Breakout player is a tough thing to define. Is it the act of going from good to great player? Is it emerging from the depths of the unknown to become a player that suddenly everyone knows? Can it be both?
There are a few candidates from the Detroit Lions’ 2019 team that fit some sort of definition of breakout player, including a Lion that could potentially win the award in back-to-back seasons.
Here are your nominees for 2019 Detroit Lions Breakout Player of the Year.
Stats: 89 rushes, 377 yards (4.2 YPC), 1 TD
Just when it seemed like the Detroit Lions would never find a potential back behind Kerryon Johnson, Bo Scarbrough emerged out of nowhere. Signed to the practice squad just a couple weeks after Johnsons was sent to IR, Scarbrough was one of those players that many knew from college but didn’t get drafted until the final round. Typically those players get more hype from fans than their worth, but this time, Scarbrough lived up to his hype.
His NFL debut was just a mere 14 carries for 55 yards and a score, but it wasn’t the final statline that was impressive, it was the way he did it. He ran with the kind of power and decisiveness that the Lions had hoped for in C.J. Anderson and LeGarrette Blount in years before.
And Scarbrough didn’t slow down from there. He essentially had two 100-yard games in just five starts, but both of those were taken away from him thanks to iffy holding penalties. In just six total games, Scarbrough went from an unknown to the Lions’ potential No. 2 back of the future.
Stats: 62 catches, 678 yards, 1 TD
Amendola came to Detroit with a ton of skepticism. Amid injuries and declining play, most Lions fans shrugged off this free agent signing as doing the bare basics to fill Detroit’s need to replace Golden Tate.
But Amendola provided consistently good play all season. He was 12 yards away from setting a personal record for yards in a season and put up his second best mark in yards per catch (10.9). That sort of comeback is pretty unheard of from 34-year-old players.
Stats: 13 games, 103 tackles, 8 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 FF
After a solid rookie season, Walker came into 2019 with a noticeable amount of confidence and swagger. He clearly took on a leadership role—especially after Quandre Diggs was traded—and his level of play remained fairly high.
He started the season off with a bang, nabbing an interception of Kyler Murray in the season opener, and while he didn’t record an interception the rest of the way, we saw his range as a pass defender and his skills as a tackler nearly every week, despite playing through a knee injury for most of the season.
Stats: 74.9 PFF grade (6th among centers)
Ragnow’s rookie season was mostly forgettable, but when the Lions decided to move him back to center for 2019, the former first-round pick really began to shine. While the play of a center isn’t all that flashy, Ragnow provided consistent, reliable performances on a week-to-week basis. At this point, Ragnow has solidified his stance as the Lions’ center of the future—assuming the Lions don’t unexpectedly fall out of love with him like a certain other interior offensive lineman .
Stats: 65 catches, 1,190 yards, 11 TDs
Golladay actually won this award last year, but he undoubtedly took his skills to a new level in 2019. He led the league in touchdowns, he made his first Pro Bowl, and he likely earned himself a fat contract this offseason.
Golladay is now firmly a national figure in the NFL and will likely find himself on plenty of top-10 wide receiver lists this offseason.
Who was the Lions’ 2019 Breakout Player of the Year
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