This NFL season has had plenty of highs and lows, with plenty of breakout players exceeding expectations while others have disappointed. As we near the end of the season, things are likely to really start getting exciting as teams battle for playoff spots. Every player on this list plays for a team that has something to play for down the stretch, and that should give them extra motivation to keep up their play from the season to this point. Without further ado, here are the six biggest overachievers of the NFL season so far in no particular order.
Case Keenum, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Throughout his career heading into this season, Case Keenum has earned a reputation as a good player- not quite starting material, but a guy that can come in and hold down the fort for a few games. This season, however, Keenum has turned that narrative upside down. Taking over for an injured Sam Bradford after week one, Keenum has played lights out football and Minnesota sits at 9-2 because of it. If he continues to make solid decisions and maximize the talent around him, Keenum could take the Vikings far.
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz had a promising rookie season last year, but absolutely nobody saw him becoming the MVP candidate he is so far this season. Wentz has guided his team to a 10-1 record so far and with 28 touchdowns to just five interceptions, the young quarterback is the biggest reason for Philadelphia’s surge. It’s rare to see a young quarterback play so well early in his career, and it’s clear the Eagles landed a special talent in this guy.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Keenum’s favorite target, Adam Thielen has taken his game to another level this season. The young receiver already is over the 1000 yard mark this season, and no matter who he goes up against he seems to put up huge numbers. With excellent route-running, athleticism, and great hands, Thielen has launched himself among the best players at the position in 2017.
Kevin Byard, S, Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have been a bit inconsistent as a team this season, but one thing that hasn’t been inconsistent is the play of safety Kevin Byard. The second-year safety has been solid in all facets of his game, stuffing the run with regularity and playing extremely well in the passing game. With a league-leading six interceptions so far on the season, Byard has exceeded all expectations and is a legitimate defensive building block for Tennessee.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
What a difference an adequate offensive coach can make huh? Just last season Goff looked like he was on track to be an all-time bust, but now he looks like one of the league’s most promising prospects at the quarterback position. Goff always had the talent to be something special but made some very poor decisions with the football in his rookie campaign. With an improved mental game this season, Goff has been one of the league’s most surprising players.
Everson Griffen, DE, Minnesota Vikings
Everson Griffen has been a good pass-rusher for a long time, but this season is his best effort yet. With a league-leading 12 sacks already, Griffen is making opposing linemen look silly on a weekly basis with his array of moves and explosiveness off the snap. Although he doesn’t get the same recognition as other top pass-rushers, Griffen has shown us exactly how talented he is during this campaign.