Yes, you read that title right. With MLB opening day around the corner, I decided to incorporate a theme of America’s past-time in the article.
A home run hitter in football is someone who can shift momentum with an unbelievable play in the blink of an eye, similar to how one swing of the bat can transform the outcome of a baseball game. In this article, I will list my favorite big-play threats in the NFL and detail exactly what makes them so explosive.
While this slugger is yet to appear in the playoffs, Justin Herbert has all the attributes of an NFL “home run hitter.” The quarterback completed just his second year in the NFL in 2021 but has already asserted himself as one of the strongest arms in football.
Herbert broke Chargers’ franchise single-season record for passing yards and touchdowns and is not afraid to push the ball down the field. His 208 completions of 10+ yards ranked 1st in 2021 and was on the passing end of some of the most exciting plays all year.
Few words can be used to describe this 250-pound tractor-trailer of a halfback, so I usually refer to him as Thanos. “The Mad Titan” is the NFL’s king at generating long-running plays and is one of two players in NFL history with a 99-yard rush.
In 2020, Henry was responsible for the most recent 2000 yard season on the ground and still finished in the top 10 in 2021 despite not playing a game after Halloween. It is rare to find a running back larger than most linebackers, and he has the speed to run past defensive backs as well.
This article would not be complete if I did not include football’s fastest athlete. The newest member of the Miami Dolphins is a human highlight reel and is a nightmare wherever he lines up, whether on offense or special teams.
Hill leads the NFL in 20mph touches, meaning he reached a top speed of over 20 miles an hour more often than any other player. Once a defender sees the “Cheetah” throw up the peace sign, they know they are toast.
While not quite the “home run hitter” he was in his prime, Desean Jackson is a legend when it comes to explosive plays. The speedy veteran receiver eclipsed Jerry Rice’s record for most 50+ yard touchdowns in a career, doing so in five fewer seasons.
Jackson has been on four teams in the past five years and is there to provide a vertical presence to whatever offense requires his services, even at his old age of 35. He was still able to haul in two fifty-yard touchdowns in 2021, including one on Thanksgiving against a familiar NFC East rival, the Dallas Cowboys.
Home run hitters can come on defense too! The NFL‘s current sack King is no stranger to explosive plays, as Watt is a consistent turnover machine on Pittsburgh’s defense. The Defensive Player of the Year forced five fumbles in his most recent campaign and led all defensive linemen in batted passes as well.
Watt’s greatest plays likely came against the Kansas City Chiefs in this year’s wildcard round, where the edge rusher forced two early turnovers and scored a touchdown of his own. Even though the ball is not meant to touch his hands, T.J. Watt continues to disrupt opposing offenses with game-changing “home run” plays.