at all three levels while providing some juice after the catch and reliable hands (just a drop to 45 targets last season). He will be one of the best receivers No. 3 in football in 2022.

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As a draft analyst, I’m always looking for traits. And Ernest Jones exudes them. He is incredibly explosive at around 6-130lbs. What he shows in the field corresponds to his combine, a vertical in the 88th percentile and a wide one in the 90th percentile in his position.

As a rookie, the high-energy second-tier defender had 61 tackles, four interrupted passes and two interceptions on less than 38% of defensive snaps during the regular season. Injuries sidelined him for the first two playoff games, but at the Super Bowl Jones was back at 100% and played nearly 100% of the snaps (93% to be exact). He was a force in the Los Angeles title win, with seven tackles, three quarterback wins, two tackles per loss and one pass break.

And now, Jones is drawn as a starter alongside … Bobby Wagner, a future Hall of Famer who, yes, has lost a step, but remains arguably the best linebacker in the NFL and is rarely out of position. Jones will be like a sponge he learns from Wagner, which will help trigger a sizable Year 2 breakout.

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After nearly an entire rookie season spent on the training team, the Bears finally took The Practice Squad Power Rankings’ advice ahead of the week 15 game against Justin Jefferson and the Vikings and elevated Thomas Graham Jr. the most glorious release in the history of PSPR.

Graham had seven tackles and three pass breaks, all of the top reel variety, on his NFL debut.

Remember, this is a defender who has logged eight picks and 32 pass breaks in three seasons in Oregon. If you’re so consistently productive on the corner in three years of college, you know how to play the position. Throw your height / weight / speed metrics out the window. I’m serious. However, with Graham, his traits also stand out. He plays with the aggressiveness necessary to be a smaller corner that lives on the perimeter. He never backs down from a challenge on the pitch and has a phenomenal instinct in zone coverage that helps him play faster than any combo drill would indicate.

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