6 NFL players ready to make the leap in their third seasons

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Christian Kirk, NFL (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

5. Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals drafted Christian Kirk with the 47th overall pick in 2018. As a rookie, Kirk disappointed. He only made 43 receptions for 590 yards and three touchdowns. However, that was the Josh Rosen year, so there’s only so much criticism Kirk can get for his mediocre numbers.

Kirk began playing a larger role on Arizona’s team last season. With Kyler Murray at the helm and Kliff Kingsbury holding the clipboard, Kirk played over 200 more offensive snaps in 2019 than he did as a rookie. The Texas A&M product recorded 68 receptions for 709 yards and three touchdowns. He also played a role in the ground game, rushing for 93 yards on ten carries.

With Larry Fitzgerald entering possibly the final year of his illustrious career, it’s Kirk’s time to show he can carry the torch in Arizona.

4. Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets

The Jets failed Sam Darnold during the first two seasons of his career, not the other way around. He got thrown back into action after battling Mononucleosis, which can cause sudden weight loss, and tried surviving behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Not to mention, his top receivers were Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. What was Darnold supposed to do?

New York finally took charge this offseason. The team overhauled the offensive line, adding three new starters. The Jets capped off their shift by drafting left tackle Mekhi Becton in the first-round. Then, New York addressed the wide receiver corps in the second-round, selecting Baylor’s Denzel Mims with the 59th overall pick.

With a competent supporting cast, Darnold can deliver on his pre-draft hype. We saw Darnold’s potential during his final eight games in 2019. The USC product threw for 1,947 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He recorded a 93.3 passer rating, and the Jets went 6-2. That’s the kind of player Darnold is.

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