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NFL · 19 days ago

NFL Season Predictions: AFC East Breakout Defensive Players

Zachary Cook

Zachary Cook

NFL Season Predictions: AFC East Breakout Defensive Players

The AFC East is stacked with high-end defensive talent, and many players can break out and add to that list in 2023. 

Click on the links below for a more detailed analysis of each team in the division and their potential breakout players. 

Buffalo BillsGreg Rousseau, DE

Greg Rousseau has continued to grow on defense for the Buffalo Bills. In Year 2, he doubled his sacks from four to eight. Going into his third NFL season, we’re looking for Rousseau to elevate his game even more. He’s got that knack for hunting quarterbacks. With the veterans around him, he will win those one-on-one matchups and shoot for double-digit sacks in 2023. This can be Rousseau’s year to shine and be that game-changer for the Bills. We’re all in on seeing him dominate this season.

Miami Dolphins – Jevon Holland, S

In 2021, Jevon Holland emerged as a standout rookie for the Miami Dolphins. Despite a slight dip in 2022, he’s poised for a stellar 2023. Vic Fangio’s defensive system suits Holland’s strengths, positioning him for significant success. Holland has the highest potential of any Miami player on defense to truly take a big step forward in 2023. His versatility will make him a pivotal player for the Dolphins in the upcoming season.

Check out SportsGrid’s NFL game picks and NFL props picks all season long.

New England PatriotsChristian Barmore, DT

Defensive tackle Christian Barmore has shown his potential with the New England Patriots. After a strong rookie year in 2021, injuries sidelined him during the latter part of his sophomore season. However, the ex-Alabama Crimson Tide player returned towards the season’s end, making a notable impact for New England. Expectations are high for Barmore in 2023, with many predicting a breakout year as a key figure in the Patriots’ defense.

New York JetsJermaine Johnson, EDGE

The New York Jets had high hopes when they drafted Jermaine Johnson in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Despite his potential, Johnson’s game had a raw quality, necessitating patience. In 2023, he’ll need to work hard for his reps, as they won’t be handed to him. Known for his run defense, the hope is for Johnson to enhance their pass rush moving forward. He showed promise in 2022, and the expectation is for him to validate his draft position in 2023.

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