The Atlanta Falcons have surprisingly put together a fairly deep and complete roster on paper for the 2020 season. There is certainly talent at every position, with a good blend of experience, youth, speed and athleticism.
Of course, there are established stars such as Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones. There are also those players that have sky-high potential and could be on the cusp of becoming excellent pros and key contributors to the Falcons.
With a few surprises listed, here are some potential breakout candidates for the Falcons in 2020.
Calvin Ridley - WR
Mentioning Calvin Ridley at the top of this list is really a no brainer. A superior route running WR with good speed, Ridley has already made noise in the NFL. Going into his third year as a pro, Ridley already has accumulated 17 TDs and 1,687 receiving yards. Ridley has already gone on record saying that he feels that he should be elite. Quite honestly, he isn’t far from it. He actually would’ve surpassed 1,000 yards receiving last season had it not been for a season-ending abdominal injury. If he remains healthy, fully expect Ridley to emerge as one of the top receivers in the game this season.
Chris Lindstrom - RG
When Chris Lindstrom was picked 14th overall in the 2019 draft, it surprised quite a few fans and analysts, including myself. However, there was no denying the talent and athleticism Lindstrom possessed. The beginning of his rookie season wasn’t ideal as he suffered a broken foot in the opening game against Minnesota, and he didn’t return until Week 14. However, when back on the field, Lindstrom allowed no sacks and committed only one penalty at RG. The run game also saw a significant boost with Lindstrom in the lineup, averaging 103.7 rushing yards a game as opposed to 80.8 when he was not on the field. Lindstrom is the real deal, and he was definitely the right pick at 14th overall in 2019. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a few Pro Bowls in his career.
Kendall Sheffield - CB
A fourth-round draft pick in 2019, Sheffield wasn’t expected to take on a big role on the defensive side of the ball during his rookie campaign. However, an injury to Desmond Trufant forced him on the field early. Sheffield ended up starting in 11 games and showed progression in each game. With sprinter speed, good physicality and much improved footwork, Sheffield showed the ability to play in the slot and outside. That type of versatility is coveted on Coach Raheem Morris’ defense. The CB group has gotten deeper with the acquisition of Darqueze Dennard, but I still expect Sheffield to see plenty of time on the field with the defense. He’s started a little slow out of the blocks due to a minor injury, but I see Sheffield makIng a substantial impact this season.
John Cominsky - DE/DT
This may be a surprise to some, but Cominsky is the player no one is talking about. Due to the acquisition of Dante Fowler, Jr. and the drafting of Marlon Davidson, Cominsky is falling under the radar. When Cominsky was initially drafted, he was clearly a year or two from making an impact. Towards the end of the 2019 season, you got to see his progression firsthand. He took advantage of his time on the field and performed quite well. Cominsky has all Quinn wants in his defensive linemen: size, speed, length and athleticism. Plus, he has the work ethic and desire to be great. Reports from camp are revealing he’s making strides at DT. Even though this will be a deep rotation, I feel that Cominsky will be a 4-6 sack player going forward.
What say you? What players do you think will have a breakout season?