Five second-year breakout players

Alshon Jeffery among five players who could have big second seasons

Originally Published: May 22, 2013
By Matt Bowen | Special to ESPN Insider
Alshon JefferyJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesAlshon Jeffery could be ready to play a bigger role for the Chicago Bears this season.

During my seven years in the NFL, I saw players make the biggest gains in development going into their second seasons as pros. Look at it this way: There are no more on-campus workouts, 40 times or short shuttles as they prep for the draft. Instead, the focus is on functional football training in the offseason to improve strength and speed with an attention to detail in the film room that allows these players to mature as pro athletes.

Let's examine five second-year players who could be primed for a breakout season:

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

With Marc Trestman now running the offense and bringing his West Coast playbook to Chicago, look for Jeffery to have an impact role in his second season. While the former South Carolina product isn't a pure vertical threat outside of the numbers (plays a 4.6 speed on tape), he is a fit for Trestman's scheme due to his size (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) and his ability to run intermediate inside-breaking cuts that put stress on a defender's initial leverage.

Matt Bowen

Special to ESPN Insider
Former NFL safety Matt Bowen is a veteran of four teams over seven seasons, and now provides analysis for a number of media outlets.