2024 AFC Breakout Candidates

2024 AFC Breakout Candidates

For every team in the NFL, there is typically one player who, previously underlooked, breaks out and becomes a star for his franchise. Kyren Williams and Daron Bland are notable examples for the Rams and Cowboys, respectively. These players, young talent or veterans, can enter the scene and help their teams reach the postseason or elevate their teammates’ talent. The 2024 AFC breakout candidates for the upcoming season hope to do just that.

2024 AFC Breakout Candidates


Cincinnati Bengals: Daxton Hill, Defensive Back

Daxton Hill’s limitations at safety were one of the key reasons for the Bengals’ defensive struggles in 2023. Hill was recently moved to cornerback and is competing for a starting role with second-year Michigan product DJ Turner II. With the departure of Chidobe Awuzie to the Titans, Hill can earn valuable reps and turn the Cincinnati secondary around with his 4.38 speed and 6’0” stature.

Cleveland Browns: Jerome Ford, Running Back

Jerome Ford emerged as the Browns’ starting back after Nick Chubb was lost for the season in week two of 2023. Ford amassed 813 rushing yards on 204 carries for a perfect 4.0-yard average with 319 receptions and nine total touchdowns. With Chubb unlikely to start the season, Ford could become a true top rusher in the NFL in his absence.

Baltimore Ravens: Andrew Vorhees, Offensive Line

Andrew Vorhees was considered a valuable offensive line prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft out of USC until he tore his ACL at the NFL Combine; Vorhees slid and was picked early in the seventh round by Baltimore. The 2023 season can be viewed as a redshirt season for Vorhees, and he is projected to start at guard for the Ravens in 2024 barring a setback.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., Cornerback

The son of Joey Porter Sr., Joey Porter Jr. was selected with the 32nd pick, but due to the Dolphins’ tampering investigation, forfeited their first-round selection, causing Porter Jr. to be a second-round selection. Porter Jr. showed his first-round value in his rookie season, serving as a starter for Pittsburgh and collecting an interception and 35 tackles, with improvement likely in 2024. 

Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, Offensive Line

O’Cyrus Torrence was one of Buffalo’s starting guards for 2023, playing the second-most snaps of any guard in the league with a whopping 1,163 offensive snaps. Still, Torrence acquired a 56.0 overall grade by Pro Football Focus. If Torrence can amass that amount of snaps while improving his play at a steady increase, Buffalo could have themselves a franchise guard for Josh Allen.

Miami Dolphins: Kader Kohou, Cornerback

Kader Kohou went from a 2022 undrafted cornerback out of Texas A&M–Commerce to the starting slot cornerback on the Dolphins. Still, Kohou’s 25 years of age shows the slot defender still has room to improve as a young spot in an aging but valuable Miami secondary.

New York Jets: Jamien Sherwood, Linebacker

A longtime special team contributor, Jamein Sherwood’s patience has paid off, being listed as a starting linebacker for the Jets and Sherwood’s limited starting time in 2023 resulted in 31 total tackles and a forced fumble. With significant reps in 2024, Sherwood may become a top linebacker in his division.

New England Patriots: Keion White, Defensive Line

A second-round selection in 2023, Keion White was slow to start, but picked up steam in the second half of his rookie season. An imposing yet older second-year player, White’s power on the defensive line is what makes him such an intriguing young player for Jerod Mayo and his new regime. 

Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, Quarterback

The obvious choice here is Anthony Richardson, the Colts’ freak athlete of a passer who unfortunately went down with an injury early in his rookie campaign. Richardson’s unbelievable arm talent mixed with his powerful running style gives shades of Cam Newton. If Richardson can maximize his talent to how dangerous Newton was in his prime, Richardson could take his Colts team far into the postseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Gabe Davis, Wide Receiver

It’s never too late to break out. Gabe Davis shined in big moments with the Bills but never made a true impact in the mundane areas of the season. With a new team and new coaching, Davis may finally take that next step with Trevor Lawrence.

Houston Texans: Henry To’oTo’o, Linebacker

The Alabama Crimson Tide product played quite underwhelming for Houston in his rookie season, with a 42.7 Pro Football Focus grade and only recorded one turnover. However, there is always room for improvement, and with an efficient defensive line to help pressure the offense, Henry To’oTo’o can feast off quick passes and disrupted running lanes to serve as a secure momentum eliminator.

Tennessee Titans: Will Levis, Quarterback

Will Levis already showed flashes of greatness in his first-ever start, throwing for 238 yards and four touchdowns. However, the rest of the season was not the greatest for Levis, throwing four touchdowns to four interceptions for the remainder of 2023. If Levis can carry his play over from his debut, he could lead Tennessee to big things in 2024.

Denver Broncos: Caden Sterns, Safety

Caden Sterns has had tremendous injury troubles in his career, and can finally leave it behind him now that he’s healthy. With a starting role in 2024, Sterns can prove his fifth-round selection in 2021 as a fluke and return to his all-conference form which he played at in college for Texas.

Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston, Wide Receiver

Although passes from Easton Stick didn’t help, Quentin Johnston had a disappointing rookie season, with only 431 yards and two scores in an offense where a Mike Williams injury should have given the solid-stature rookie more opportunities. With a starting spot secured and a healthy Justin Herbert passing the ball, Johnston can start his 2024 campaign fresh.

Kansas City Chiefs: Joshua Williams, Cornerback

A fourth-round selection in 2022, Joshua Williams played impressively in 2023, with 10 receptions allowed in 24 targets. With a large size for a defensive back at 6’3”, Williams could take the league by storm in 2024 if given significant defensive snaps.

Las Vegas Raiders: Zamir White, Running Back

Zamir White served as a dependable second option behind Josh Jacobs for Las Vegas in 2023, acquiring 451 yards and a score. With Jacobs departing for Green Bay, White can improve on these numbers as the main ball carrier for Antonio Pierce and his Raiders team.

Main Image: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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