The NFL had its fair share of players who burst onto the scene in the 2019 season. This includes players like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray as well George Kittle. With the NFL having star players on the rise, some players regressed. The regression that was made was out of nowhere. As the 2020-21 season comes along, there are 3 players who are destined for the Comeback Player of the Year award.
1: James Connor
James Connor had a stellar 2018-19 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finished with 973 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, as well as having 497 receiving yards out of the backfield. His performance led him to a pro bowl selection in only his second season. Unlike some other players in the NFL, the downfall this season did not come from attitude. The injury bug hit him like a semi-truck. Connor had knee injuries since the season started and he missed 4 games this season. Not only that, he didn’t start any games this season due to his injury concerns. Almost every game, he ended up leaving the game and not being able to return. Now that the off-season is here, Connor should look to win the Comeback Player of the Year. His numbers have always been good and if the injury plague does not strike, he should be able to be a key role for the Steelers.
2: Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell has always been one of the top running backs in the league. He is a 3 time pro-bowler as well as being named to the all-pro team twice. Bell has shown his potential and proved why he is one of the best in the game. Bell has rushed for over 1,000 yards 3-times during his 7 year career. After his contract dispute with the Steelers, Bell got signed with the New York Jets. Many thought this would be his time to prove himself again. However that was not the case. Bell started 15 games and only had 789 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns for the season. The numbers that the former pro-bowler put up were nothing short of underwhelming. This was also the first season for Bell in a new system. Hopefully after this season, Bell can legitimize his place on the best running back hierarchy again, and win the Comeback Player of the Year.
3: Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield last season with the Browns had maybe the most underwhelming season in quite some time. In his rookie season, Mayfield posted 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and passed for 3,725 yards. With no legitimate head coach and no real weapons besides Jarvis Landry that season, Mayfield showed a lot of promise. Then during that off-season, the Browns were able to land Odell Beckham Jr. and saw the emergence of Nick Chubb in the backfield.
Everything seemed to play right into the hands of Baker, until the regular season showed up. There were huge expectations as a potential AFC championship appearance and even a Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately though none of those ended up happening. Sure Mayfield had more passing yards, but had less touchdowns and more interceptions. Even with more weapons, there was a regression. The new head coach Freddie Kitchens did not help Mayfield at all. Through interviews, it seemed that Kitchens thought that he wasn’t performing good enough. Once the season ended, the Browns replaced Kitchens with the Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski spent 14 years with the Vikings and has always had an offensive mind. That mind should help Mayfield find areas of his game where he can improve. He will have a good runway to win Comeback Player of the Year because, of a head coach who knows how to run an elite offense.