Each year, there are players that disappoint in their rookie season, but they are worth adding to your target list for their second year, 2021 is no different! Typically, the types of players end up being receivers. The reason is that the career of a running back puts them on the field quickly, and fan/ management pressure puts quarterbacks on the field too.
Don’t forget that while a lot of players will have a second-year leap, it could be even bigger this season. Last year a lot of the preseason was up in the air due to COVID, which meant learning had to happen in the regular season.
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Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, IND)
I was big on Pittman last year. It just made sense to me that he would be an effective receiver on an offense that was begging for a primary option. T.Y. Hilton has struggled more and more in recent seasons, and that gives an opportunity for Pittman to impress.
Last season, Pittman missed time with injury, but still managed to have some big games. This season, while there is still competition for targets at receiver, there is an opportunity for the big-bodied receiver to become one of Carson Wentz’s primary options.
Jalen Reagor (WR, PHI)
The Eagles receiving group has been struggling for years, and the team aimed to reverse that with the selection of Reagor in the draft. However, he struggled to make an impact on the team, despite little competition on the depth chart.
However, part of the struggle could have been that he often received primary coverage from the defense. This season, that primary receiving threat is likely to be DeVonta Smith, giving Reagor more opportunity to impress. Outside of Smith, there aren’t any threats to receiving targets other than Dallas Goedert who should be able to take a step forward as the team’s primary TE.
Laviska Shenault (WR, JAX)
Shenault is a versatile weapon on offense but didn’t really find a way to showcase that ability last season. The Jaguars were the worst team in the league, with a mix of Gardner Minshew and Mike Glennon throwing the ball.
This season, Shenault should have better opportunities with Trevor Lawrence throwing the ball, along with a better overall offense. However, Shenault will still have threats for targets with D.J. Chark and new signing Marvin Jones likely leading the team. Shenault might be a player worth monitoring for a waiver wire pickup rather than a draft target, but could end up being an effective part of the offense.
Cole Kmet (TE, CHI)
Kmet started the season firmly behind veteran Jimmy Graham, but ended up getting a decent number of targets towards the end of the season. Graham is now definitely at the end of his career and is more likely to be a thorn in the side than anything else.
Once the reigns of the offense are given to Justin Fields this team could take a big step forward. However, even with Andy Dalton at the helm, Kmet should have value- with Dalton working well with TEs on his previous teams.
Adam Trautman (TE, NO)
Trautman is a TE that I’m quite happy taking late in drafts, hoping that he becomes something. He barely saw the field last season, with the team rolling out Jared Cook. However, Cook has now left, and the team hasn’t replaced him. That should give him an opportunity to be a starter in this offense.
With the team also letting Emmanuel Sanders leave, and Michael Thomas injured (with a return date that seems to be towards the second half of the season). With the only ‘proven’ target on the offense being Alvin Kamara, Trautman could end up being a leading target in the offense.
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Image Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski – USA TODAY Sports