Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Every year in football there are guys who were under the radar, but breakout for their teams. I decided to make another top 5 list, this time comprising of 5 players that I think can “breakout” for the breakers in 2023. There were different factors that went into each player. Lets get into the list!
Coming in at Number 5: Marquis McClain
He was a 2022 Draft Prospect. He is fresh out of college with very good size at 6’3 and 215 pounds. He’s shifty with the ball in his hands and ran a lot of jet sweeps at Southern which means he is versatile. HE has very solid hands and good with jump balls. I think if he takes some of the outside WR reps from Poindexter and Morris, he could thrive. There’s a lot of talent with Marquis, he just needs the reps, and I think he will get them.
Coming in at number 4: Nigel Chavis
There are many things that factor into this one: he’s played for us, been in our system, has shown improvement at LB, and we’re very thin at LB. They rotate most of our defense, but LB seemed to rotate the least. I think the linebacker group will begin to rotate more with Nigel getting in there. He was top 5 in tackles on our team, with a lot of those coming from special teams. I think he moves up to 4 or even 3 after this season, with most of those tackles coming from the LB spot on defense.
Coming in at number 3: Anthony Jones
Yes I know he played a lot of snaps, and kind of broke out, but if he gets to play a full season I think he can be all USFL. This guy is a complete back in my opinion, he averaged 3.8 YPC, which doesn’t sound crazy, but Jordan Ellis led the league in yards and averaged 4 YPC. If Ant got the same amount of Carries, he could’ve led the league in rushing yards. The biggest difference is, Ant is really good in the pass game. He catches screens, makes people miss, and reads his blocks really well. We saw him take a few slip screens 30+ yards for TD’s. He’s very dynamic and has a good balance for being a power back. He is also a “make you miss” kind of back. With a full season of high volume carries and pass catching, Anthony could be all USFL and take the league by storm solidifying us as the best backfield in the league.
Coming in at number 2: Keith Washington
Keith played a good amount of snaps last season for the Breakers, but with Ike Brown likely sticking on the Raiders roster, someone has to step up as our true Number one corner. I think Keith will fill that void. He was one of our top corners last season, giving up Zero catches in Press Man coverage, and was pretty solid in run defense when necessary. The only knock on Keith is that he can sometimes get carried away with trying to get into the head of Receivers, which cost him a game. In my opinion, the Good outweighs the Bad with Keith, and I truly believe he will solidify himself as our true lockdown Cornerback going into 2023.
Coming in at number 1: Justin Johnson
Our offense relies on the TE for many reasons: blocking, key 3rd downs, finding holes in the middle of the defense, and being a reliable target. With Sal Cannella likely to stick in the NFL, we will need someone to step up and take on the production lost. I’m not saying Justin will be the best TE in the USFL (like Sal), but he’s a very capable TE, who I think will fill in Nicely for Cannella. I look for him to be the guy to step up for us at TE.
Join me in the official USFL Discord and let me know your thoughts on my thoughts! Do you think there are more players who are due for a breakout season?