With the preseason underway, don’t expect to see a lot of your favorite NFL stars – if they do play, it’ll likely only be for a quarter or two and they won’t be giving it 110%. For now, learn to appreciate the ‘come up’ as we watch hundreds of young players fight for their spot on a roster.
If you’re interested in watching the biggest, brightest, and most talented NFL stars, then don’t worry – the 2022 regular season is set to begin on September 8, 2022, when the defending champion Los Angeles Rams host the entertaining Buffalo Bills in the annual NFL Kickoff Game.
The season will feature 17 games for the second straight year, giving fans plenty of time to see their favorite NFL stars at work. It’s supposed to be an exciting season with a ton of familiar faces in new uniforms. Before you know it, we’ll be getting ourselves ready for the Super Bowl!
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Which NFL Stars Are Due for a Big Season?
There are NFL stars on both sides of the ball that are due to have a monster season in 2022 and there’s nothing better than trying to predict who those players are going to be. It’s what makes the start of the season so exciting – it could be anyone, even the least expected ones.
Last year, it was Aaron Rodgers who took home the MVP, Cooper Kupp who won Offensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt who was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Ja’Marr Chase who took home Rookie of the Year. They’re all in line to have an impressive year in 2022.
With that said, there are a lot of young NFL stars ready to breakout, veterans ready to prove their still worthy, and hundreds of players in-between that can surprise us at any moment. Without further ado, let’s take a close look at 25 NFL stars we expect to turn up this season.
25. CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb is a 23-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his third season with the Dallas Cowboys after being drafted 17th overall in 2020. In 32 career games played, he already has 153 receptions on 231 targets for 2,037 yards and 11 touchdowns. He will be the feature receiver for Dak Prescott, who has a lot to prove – so expect 120+ targets for Lamb this year.
24. Nick Bosa
Nick Bosa is a 24-year-old defensive end who’s entering his fourth season with the San Francisco 49ers after being drafted second overall in 2019. In 35 career games played, he has 105 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 24.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and one interception. He’s also coming off a career year that featured 15.5 sacks – so he’ll be hungry for more.
23. Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas is a 29-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his sixth season with the New Orleans Saints after being drafted 47th overall in 2016. In 70 career games played, he has 510 receptions for 5,950 yards and 32 touchdowns. He only played half a season in 2020 and missed all of last season due to injury, but he’s healthy and ready to return to dominant form.
22. Chandler Jones
Chandler Jones is a 32-year-old defensive end who’s entering his 11th season in the NFL and first with the Las Vegas Raiders after spending the past six years with the Arizona Cardinals. After only playing five games in 2020, Jones recorded 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. The Raiders are going to need every bit of that – and more – in a tough division.
21. Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews is a 26-year-old tight end who’s entering his fifth season with the Baltimore Ravens after being drafted by the team in the third round in 2018. He’s coming off a career year last season, finishing with 107 receptions, 1,361 yards, and nine touchdowns as he established himself as one of the league’s top-three tight ends. Expect him to play another big role in 2022.
20. T.J. Watt
T.J. Watt is a 27-year-old outside linebacker who’s entering his sixth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being drafted by the team 30th overall in 2017. In 77 games played, he has 294 tackles, 80 tackles for loss, 72.0 sacks, 22 forced fumbles, and four interceptions. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year finished with a career-high and league-leading 22.5 sacks last season.
19. Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel is a 26-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his fourth season with the San Francisco 49ers after being drafted by the team in the second round in 2019. He exploded for 77 catches, 1,405 receiving yards, 365 rushing yards, and 14 total touchdowns last season. He might have a new quarterback this year, but he’ll be heavily targeted in the pass and run game.
18. Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is a 38-year-old quarterback who’s entering his 18h season in the NFL – all of which with the Green Bay Packers. He has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in each of the past four seasons, throwing 136 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in that timeframe. He’s the two-time reigning MVP, so you know he’ll be looking to win his third-straight in 2022.
17. Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey is a 26-year old running back who’s entering his sixth season in the NFL – all of which with the Carolina Panthers since being taken eighth overall in 2017. In 58 games played, he has 3,587 rushing yards, 3,015 receiving yards (357 catches), and 47 total touchdowns. The only thing holding him back is the fact that he’s only played 10 games in the past two years.
16. Von Miller
Von Miller is a 33-year-old outside linebacker who’s entering his 11th season in the NFL and first with the Buffalo Bills since signing a six-year contract with the team this offseason. He’s expected to be the missing link to this explosive defense and will be providing a lot of pressure from the outside. Expectations are high as he looks to return to 2018 form, when he had 14.5 sacks.
15. Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce is a 32-year-old tight end who’s entering his 10th season in the NFL – all of which with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has had at least 83 catches, 1,100 yards, and four touchdowns in each of the past six seasons. With Tyreek Hill gone, Patrick Mahomes II is going to need even more of Kelce in the passing game. Expect 140+ targets for the tight end this season.
14. Cooper Kupp
Cooper Kupp is a 29-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his sixth season in the NFL – all of which with the Los Angeles Rams. He is coming off one of the best seasons ever recorded by a receiver, finishing the 2021 campaign with 145 catches, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns – he led the league in all three categories. It makes sense why he was the Offensive Player of the Year.
13. D’Andre Swift
D’Andre Swift is a 23-year-old running back who’s entering his third season with the Detroit Lions after being selected in the second round of the 2020 draft. In 26 games played, Swift has 1,138 yards rushing, 809 yards receiving, and 17 total touchdowns. He’s expected to play a large role in the Lions’ offense this season and could finish with 1,250+ yards and 10+ touchdowns.
12. Joe Mixon
Joe Mixon is a 26-year-old running back who’s entering his sixth season with the Cincinnati Bengals after being selected in the second round in 2017. In 2021, he set career-highs in rushing yards (1,205), receiving yards (314), total yards (1,519), rushing touchdowns (13), and total touchdowns (16). Expect similar numbers from the Bengals’ workhorse in the backfield.
11. Stefon Diggs
Stefon Diggs is a 28-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his eighth season in the NFL and third season with the Buffalo Bills. With Josh Allen as his quarterback, Diggs has 230 catches for 2,760 yards and 18 touchdowns in the past two seasons. Expect a big year from both Diggs and Gabriel Davis – defenses can only double one of them at a time.
10. Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack is a 31-year-old outside linebacker who’s entering his ninth season in the NFL and first season with the Los Angeles Chargers. He only played in seven games last season, but is due for a monster season – especially considering how stacked the Chargers’ defense is. He’ll have the ability to roam freely and I expect him to reach at least 10.0 sacks this year.
9. Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler is a 27-year-old running back who’s entering his sixth season in the NFL – all of which with the Los Angeles Chargers. In 16 games last season, he finished with 911 rushing yards, 647 receiving yards (70 catches), and 20 total touchdowns. He’ll play a similar role in the Chargers’ explosive offense this season and will likely finish with 1,500+ total yards and 14+ total touchdowns.
8. Davante Adams
Davante Adams is a 29-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his ninth season in the NFL and first season with the Las Vegas Raiders after spending the past eight years with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. He has recorded at least 115 catches, 1,374 yards, and 11 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. He should be able to mimic that with Derek Carr as his quarterback.
7. Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson is a 23-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his third season with the Minnesota Vikings since being drafted 22nd overall in 2020. He has recorded at least 88 catches (108 last year), 1,400 yards (1,616 last year), and 7 touchdowns (10 last year) in each of his first two seasons. He’ll likely improve upon his numbers this season as the clear No. 1.
6. Ja’Marr Chase
Ja’Marr Chase is a 22-year-old wide receiver who’s entering his second season with the Cincinnati Bengals since being drafted fifth overall in 2021. He was the clear-cut choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year last season, finishing with 81 catches, 1,455 yards, and 13 touchdowns with Joe Burrow as his QB. Expect more of that same output this season.
5. Najee Harris
Najee Harris is a 24-year-old running back who’s entering his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers since being drafted 24th overall by the team in 2021. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in his rookie season, finishing with 1,200 yards rushing, 467 yards receiving (74 catches), and 10 total touchdowns. He’s expected to play an even larger role in the Steelers’ offense in 2022.
4. Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor is a 23-year-old running back who’s entering his third season with the Indianapolis Colts since being drafted in the second round in 2020. He had a monster season last year, finishing with 1,811 yards rushing, 360 yards receiving (40 catches), and 20 total touchdowns. It’ll be hard to top that performance, but if anyone can do it, it’s Taylor.
3. Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert is a 24-year-old quarterback who’s entering his third season with the Los Angeles Chargers since being drafted sixth overall in 2020. He exploded for 5,014 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions last season, earning his first career Pro Bowl nod. He also added three touchdowns on the ground, finishing with 41 total touchdowns on the year – expect even more this season.
2. Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons is a 23-year-old outside linebacker who’s entering his second season with the Dallas Cowboys since being selected 12th overall in 2021. He was named the 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, finishing with 84 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, and three passes defensed. He’s going to be a man on a mission in 2022.
1. Josh Allen
Josh Allen is a 26-year-old quarterback who’s entering his fifth season with the Buffalo Bills since being selected seventh overall in 2018. He has thrown for at least 4,400 yards and 36 touchdowns the past two seasons, adding 1,184 yards on the ground and 14 rushing touchdowns in that span. There’s a reason he’s the frontrunner to win MVP in 2022.
Which NFL Stars Are You Keeping an Eye On?
According to Vegas Insider, the five NFL stars with the best odds of winning MVP this year are Josh Allen (+650), Patrick Mahomes (+750), Tom Brady (+800), Aaron Rodgers (+850), and Justin Herbert (+900). Do you think one of these quarterbacks has what it takes to win MVP?
As for Offensive Player of the Year, the NFL stars with the best odds include Jonathan Taylor, Cooper Kupp, Derrick Henry, Deebo Samuel, and Davante Adams. With that said, it could be none of the above, especially with the wide range of talent we’re seeing in the NFL today.
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Finally, the NFL stars with the best odds of winning Defensive Player of the Year include Myles Garrett, Aaron Donald, T.J. Watt, Micah Parsons, and Nick Bosa. To be honest, I would be surprised if one of those players doesn’t win – they’re in line to have monster seasons in 2022.
NFL Mini Camp Is Underway, Here Are 15 Star Athletes Who Will Be Wearing Different Jerseys This Year
On Monday, we got our first look at the 2022 NFL mini camp and it reminds us that we’re one step closer to the start of the regular season. Voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) came to a close last week as we’re in the third and final phase of the NFL offseason workout program.
The NFL mini camp phase is mandatory for players and while it still doesn’t include any live contact, the intensity level increases and you can see the players making strides in preparation for another season. Without the NFL mini camp, these players might risk poor play or injury.
With that said, this actually isn’t the first NFL mini camp of the offseason. The first one occurred in mid-May and was exclusive to rookies – known as the rookie minicamp. The one happening this week is different because it’s mandatory for all players – including veterans and rookies.
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Same Faces, Different Teams: NFL Mini Camp Edition
As the NFL mini camp and offseason as a whole progresses, we’ll continue to get a good look at all the familiar faces suiting up for not-so-familiar teams this season. After what was one of the most exciting and suspenseful offseasons, many players got shaken up pretty good this year.
We saw trades happen where we weren’t expecting them to happen, we saw players sign with franchises that weren’t on anyone’s radar, and we even saw a certain somebody come out of retirement – albeit a quick one for Tom Brady. It was an eventful offseason to say the least.
Rosters are going to look a lot different this year when teams start taking the field for preseason and eventually the regular season. Star players are going to have different logos on their jersey and since it might take some getting used to, let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy.
15. OT Terron Armstead
Terron Armstead is a 6-foot-5, 304-pound offensive tackle that spent the past nine years with the New Orleans Saints. For the first time in his career, he will suit up for a different team after signing a contract with the Miami Dolphins. He was a third-round draft pick of the Saints in 2013.
Armstead has been a mainstay on the Saints’ offensive line since 2014. He has recorded 93 starts in 97 games since entering the league and was named to three consecutive Pro Bowls between 2018 and 2020. He was riddled by injuries in 2021, snapping his Pro Bowl streak.
14. TE O.J. Howard
O.J. Howard is a 6-foot-6, 251-pound tight end that spent the past five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He left Tom Brady this offseason to join Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills and will likely be a top-two option for them at tight end – Dawson Knox currently holds the top spot.
During his five years with Tampa, Howard recorded 119 receptions on 180 targets, 1,737 yards, and 15 touchdowns. While he has never been to a Pro Bowl and only had 135 receiving yards last year, he does have plenty of playoff experience and even a Super Bowl ring on his finger.
13. QB Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz is a 6-foot-5, 237-pound starting quarterback that is entering his first season with the Washington Commanders. This will be Wentz’s third team in as many years after spending the first five years of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles – they drafted him second overall.
Over the past six seasons, Wentz has a 44-40-1 record as a starter. He has thrown 20,374 yards, 140 touchdowns, and 57 interceptions. He threw 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions last season, but struggled to consistently turn that into wins. He finished the year with a 9-8 record.
12. WR Juju Smith-Schuster
Juju Smith–Schuster is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound wide receiver that spent the past five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers – they drafted him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Over the offseason, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs to fill the void left by the Tyreek Hill trade.
Over the past five seasons, Smith-Schuster has recorded 323 receptions off 471 targets3,855 receiving yards, and 26 receiving touchdowns. He also added one rushing touchdown last season. Smith-Schuster can continue his search for a Super Bowl with Patrick Mahomes.
11. WR Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound wide receiver that was a second round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. After four years with them, he played four seasons with the Chicago Bears before joining the defending champion Los Angeles Rams this past offseason.
Over the past eight seasons, Robinson has recorded 495 receptions off 849 targets, 6,409 yards, and 40 touchdowns. He has recorded over 1,000 yards three times in his career, including a Pro Bowl season in 2015 where he recorded 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns.
10. CB J.C. Jackson
J.C. Jackson is a 6-foot-1, 198-pound cornerback that was signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He spent the past four seasons with the team and climbed his way up to starting cornerback, but will enter the new season with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Over the past four years, Jackson has recorded 158 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries, 25 interceptions, 53 passes defensed, and 1 defensive touchdown. He has 17 interceptions over the past two seasons, in which he started 28 games for the Patriots.
9. LB Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack is a 6-foot-3, 267-pound outside linebacker that was drafted fifth overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2014. After four dominant seasons, he was traded to the Chicago Bears and spent four decent years there. He was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason.
Over the past eight seasons, Mack has recorded 467 tackles, 103 tackles for loss, 76.5 sacks, 23 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions, 22 passes defensed, and 2 defensive touchdowns. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler and was the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year.
8. DE Chandler Jones
Chandler Jones is a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end that was drafted 21st overall by the New England Patriots in 2012. After four seasons and one title he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals and spent the past six years with the team. He now joins the Las Vegas Raiders.
Over the past 10 seasons, Jones has recorded 473 tackles, 118 tackles for loss, 107.5 sacks, 33 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, 27 passes defensed, and 1 defensive touchdown. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler and member of the Hall of Fame All-2010s Team.
7. WR Amari Cooper
Amari Cooper is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound wide receiver that was a fourth round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2015. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and spent the past 3.5 seasons with the team. This offseason, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a fresh start.
Over the past seven years, Cooper has recorded 517 receptions on 818 targets, 7,076 yards, and 46 touchdowns. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler and came third in the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. With 865 yards last year, he’s coming off his worst season since 2017.
6. QB Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound starting quarterback that has been under a lot of criticism over the past year. He hasn’t played since the end of the 2020 season and despite being traded to the Cleveland Browns this offseason, we don’t know if he’ll play this season.
With over 20 lawsuits filed against him for sexual misconduct and the NFL currently launching an investigation, there’s a good chance the three-time Pro Bowler gets suspended for at least a part of this season. Either way, he looks forward to playing for his new team and new city.
5. LB Von Miller
Von Miller is a 6-foot-3, 250-pound outside linebacker that will be playing for his third team in the past two seasons. After spending 9.5 seasons with the Denver Broncos, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams midway through last season – where he won his second Super Bowl.
Miller has 540 tackles, 154 tackles for loss, 115.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 26 forced fumbles, 9 fumble recoveries, 22 passes defensed, and 2 defensive touchdowns. He joins the Buffalo Bills where he looks to win another Super Bowl with a team many consider as the favorite this year.
4. WR A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown is a 6-foot-1, 226-pound wide receiver that was a second round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2019. He spent the past three seasons with the team and was ready for a large contract extension, but they decided to trade him on draft night to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Over the past three years, Brown has recorded 185 receptions on 295 targets, 2,995 yards, and 24 touchdowns. He also had 70 yards and one touchdown on the ground. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2020 and even came in third in the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year award voting.
3. WR Tyreek Hill
Tyreek Hill is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound wide receiver that was a fifth round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. He had a breakout year in 2017 and has been one of the best receivers in the league ever since. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
Over the past six seasons with the Chiefs, Hill has recorded 479 receptions on 708 targets, 6,630 yards, and 56 touchdowns. He also added 719 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. He won a Super Bowl, made it to the Pro Bowl every year, and is a three-time All-Pro player.
2. WR Davante Adams
Davante Adams is a 6-foot-1, 215-pound wide receiver that was a second-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2014. After eight seasons with the team, he was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason because the Packers didn’t want to pay him what he deserved.
Over the past eight years, Adams has recorded 669 receptions on 1,012 targets, 8,121 yards, and 73 touchdowns. He led the league with 18 touchdowns in 2020 and has five seasons with more than 10 touchdowns. He also has more than 1,300 yards in three of the past four years.
1. QB Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson is a 5-foot-11, 215-pound starting quarterback that was a third-round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. After 10 seasons with the team, he was traded to the Denver Broncos this offseason for a haul of picks and players. It’s the change in scenery he needed.
Over the past 10 years, Wilson has led the Seahawks to a 104-53-1 record, 3,079 completions, 65% completion percentage, 37,059 yards, 292 touchdowns, and 87 interceptions. He also has 4,689 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground, as well as a receiving touchdown in 2016.
What Happens After NFL Mini Camp?
By the end of the week, all NFL teams will be done with their mandatory NFL mini camp and we can start to turn our attention to training camp – when things start to really get serious. Training camp usually starts in mid-to-late July, though the exact dates have yet to be announced.
After training camp, teams will go through a brief, three-game preseason before the regular season kicks off with the defending champion Los Angeles Rams hosting the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills. The game will be played at 5:20pm on Thursday, September 8, 2022.
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For now, let’s enjoy the sights and sounds of NFL mini camp and start to predict what each team’s 53-man roster might look like come Week 1. A lot will happen between now and then, so let’s see who knows their team the best. Don’t worry, time always flies when you’re having fun!
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