The Steelers have a good crop of players that are ready to take the next step in 2020 and become breakout players and quality starters
Every season a new crop of talent takes that vital step and becomes a starter on their team. For the Steelers, that is no different, and since they typically build through the draft, there are usually a handful of players who make sense as breakout candidates. This year is no different, as a group of players seemed primed to have their best season in the NFL to date.
What does it mean to break out in the NFL though? Simply put, breaking out will be your best season in the pros to that point, as well as having that best season while qualifying as a starter in some way. Take 2016 Ryan Shazier or 2013 Antonio Brown: both players had found some success, but they suddenly catapulted themselves into the next tier of player. They made that transition from good to great and became staples on the Steelers.
Not all breakouts have to equate to complete dominance. If a former reserve or player on a downward trend can suddenly hold down the starting spot while also adding some decent numbers for their position, I would count that as breaking out. Every player on a roster can’t be elite, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t break out candidates.
Finally, a breakout candidate can’t be a rookie or sophomore in the NFL. For rookies, it’s the first year in the league, so that is the only year to grade them off. Ideally, their first year won’t be their best year. As for second-year guys, while the jump they take should be better than their rookie season, that is expected due to them having a full year under their belt. While a second-year player like Diontae Johnson and Devin Bush should have better years than their first, this still shouldn’t be their breakout year (expect them on this list next year).