Every Year there are some players you pay closer attention to than others. Typically people only keep up with ones on your favorite team or ones who you just have a liking for. The players I listed below are ones who have big chips on their shoulders this year and should definitely be worth watching because they all have something they are working for. Whether you have heard of them or not you, should keep them on your radar.
1. Lev'eon Bell
Lev'eon Bell will be playing this season under a Franchise tag which usually only lasts so long before the player leaves for a max deal so keep an eye on if the Steelers will be looking to replace Bell or finally reach a long-term deal. The last player to be in a similar situation was Kirk Cousins who the Redskins got tired of negotiating with which led him to signing a max deal with the Minnesota Vikings.
2. Patrick Mahomes
The guy who replaces Mr. Consistent, after starting one game as a rookie the Chiefs decided he was the face of the franchise and traded away Alex Smith who had one of the best seasons of his career. Alex Smith isn't known for putting up big numbers, but he is known for being consistent and is a good game manager who rarely turns over the ball. Mahomes will have to fill big shoes as Smith has continuously led the Chiefs to the playoffs before they traded him to the Redskins this off-season. It didn't work out for the last team who chose to trade Smith after a good season so it will be interesting to watch how Mahomes handles the situation. They have a coach who is known to be good with QB's. Mahomes is more of a gunslinger with a strong arm. He has shown signs of a lot of potential in preseason and has a lot of capable weapons around him the only worry may be an inconsistent offensive line. Oh and if you didn't know the Coach I referred to is Andy Reid who was also a coach for one of the best Gunslingers of all time, Brett Farve.
The second pick in this years NFL draft should definitely be one to watch. He has a high ceiling and high expectations. Will he live up to the talk or will he be a bust? Saquon Barkley made headlines constantly in college which made him rise all the way to being a top 5 pick end result 2nd pick in the 2018 NFL draft and a rookie Contract over 30 Million. The Giants had a rough year last year they will be coming into the season with a new head coach and a lot of high hopes. Barkley looked impressive with a strong 40 yard run in the first game of pre-season.
4. Mike Williams
Mike Williams, the seventh overall pick in the 2017 Draft, struggled with injuries last year and was unable to reach potential, therefore, year two will be a big chance for him to show what a top 10 pick should look like. Before getting drafted Williams was a stud at Clemson where he won a National Championship. Phillip Rivers is most likely at the end of his career and is going to make a hard push for a superbowl so it will be interesting how much Mike Williams can contribute to that run.
5. Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson was climbing the ranks last season and was looking to break some rookie records before going down with an ACL injury that cost him the rest of his rookie year. Smith year two will be a big one for Watson who will have those high expectations from where he left off last season. Watson, like his former teammate Mike Williams, was a National Champion in College and put up some impressive numbers so watching that transition is fun. Though Watson almost looked like an experienced pro last year, will he be able to return to form or will he be better?
6. Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley put up impressive numbers last year, therefore, he got a big contract. So you have to ask the question will the contract affect his performance? Many running backs stop performing once they get paid so will his work ethic keep up with the new money or will he lose his touch? The Rams have a lot of players looking to get paid. This might be there only chance at a strong Superbowl runMrso performance has to be at its best for each and every Ram.
7. Andrew Luck
The Number one pick in the 2012 draft has dealt with injuries including surgery on his throwing shoulder, and after missing the entire 2017 Season, he is finally back and is a name worth watching. In the time he was healthy he threw for more than 4,000 yards in three out of the five seasons that he has played which is pretty impressive. The Colts also perform a lot better when he plays. He can make a big impact or keep them where they have been but good news for Luck is that the offensive line looks a lot better than when he got hurt.
8. The Cleveland Browns.
After an 0-16 Season, there is only one way to go from there and that is in the positive direction. The Cleveland Browns have made a lot of moves this off-season which you may have seen if you watch Hardknocks who followed the Browns this year. The Browns have been in a drought for a while now but they look to take a different direction this year with a new group of skilled players and some old names. One would be the number one overall pick the NFL draft Baker Mayfield who is the reigning Heisman Champion and Wide receiver Jarvis Landry who has made some impressive Catches they have had the number one pick in back to back years so surely they have what they need to win a game now.