The 2023 NFL season is shaping up to be a great one. There have been some massive moves made over the offseason and some very exciting rookies entering the league. On the flip side, there are three players who are facing a vast amount of pressure of this coming season being make or break year for them.
Coming into the league, there was a great deal of hype around Najee Harris. He was the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and did not disappoint in his rookie year. He finished his season in the NFL with 1200 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground and 467 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver. This was enough for him to be named to the Pro Bowl team.
He took a step back in the 2022 season finishing his sophomore campaign with 1034 yards and seven touchdowns and 229 yards and three touchdowns through the air. While this was not a massive drop-off, it was a concerning stepback for Harris. With the Steelers making some key additions to their offensive line and quarterback Kenny Pickett coming into the season with a year of experience under his belt at the professional level, this could be a bounce-back season for Harris. However, if he does not get back to his level of production in 2021, there is a chance that he will be another running back that struggles to find a lucrative second deal.
Kyle Pitts was the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Coming into the league, Pitts was thought to be a generational hybrid of tight end and receiver. While Pitts had an incredible rookie season that included a Pro Bowl appearance, he greatly struggled in the 2022 season.
After going for over 1000 receiving yards as a rookie, Pitts would finish the 2022 campaign with only 356 yards and two touchdowns. While this was more touchdowns than he had in his rookie season, his receptions were cut in half and his receiving yards were slashed by nearly 65%. This partially came as a result of Pitts suffering through injuries and the inconsistent play at quarterback last season.
However, the Falcons are set to roll out Desomd Ridder once again as their starter. He struggled as a passer last season, and there is a strong chance that he does not take a big enough step in the right direction for Pitts to be able to establish himself as one of the top tight ends in the league. If Pitts has another season like 2022, he may end up being regarded as a bust.
The final player facing a major make-or-break season in 2023 is Jerry Jeudy. This is a contract year for the receiver, and he had a career year last season. Even with Russell Wilson struggling through the air Jeudy was still able to set a career-high in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
If he is able to replicate or improve on these stats in 2023, he likely will be en route to a big payday and extension from the Broncos. Jeudy has been a very reliable receiver throughout his time in the league. While he has dealt with some concerning injuries in his short time in the league, when he is on the field, he is an elite talent.
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