No, Uncle Phil. It’s not that kind of breakout. It’s not even the kind of breakout you get on your face. This is the breakout that NFL players have when they turn into NFL stars, or, at the very least, great starters for years to come.
We’re 48 days away from preseason kickoff. Then we can get a glimpse of who will take a big step in their careers. But camp is right around the corner, and camp is another place where a player can make a name for themselves.
Camp will give Lions fans their second idea on who might breakout in 2017. Today, I plan to give you your first. After extensively looking over the roster and taking a break to design the flux capacitor and travel to the future, I have narrowed my list down to five players. Here they are in all of their potential glory.
We’ll start off with the man that should win the Name Bracket every single year for the rest of his life. Sorry, Jace.
Killebrew came on strong out of nowhere in 2016, but mostly on third down. During the Lions’ winning streak, you could find Miles wherever the ball was on third down.
In 2017, look for Miles to be where the ball is on all four downs. Bob Quinn and company like to be coy when talking about Killebrew, but let’s not fool around here. Miles is going to play some linebacker in 2017.
With his ability to play safety and the size to play linebacker—coupled with the speed to excel at both—Killebrew could really put himself on the map in the NFL this season.
Speaking of Name Bracket, here’s the guy that won the tournament last year. And frankly, if there were a Freddie Prinze Jr. character type that everyone at Pride Of Detroit has an awkward crush on, it's Jace.
This year Bob Quinn made a bet with Rod Wood: That he could take anyone on the roster and make them the prom queen...err...part of the 53-man roster. Jace is this year’s Laney Boggs. This is a metaphor I never thought I’d use.
Let’s be clear about what this means. Jace is going to break out in the sense that he’s going to get significant playing time. He won’t be a Pro Bowler, but he’ll be a guy that will catch some passes and score some touchdowns, just not too many. That’s okay for Jace, because it’s a major step forward.
Okay, so maybe this is a reach of sorts, but I believe Derek Sherrard Hayden Jr. is due for a breakout year, or in some cases, a resurrection.
The former 12th overall pick finds himself in a nice position with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, mainly because Austin’s area of expertise is in the secondary.
Hayden will also benefit because Austin has shown that he can get square peg guys over in his defense, Kerry Hyder and George Johnson being perfect examples. DJ Hayden finds himself next in line to hold that honor.
And it certainly doesn't hurt that Hayden really isn’t all that bad and has starting experience. But can he stay healthy? That’s the question.
Gollady is the only rookie to make this list. That doesn’t mean guys like Jarrad Davis, Teez Tabor or Michael Roberts won’t breakout. It’s just that they’re already expected to start and make plays. Nobody knows who Golladay even is.
That’s why his breakout will be even bigger. A small school guy that comes out and gets it done in the NFL. It’s always a great story.
Now seeing as though the Lions offense is the team's most proficient unit, it's clear why it's easy to see Golladay making the biggest splash.
With his size, speed and playmaking ability, don't be surprised to see Golladay be more than just a red zone threat, and early in the season.
People get it, Mike. You think he looks like Mr. T. Enough already.
All things considered, Robinson had a pretty good rookie year. Granted he didn’t play all that much in the early going. But by the end of the season he had played 408 snaps, second-most among defensive tackle on the team.
The stats don’t show it in the sacks portion of it, but it doesn’t have to. He showed up in other areas on the defensive stat sheet, namely in pass deflections. A’Shawn deflected seven passes in 2016. That’s good for third among all defensive lineman. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s important.
Why is it important? Because, in my opinion, it shows wherewithal. It shows that A’Shawn Robinson is a smart player that will make any kind of play that he has to. This is why I believe that Robinson will have the biggest breakout season of anyone on this roster in 2017.
Look for Robinson to be the No. 1 defensive tackle on the line and make his 2016 statline look like nothing.
At the end of the day, I can’t be 100 percent certain of what happens with the Lions in 2017. I know I mentioned earlier that I had a time machine, but I did all kinds of butterfly effect stuff with it. So who knows what I affected. All I can tell you is that the San Diego Padres will win 16 World Series in a row and Taco Bell wins the franchise wars.