The first half of the NFL season is still underway, but it won't be long before we reach the midway point.

Some players have yet to reach their full potential this year, whether that's because they have failed to produce up to their usual standards, haven't lived up to their draft hype or simply haven't had the opportunity to showcase their skills.

These talented players can still turn things around. With three months remaining before the regular season ends, there is ample time to put together a breakout campaign.

With that in mind, here is a look at the top candidates to shrug off a poor start and finish the season strong.


TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

After a slow start to his NFL career, Kyle Pitts finally appears on his way to having a much-anticipated break-out year.

The rookie tight end had only 15 receptions for 189 yards during the first four games of his career, but the No. 4 overall pick exploded during the Atlanta Falcons' trip to London last week.

Pitts had easily the best performance of his career, going off for 119 yards and a score on nine catches against the Jets. The 119 receiving yards were the third most by a rookie TE in the last two decades.'s Gil Brandt pointed that Pitts is nearly on pace to break Mike Ditka's longstanding rookie tight end receiving record.

Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan believes there will be plenty more big games from Pitts in the future, per ESPN's Michael Rothstein.

Pitts, who just turned 21 this past week, claimed that his patience was rewarded with a big day.

It took a month, but the Florida product is living up to the hype and ready to have a huge finish to the 2021 campaign.


TE Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots

Jonnu Smith was one of the New England Patriots' marquee free agency signings, but the veteran tight end has thus far been a disappointing pickup.

The Pats struggled to get production from the tight end spot last year—Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene and Ryan Izzo combined for 254 yards and one touchdown—making it a priority to overhaul the position for 2021. The club dished out a four-year, $50 million deal to Smith and also inked fellow veteran TE Hunter Henry to a three-year, $37.5 million contract. 

Henry has been the far more productive tight end this season. He's established an early rapport with rookie quarterback Mac Jones, catching 22 balls for 241 yards and three touchdowns.