NFL’S SENSATIONAL SOPHOMORES
Athletes can’t be bust after one season. Either you show glimpses of promise, struggle mightily or jump out of the gate a star. With that being said, we’ve been watching some of the league’s second-year players improve on the glimpses of promise they showed in Year One. Here’s our list of the NFL’s sensational sophomores.
Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes has been the nastiest quarterback of the 2018 season, and I’m not referring to his repulsive eating habits. The throws he makes off script are one-of-a-kind, and can only be compared to Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Let me explain this clip. Not only does he make a series of pass rushers look foolish by circling back against the grain to buy time, he fires an absolute laser to Chris Conley. Arguably the most entertaining gunslinger in the NFL, Mahomes does things others can’t do. Through Week 12, he’s leading the league in touchdown tosses (37), ranks second in passer rating (117.9), and third in passing yards (3,628). M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P. Free Heinz ketchup for all of you lil’ nasties.
Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay
After watching Golladay perform in training camp in 2017, Chad Ochocinco became his hype man. And if Ochocinco thinks you’re going to be a great wide receiver, shit you might just be the real deal. The rookie followed the praise by authoring a solid campaign and came back in 2018, even better. Not only has he earned the nickname “Baby Tron” due to his blend of size, speed and taste for making acrobatic catches look seamless. He’s the reason the Lions didn’t hesitate to ship Golden Tate out during a contract year and decide to ultimately put the future of the team’s passing game in the hands of a young gun. Through Week 12 of 2018, he’s compiled team highs in receptions (52), receiving yards (804) and touchdown grabs (five) and has looked like the Clint Capela to Matt Stafford’s James Harden. If the ball’s in the air and in the vicinity of Golladay, defenders have no chance.
New York Jets Safety Jamal Adams
Salute to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Not only does it feature the best high school football in the world, it’s where Adams, a dominant defender who sniffs out opposing plays like a bloodhound is from. The safety entered his second season with the Jets in 2018, and has easily made himself one of the most malleable and valuable players in football. He lines up all over the field, and per Pro Football Focus, he’s aligned in the box as a de facto linebacker on 41.6 percent of his snaps, at free safety on 25.8 percent, at corner 13.2 percent and up on the line at 13.6. Could you ask for anything more from the Hebron High School product? He’s also a passionate player whose already taken an alpha dog role in friend of the site and Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers’ defense. As he continues playing with a relentless style, smacking tailbacks and picking off quarterbacks, Adams is bound to rack up a few trips to the Pro Bowl.
Carolina Panthers Running Back Christian McCaffrey
At 4ormypeople we don’t believe white athletes are inferior. We actually think to define McCaffrey as gritty, sneaky athletic, a student of the game or with any other euphemisms to describe white athletes is offensive yet funny as hell. When he entered the league, pundits questioned whether his frame would allow him to run between the tackles and made a huge deal about him being a mayo colored ball carrier. In Year Two, he’s answered that with an emphatic, ‘Fuck yes.’ In Week 3 of 2018, he torched the Bengals for 184 yards on 28 carries, proving that he could withstand the pounding and do so at a high level. He’s also continued to be a threat out of the backfield, hauling in 71 receptions in the team’s first 11 games, including a 14-catch performance against the Falcons in Week 2. Given his consistency as a pass catcher, ability to gain tough yards and knack for hurdling unsuspecting defenders (yes, white boys can jump), we can put to silence the questions surrounding McCaffrey’s ability as a lead back.
PS: Need a game to define McCaffrey’s brilliance, cut on the tape to Week 12 against Seattle when he rushed 125 yards and a score and hauled in 11 passes for 112 and another tug.
Cleveland Browns Defensive End Myles Garrett
As the No. 1 pick in 2017, Garrett looked flat-out dominant as a rookie, compiling 7.0 sacks and proving to be worth the avalanche of praise heaped on him during his days at Texas A&M. He returned to action in 2018, and has been even better, showing improvements in technique (hand placement), stuffing the run and a motor that would make the Energizer Bunny jealous. Before playing his first snap, he said he really wanted to sack Ben Roethlisberger. In two meetings against Big Ben this season, he has 3.0 sacks. (Speak that shit into existence, big dog!) With 10.0 sacks and three forced fumbles in his first 11 games of his second season, a trip to the Pro Bowl should be booked. Look at Cleveland, turning its draft picks into stars.
Los Angeles Chargers Cornerback Desmond King
During the 2017 pre-draft process, the knock on King was he was too small to play safety and too slow to play cornerback. Obviously, they missed the part about him being too good to let those limitations stop him from being a successful NFL player -- I mean shit, he led the nation in interceptions during his junior season at Iowa. However, Los Angeles didn’t and their reaping the benefits of selecting him in 2018. He’s tallied three picks so far this season and has been praised by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah for his performance as the Chargers’ punt returner. “He’s been awesome,” said Jeremiah. “ I mean, the last couple weeks he’s just really been a huge lift to the team, and with the special teams now a couple weeks going. (He’s) solidified that spot (as a punt returner) and, to me, you look at a guy that’s making great decisions on when to field the ball.” Sounds like the Chargers know exactly what they’re doing with King.