This past season in the NFL displayed a ton of young talent taking that next step to elite status. What Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson did as young running backs was nothing short of extraordinary. And now after just three combined seasons in the NFL, they are seen as the two biggest superstars at that position.
The same argument can be made for Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys signal caller Dak Prescott. Despite being extremely inexperienced for quarterbacks in the NFL, these two youngsters led their squads to surprise playoff spots. For Carr and the Raiders, it looked like they were legit title contenders before he went down with a late-season injury.
Now, heading into the 2017 season, there are other youngsters set to make their mark and emerge as superstars.
From Super Mario in Tennessee to a man named Winston in Tampa Bay, here are 10 NFL players set to emerge and take the league by storm during the 2017 season.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Mariota has seen each of his first two NFL seasons come to an premature end due to injury. More than anything, that’s the biggest key for the former Oregon standout. He needs to stay on the field in order to take that next step. When actually healthy, Super Mario has proven himself to be a legitimate top-end quarterback.
This past season saw Mariota put up nearly 3,800 total yards with 28 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. That interception total came with Mariota attempting 451 passes. Not bad at all.
Tennessee also made sure to go out there and get the young quarterback a potential No. 1 receiver he needs. That came in the form of 6-foot-3 pass catcher Corey Davis from Western Michigan with the fifth overall pick in April’s draft. Davis has an absolutely huge catch radius and made lesser opponents look silly with his route-running skills in college. He should be able to make an immediate impact for Mariota.
The better news here for those looking for superstardom from Mariota is what he has behind him in the backfield. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry combined to put up 1,777 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
Meanwhile, Jack Conklin performed extremely well at right tackle as a rookie. These are all indicators that Mariota should be more than ready to take that next step in 2017. If he’s able to stay healthy, this former No. 2 overall pick will dominate in the AFC South this upcoming season.