This article is part of our Football Draft Kit series.
Sustained breakthroughs are less common than one might expect, considering the inherently high rate of player turnover in the NFL. While the league's middling commodities are cycled in and out, there are usually only a few players each year who vault themselves into the league's upper tiers and stay there throughout a full season. Sure, there will always be a few no-name running backs who enjoy productive stretches as a result of injuries to teammates, but most of these players disappear just as quickly as they burst onto the scene.
What we're looking for when discussing potential "breakout players" is significant jumps in value that can be sustained throughout the 2017 season – last year's WR3 becoming a WR1, or last year's bench/waiver fodder emerging as a solid RB2. The nature of the exercise is such that most of the players listed won't truly break out, as we're looking for guys who have some chance to take a huge step forward and massively outperform their average draft position (ADP) or auction price, rather than the players with the best chance to improve a little and outperform their ADP by a round or two. While that second type of player is still worth targeting, the name of this particular game isn't subtle, steady improvement.
Ideally, these players will be drafted/priced in line with their production in previous seasons, but some inevitably will garner summer hype and eventually be valued at a level beyond what they've ever produced on the field. We