NFC West Player Watch: The Top 10 Breakout Candidates for 2009

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NFC West Player Watch: The Top 10 Breakout Candidates for 2009
(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

When wide-eyed rookies catch their first glimpse of NFL life, the result is oftentimes overwhelming.

The National Football League is the ultimate destination of America’s premier football players and home to the upper echelon of elite, all-world athletes.

Running quarterbacks can no longer outrun the linebackers, while passing quarterbacks can no longer throw into triple coverage or lock onto their targets.

Tall, yet non-agile wide receivers cease to out-muscle NFL cornerbacks, while track-running receivers fail to run by them.

Big-bodied defensive linemen can no longer simply bull rush through the offensive line, while speed rushers cannot run around the nimble ballerina-like feet of NFL offensive tackles.

Needless to say, the very methods that brought these athletes collegiate greatness may be their eventual downfall in the NFL.

If lucky, former MVPs will be backups, and All-Americans will make all-practice squad.

In addition to the physical trials and tribulations, the mental capacity required of NFL athletes is nothing short of Einstoneous (think adjective of Einstein).

Lengthy NFL playbooks make collegiate playbooks look like Cliff Notes. The terminology sounds like a dead language, and a single play call has more nonsensical words than a Shakespearean sonnet.

Then there’s the lifestyle.

To many NFL athletes who came from middle to lower class backgrounds, the fortunes of an NFL contract will feel like winning the lottery.

As the great Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”

Despite possessing grammatical content that would make a high school English teacher cry, the song speaks the truth—money is like a growth hormone to mischievous behavior.

It is for this reason that young NFL athletes are just as ill-prepared on the field as they are off of it.

As these young adults become seasoned by the man-producing factory known as the NFL, they begin to adjust to the speed, complexities, and distractions of their surroundings.

It is once these adjustments are made that NFL athletes can become the explosive and stat-producing players their team envisioned on draft day.

The NFC West is full of overshadowed yet high potential players that are bursting to make their way into the spotlight.

Look for late round gems like these to win fantasy football leagues come the month of December.

Like my former adolescent complexion, the following 10 NFC West athletes are primed for breakout seasons in 2009.

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