One player from all 32 NFL teams who can break out and dominate this season

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The NFL is back, and with it comes new opportunities for every player in the league.

Each year, new stars are born in the NFL – players who have grown from the year before, given a new chance on their team, or simply come out of nowhere.

We went through each team in the league and tried to identify players who could be set up for breakout years. In many cases, they’re second- or third-year players who have a chance to improve as they get used to the league. In others cases, there are veterans who finally have a chance to shine or rookies who look to be immediate contributors to their teams.

Here are our picks for a breakout star from each NFL team:

Arizona Cardinals — Budda Baker, S

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: Baker had a solid rookie season, starting seven games and compiling a sack, seven pass defences, and two forced fumbles, earning a respectable 72 grade from Pro Football Focus. With Tyrann Mathieu departing this offseason, Baker should have a bigger role this year.

Atlanta Falcons — Calvin Ridley, WR

Age/Experience: 23, rookie

One thing to know: Yes, it’s a bit cheap to pick rookies (spoiler: there will be others on this list), but Ridley is set to make an impact on the Falcons. Atlanta’s passing attack fell off a bit last season, but Ridley joins Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu as another big, versatile target for Matt Ryan. He’s impressed so far in training camp and should profit off the attention defensives give Jones.

Baltimore Ravens — Marlon Humphrey, CB

Wesley Hitt/Getty

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: The Ravens’ 2017 first-round pick started the final four games of last season and is slated to start this season following the suspension of cornerback Jimmy Smith. At 6-0, 197 lb, Humphrey is a big corner who allowed a passer rating of just 46.7 last season, per Pro Football Focus.

Buffalo Bills — Ryan Groy, G

Age/Experience: 27, fifth season

One thing to know: In July 2017, Pro Football Focus named Groy a “secret superstar,” citing that he didn’t allow a sack during all of his pass-blocking snaps. Groy had a quieter 2017 season, but with the departures of Richie Incognito and Eric Wood this year, Groy could become a key figure on the Bills’ line.

Carolina Panthers — Christian McCaffrey, RB

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: Sure, McCaffrey had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in his rookie year, but he still finished second in carries to Jonathan Stewart. This year, McCaffrey is expected to see his carries increase while remaining a big part of the Panthers passing game. He didn’t quite break out like expected last season and still had a solid year. This year, he’s poised to explode.

Chicago Bears — Eddie Jackson, S

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Jackson played the most snaps of any Bears defensive player last year as a rookie. With a year of experience under his belt, Jackson should be able to improve upon a stellar rookie season and become a force for a revamped Bears defence.

Cincinnati Bengals — Joe Mixon, RB

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: Mixon predictably took over as the Bengals’ lead back last year, but with mixed success, in part because of injuries. The Bengals improved their offensive line this offseason, and Mixon should continue to have a bigger role and improve upon his 3.5 yards per carry.

Cleveland Browns — David Njoku, TE

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: The Browns brought in several upgrades to the offence this offseason, from Jarvis Landry to Tyrod Taylor to Carlos Hyde. But Njoku stands to improve this season and add a new dimension to the passing game. At 6-foot-4, 250 lb, Njoku is a matchup nightmare and should get plenty of targets from Taylor, who likes to throw to his tight ends.

Dallas Cowboys — Geoff Swaim, TE

Age/Experience: 24, fourth season

One thing to know: Following the retirement of Jason Witten, Swaim will have the opportunity to step up for the Cowboys. Reports from training camp suggest he has a firm grim on the starting spot, and with a lack of receiving options, he should get plenty of opportunities in the Cowboys’ offence.

Denver Broncos — Royce Freeman, RB

Age/Experience: 22, rookie

One thing to know: C.J. Anderson is gone and Devontae Booker was unable to secure the top job, leaving Freeman the chance to become the Broncos’ lead back. With Case Keenum at the helm and solid receiving options, the Broncos’ run game could improve this year.

Detroit Lions — Kenny Golladay, WR

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Predictions of a breakout season for Golladay may have come a year too soon. The 6-foot-4 receiver struggled to stay healthy and amassed only 477 yards on 28 catches. This year, he’s poised for a bigger role and has even been playing over Golden Tate in two-wide-receiver sets, according to reports.

Green Bay Packers — Josh Jackson, CB

Age/Experience: 22, rookie

One thing to know: The Packers have been rebuilding their secondary, and rookie cornerback Josh Jackson appears to already be a good fit. Jackson provides needed athleticism to the Packers defence and already had a pick-six in the preseason.

Houston Texans — Stephen Anderson, TE

Age/Experience: 25, third season

One thing to know: Texans tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz retired this offseason because of concussions. Anderson should be able to step in and benefit from the return of Deshaun Watson.

Indianapolis Colts — Marlon Mack, RB

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: Mack was inconsistent in his rookie year and mostly played second fiddle to Frank Gore. But with Gore gone, Mack steps into the No. 1 running back spot, enough so that Colts owner Jim Irsay predicted he could have a 1,500-yard season. Mack is currently injured, but when he’s healthy, he could provide the Colts with some explosiveness in the backfield.

Jacksonville Jaguars — Dede Westbrook, WR

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Like Golladay, some predicted Westbrook would break out as a rookie. Instead, he played just seven games, catching 27 passes for 339 yards. Now, however, with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both gone, Westbrook has a chance to step up and be a vertical threat for the Jaguars.

Kansas City Chiefs — Tanoh Kpassagnon, LB

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know:Kpassagnon was a raw prospect coming into the NFL, but he showed sparks of his potential in his rookie season. The 6-foot-7, 289 lb linebacker had two sacks and 13 tackles in his rookie year. This year, he has said the game is already slowing down for him, and he may benefit from the pressure players like Justin Houston and Tamba Hali put on offenses.

Los Angeles Chargers — Mike Williams, WR

Age/Experience: 23, second season

One thing to know: Williams barely played in his rookie year because of a back injury. Now healthy entering his second year, the 6-foot-4 Williams is showing he’s the kind of matchup nightmare that many predicted him to be. He’s impressed at training camp thus far, and if all goes well, should become a favourite target of Philip Rivers this year.

Los Angeles Rams — Cory Littleton, LB

Rick Scuteri/P

Age/Experience: 24, third season

One thing to know: Littleton showed his high potential in a breakout performance in Week 16 last year, making seven tackles, a sack, and an interception. He’s slated to start this season and could become a force as a pass-rusher and in coverage, especially alongside the Rams’ star-studded defensive line.

Miami Dolphins — Kenyan Drake, RB

Age/Experience: 24, third season

One thing to know: Drake became the Dolphins’ go-to back last year after they traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles, rushing for 444 yards on 4.9 yards per carry in December alone. Though the Dolphins added Frank Gore this offseason, Drake figures to be the go-to guy this year.

Minnesota Vikings — Pat Elflein, C

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Elflien made the Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie team last year. Though Elflein has battled injuries in training camp this year, if healthy, he could play a significant role on a Vikings team that badly needs help on its offensive line.

New England Patriots — Deatrich Wise, DT

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Wise was a surprise for the Patriots last season, posting five sacks and 19 quarterback hits. In his second year, Wise’s growth could help a Patriots defence that fell off last season, but is looking to improve.

New Orleans Saints — Marcus Williams, S

Age/Experience: 21, second season

One thing to know: Williams solid rookie season was over-shadowed by a brutal blunder in the Saints’ last-second loss to the Vikings in the playoffs. However, his initial play, including 4 interceptions, helped the Saints’ defence shape up for the first time in years. Improvement in his second season will make people forget about his costly mistake and keep the Saints’ defence among the NFL’s elite.

New York Giants — Saquon Barkley, RB

Age/Experience: 21, rookie

One thing to know: Yes, yes, it’s an obvious pick, but the way things are setting up, it’d be a surprise if Barkley wasn’t a star. An incredible athlete with the ability to break tackles and juke defenders, Barkley is slated to be the Giants’ workhorse on offence. His very first carry was a 39-year run. Barkley has the talent and opportunity to become a massive star in New York.

New York Jets — Sam Darnold, QB

Age/Experience: 21, rookie

One thing to know: Not a shocker either. But Darnold’s preseason performance has been so impressive that it has Jets fans and the NFL world clamoring for the team to trade would-be starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to make room for Darnold. The Jets aren’t set up to be a playoff team, but Darnold could make them exciting for the first time in years.

Oakland Raiders — Marquel Lee

Christian Petersen/Getty

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: Lee has drawn rave reviews from head coach Jon Gruden in training camp and has ranked as the fourth-best linebacker in the preseason, according to Pro Football Focus. Whether Khalil Mack’s holdout ends soon or not, Lee is set up for a bigger role this season.

Philadelphia Eagles — Sidney Jones, CB

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: As of late, Jones has been getting more play with the first team, semingly beating out rookie corner Avonte Maddox. If Jones can cover both the slot and the outside, he could be a useful replacement to Patrick Robinson, who left in the offseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers — Bud Dupree, LB

Age/Experience: 25, fourth season

One thing to know: Dupree’s sack totals have climbed each year, and he claimed that last year he would have double-digit sacks if he hadn’t missed a few tackles. A 2015 first-round pick, the Steelers picked up his fifth-year option with the hope that he takes the leap from effective pass-rusher to elite.

San Francisco 49ers — Jimmy Garoppolo, QB

Age/Experience: 26, fifth season

One thing to know: Garoppolo is already a star. Everyone knows him. But the truth is, hardly anybody knows anything about Garoppolo as a starting quarterback. He’s started just seven games in his career, and his six-game win streak with the 49ers last year was essentially meaningless, as their season was all but over. A recipient of a $US135 million contract this offseason, this is the year we’ll get to watch Garoppolo take over full-time, with a full training camp, and show the NFL what he’s capable of doing.

Seattle Seahawks — Chris Carson, RB

Age/Experience: 23, second season

One thing to know: The Seahawks’ backfield has been a mess since Marshawn Lynch left. According to reports, Carson is beating out rookie RB Rashaad Penny in training camp to be the Seahawks’ lead back. Carson didn’t get many opportunities in 2017, but he did show promise that could make him a breakout player in 2018.

Tennessee Titans — Corey Davis, WR

Age/Experience: 23, second season

One thing to know: A bit like Mike Williams with Chargers, Davis was slated to be a breakout receiver for the Titans last year, but injuries held him back. Healthy now, Davis has been impressive in camp and gives Marcus Mariota a threat unlike any of the Titans other receivers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Ryan Smith, CB

Age/Experience: 24, third season

One thing to know: Smith got a bigger role toward the end of 2017 and excelled covering the outside.As SB Nation’s Stephen White noted, the Bucs cornerbacks play a conservative defence, but now a full-time starter, Smith might be able to show off his playmaking in 2018.

Washington Redskins — Jonathan Allen, DE

Age/Experience: 23, second season

One thing to know: A first-round pick in 2017, Allen was limited in his rookie year because of a foot injury. This year, Washington will be counting on his production to improve a defensive line that ranked just 29th in run defence last year.

Now, see what happened to former college football stars…

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The last 20 Heisman Trophy winners >

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