NFL News & Analysis

Breakout candidates for all 16 NFC teams: Cowboys' DeMarvion Overshown, Panthers' Bryce Young and more

2T4981E Charlotte, NC, USA. 29th Oct, 2023. Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) during the second quarter of the NFL matchup against the Houston Texans in Charlotte, NC. (Scott Kinser/Cal Sport Media). Credit: csm/Alamy Live News

• A better situation for Bryce Young: Carolina added three weapons in WR Diontae Johnson, WR Xavier Legette and TE Ja'Tavion Sanders, plus beefed up its interior offensive line with Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis.

• It's DeMarvion Overshown's time: Overshown missed the entire 2023 season following an ACL tear during the preseason, but he was productive in college at Texas, producing a 72.1 overall grade and 23 pressures in his final season.

• Get a head start on fantasy football: Use PFF's fantasy football mock draft simulator to create real live mock draft simulations to get ready for your live draft!

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While football fans might not have a ton to sink their teeth into until the preseason begins in August, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to begin looking into roles and projections for every team across the NFL.

Although some remaining free agents will find new homes in the next few months, most teams have their nucleus ready to enter the 2024 season — and every year, someone comes out of nowhere to produce at a high level. Below is a look at one such candidate (excluding obvious household names) for every team in the NFC.

Arizona Cardinals: WR Michael Wilson

The Cardinals added Marvin Harrison Jr. with Pick No. 4 and signed Zay Jones, but don’t discount Wilson entering Year 2. The Stanford alum was targeted 59 times across 415 routes run and ranked third among his teammates with 29 combined first downs and touchdowns.

With a full season of Kyler Murray behind center, a much more cohesive offensive unit should form in the desert, and Wilson figures to play a role in that.

Atlanta Falcons: Edge Arnold Ebiketie

The Falcons lost both Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree but didn’t draft an edge rusher until the third round. As a result, second-year players like Ebiketie will be expected to elevate their production from last year. The former second-round pick racked up 28 pressures and two forced fumbles on only 385 snaps to kickstart his pro career.

Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young

He might feel like the obvious choice, but Young should be in a considerably better position to succeed this year. Carolina added three weapons in WR Diontae Johnson, WR Xavier Legette and TE Ja'Tavion Sanders, plus beefed up its interior offensive line with Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis.

Factor in Dave Canales — who has resuscitated several notable QB careers — and it’s hard not to be bullish about Young in Year 2. We saw glimpses of his talent in the later weeks of the year, in which Young’s 74.5 overall grade from Weeks 15-18 ranked 16th among quarterbacks who dropped back at least 100 times.

Chicago Bears: CB Tyrique Stevenson

Stevenson had a good Year 1 as the Bears’ CB2, coming down with four interceptions and 13 pass breakups but allowing a 100.4 passer rating when targeted. Another good sign: his four highest-graded games came in Week 11 or later. With star Jaylon Johnson solidified next to him and a secondary bolstered with Kevin Byard, Stevenson should shoulder larger responsibilities for a revamped Bears team with lofty goals.

Dallas Cowboys: LB DeMarvion Overshown

Overshown missed the entire 2023 season following an ACL tear during the preseason, but he was productive in college at Texas, producing a 72.1 overall grade and 23 pressures in his final season.

While the Cowboys drafted Notre Dame’s Marist Liufau in the third round and signed veteran Eric Kendricks in free agency, keeping Overshown off the field could be tough. Outside of Kendricks, Dallas' only returning Dallas inside linebacker to grade above 70.0 last season was Markquese Bell, so Overshown could contribute if he gets up to speed after effectively redshirting.

Detroit Lions: WR Kalif Raymond

With Josh Reynolds heading to Denver, the Lions’ receivers behind Amon-Ra St. Brown all received a boost in the pecking order. The fact that Detroit didn’t add a wideout in the draft means Brad Holmes trusts guys like Raymond to replace Reynolds’ ability to move the chains. Raymond ranked third on the Lions in receiving grade last year, and the eight-year vet should be in for a career-high target share in an offense that loves distributing the ball.

Green Bay Packers: TE Luke Musgrave

It’s hard not to be extremely excited about the Packers’ boatload of young receiving options, and Musgrave is verifiably part of that. He played in just 13 games because of a lacerated kidney, but he was elite at the end of 2023: his 91.9 receiving grade between Week 18 and the divisional round led all tight ends. Musgrave is a player to buy stock in entering 2024.

Los Angeles Rams: S Kamren Curl

The Rams lost their top two players in defensive snaps (Ahkello Witherspoon and Jordan Fuller) and retooled their defense in virtually all facets. But their most notable move may have been swooping in to land Curl, the former Commanders safety who’s still only 25. Although Curl had a decent season last year, earning a 66.6 overall grade, he earned an 82.9 overall grade in 2022.

Curl should benefit from having better defensive coaching, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him return to top-tier form and emerge as one of Los Angeles’ key defensive pieces.

Minnesota Vikings: S Camryn Bynum

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah splurged on defense in free agency and the draft, adding Jonathan Greenard, Dallas Turner, Andrew Van Ginkel and Blake Cashman. Yet Minnesota has some exciting returning pieces on that side of the ball, including the versatile Bynum.

Bynum posted a 73.2 overall grade while excelling in run defense (79.1 run-defense grade) and playing soundly in coverage (69.7 coverage grade). With his ability to line up everywhere, Bynum is a tremendous chess piece for Brian Flores. Having Bynum’s versatile skillset next to Josh Metellus and a boatload of more talent could allow him to really break out.

New Orleans Saints: WR Rashid Shaheed

Shaheed made the 2023 All-Pro team as a returner, but don’t sleep on his receiving skills. Last year, he earned a 69.4 receiving grade and dropped just four of his 71 targets. He’s also a dynamic threat down the field, with his 99.9 deep receiving grade pacing the position. Having cut ties with longtime star Michael Thomas, the Saints will need new faces to step up next to Chris Olave, and Shaheed has a fast track to do so under new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak. If Kubiak uses Shaheed more over the middle of the field as well as in motion, he could become a legitimate weapon.

New York Giants: C John Michael Schmitz

There’s really nowhere to go but up for Schmitz after a thoroughly disappointing first season, in which he posted a 41.4 overall grade and a 26.9 pass-blocking grade as a rookie. If you’re looking for solace, his run-blocking grade was a bit better (51.3), and it’s worth noting that eight of his 30 pressures allowed came in Week 18.

Philadelphia Eagles: C Cam Jurgens

The Eagles drafted Jurgens with the intention of being Jason Kelce’s long-term replacement at center. Now, the former Cornhusker will slide from guard to center, a position that should be more natural, given that he almost exclusively played it at Nebraska. Jurgens struggled a bit in pass protection toward the end of 2023, but already having two years of starting experience — and working with Jeff Stoutland, of course — renders him an ideal candidate to make a jump.

San Francisco 49ers: Edge Drake Jackson

Very quietly, the 49ers experienced some significant losses along their defensive front, namely Arik Armstead, Chase Young, Javon Kinlaw and Clelin Ferrell. While veteran Leonard Floyd will probably get the opening nod at edge rusher opposite Nick Bosa, depth will be relied upon behind both. He was relatively productive when he did play, notching 14 pressures on only 199 snaps. If not limited by a knee injury in Week 9, he could have been a greater pass-rushing force en route to Super Bowl 57. Expect him to bounce back in 2024.

Seattle Seahawks: C Olu Oluwatimi

With center Evan Brown heading to Arizona and Seattle not really beefing up the position in the draft, Oluwatimi has a clear path to start right away. The former Michigan anchor is largely unproven in the NFL, having played just 128 snaps. Early indications are that his pass protection (75.5 pass-blocking grade) is a boon, and if he can find more balance with his run-blocking, Oluwatimi could ascend in his second year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Zyon McCollum

Tampa Bay sent stud cornerback Carlton Davis III to Detroit, leaving a gap in its secondary. One of the top names to step up is McCollum, who should start on the outside next to Jamel Dean. McCollum hasn’t been superb through two seasons, with both years ending with an overall grade no higher than 50.4, but his tackling and run defense play each improved in his second year. After all, he already has Todd Bowles’ trust, with his 870 snaps in 2023 ranking fourth on Tampa.

Washington Commanders: WR Jahan Dotson

Dotson finally played all 17 games, but his production didn’t jump much in 2023. A big reason was shaky quarterback play, with Sam Howell pacing the league in turnover-worthy plays. While Howell never seemed to establish good connections with either Terry McLaurin or Dotson, Jayden Daniels should quickly change that, especially by targeting Dotson on intermediate routes — where he notched a 96.4 receiving grade in 2023.

The 2024 season feels like the make-or-break one for Dotson in Washington, and with the departure of Curtis Samuel and no true TE1, he should be utilized better by new OC Kliff Kingsbury.

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