The great thing about the NFL is that there are so many positions that every year, there is almost always at least one player who has a breakout year on every team, no matter how good or bad the team is. This is one part in a 32 part segment detailing one potential breakout player for the 2013 NFL season on each NFL team. For the Tennessee Titans, that player is wide receiver Kenny Britt.
In 2010, Kenny Britt, then a 2nd year receiver out of Rutgers and a former 1st round pick, caught 42 passes for 775 yards and 9 touchdowns. Those were impressive numbers for a 2nd year receiver, but even more impressive is that he did that in just 12 games and that he was just scratching the surface of his potential. Those numbers extrapolate to 56 catches for 1033 yards and 12 touchdowns over 16 games. Heading into his 3rd year in the league, frequently a breakout year for receiver, the 6-3 218 receiver with 4.56 speed looked poised for a breakout year in 2011, what was only his age 23 season.
Britt looked to be on his way to that breakout year early, but he tore his ACL midway through week 3 and finished the year with 17 catches for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns, impressive stats for 2 ½ games, but hardly what was expected of him. The following off-season, he got arrested again, bringing his career arrest total to 8, which earned him a one game suspension. He also had knee surgeries on both knees and was overall unprepared for the 2012 season. Despite his #1 receiver talent, he played the 3rd most pass snaps among wide receivers on the team, playing just 413 of 644 possible pass snaps. He did not play well when he did play, catching just 45 passes for 589 yards and 4 touchdowns, despite a career high 90 targets.
Now Britt is at a crossroads in his career, heading into the final year of his rookie contract. The writing is on the wall after the team used a 1st round pick on Kendall Wright, a receiver from Baylor, in 2012, and a 2nd round pick on Justin Hunter, a receiver from Tennessee, in 2013. However, he remains a starter and the #1 receiver job is his if he wants it. Nate Washington is not expected to make the team unless he takes a paycut, so there will be an opening. Britt is a more talented and experienced receiver than both of the young receivers. He has all the talent and he doesn’t even turn 25 until September. So far, he hasn’t gotten hurt or arrested this off-season and reports about him have all been positive, that he finally has things together.
If that continues, he’ll be over a year removed from any arrests or surgeries when week 1 comes around. If he puts everything together and plays all or most of his team’s games, he’s fully capable of having a thousand yard season or more. Quarterback play is a concern, but Jake Locker should be a little bit better, at least, going into his 3rd year in the league and Britt has posted big time per game receiving numbers in the past with Matt Hasselbeck, Kerry Collins, and Rusty Smith throwing him the football.
It seems like I’ve been predicting a breakout year for Britt for each of the past 3 off-seasons, but if he keeps up this off-season, he may finally have one. Or this season could go the opposite way for him. He could get passed on the depth chart by both young receivers and work only as a 3rd receiver and not be welcomed back as a free agent this off-season. This season is as make or break as it gets for a former 1st round pick and it’ll all be on him how it turns out. For the time being, it looks promising and I’m leaning towards breakout.