Philadelphia Eagles fans probably aren't too preoccupied with who might break out in 2012, mainly because the Eagles are a veteran team that is instead hoping that its starters and key contributors can live up to expectations.
The majority of the Philly players who will factor into the 2012 season have already broken out.
Still, there will inevitably be some letdowns and some injuries, and thus the Eagles will have to rely upon at least a few players who have yet to prove themselves. Here are five unproven Eagles who are strong candidates to break out and become quality players in 2012.
Eagles fans are simply hoping that at least one of the three players currently in the safety mix breaks out in 2012, because that's arguably the weakest position on the roster. A second-round pick in 2010, Allen showed glimpses as a rookie but has struggled to make a consistent impact and stay healthy early in his career. Still, he's the most viable breakout candidate in the defensive backfield, because 2011 second round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett doesn't appear to be ready to start and Kurt Coleman has limitations.
Allen will start at free safety and try to maintain the momentum he built with some quality performances late in 2011. In his third season, he could emerge as a key contributor.
The team's top draft pick in 2011 had a real slow start to his career, but the lockout has to take some of the blame for that. When he did finally get his footing, Watkins struggled with consistency but did have some good moments.
With a full offseason of hard work under offensive line guru Howard Mudd, the 27-year-old has a real shot at kicking things up a notch and becoming a tremendous starter from the get-go in 2012.
I know it's strange to list a rookie as a potential breakout player, but the NFL-ready Kendricks -- a second-round pick in April -- might not require any time to break out. The reigning Pac-12 defensive player of the year is tentatively slated to start on the strong side, and the chips won't be stacked against him in the same way the were with Casey Matthews one year ago.
He's a jack-of-all-trades linebacker who has the speed and tackling ability to give the Philly defense something it lacked in 2011, and he has already been dazzling coaches and the media in the offseason program. The Cal product might be a darkhorse defensive rookie of the year candidate.
If Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie doesn't succeed as a No. 2 corner, or if DRC or Nnamdi Asomugha go down at any point, it could be Marsh who is first to step in and start on the outside.
That's because the Eagles have a lot of quality slot corners -- including rookie fourth-round pick Brandon Boykin -- but Marsh might be best suited to gain reps against top-end receivers. The raw 2011 third-round pick out of Utah State wasn't ready to contribute to a loaded secondary last year, but there's room for a big leap this offseason.
I'll admit that I'm not overly confident in Matthews based on his horrific performance early last season, but again, he'll have a full offseason this time.
And while the addition of DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks makes the linebacking corps much more crowded, the 2011 fourth-round pick will still have a chance to compete with Brian Rolle and Jamar Chaney for starting reps.
Matthews certainly has the pedigree, and he has apparently bulked up while working this offseason with big brother Clay.