Run a search on Google or any major website that covers the National Football League, and you’re bound to find a list of projected breakout players for the upcoming season. As the offseason has toiled along, many NFL analysts have tried their hand at predicting who will become the new stars of the league in 2014.
These projections can be of interest to many people. Fans of specific franchises want to know who will stand out for their favorite teams this year. Fantasy football aficionados want to know which unheralded players could be steals in their respective drafts. And coaches around the league try to determine which opposing players could affect their game plans.
This has led, however, to just about every young player coming off a promising 2013 season—and even some players who didn’t but are still seen as having the potential to be great—being expected to have a breakout season in 2014. Indubitably, many of them will fall short of expectations.
Until the games begin, there’s no way to know for sure which players are actually on the verge of greatness. But among the players receiving pre-training camp hype, some are more likely to be on the verge of greatness than others.
In the following slides, we’ll look at one writer’s take on which projected rising stars are the most and least likely to succeed this year. Examples are drawn from NFL.com’s Making the Leap countdown and CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco’s list of 25 players expected to break out.