It seems like every year we have several players who achieve results far above and beyond what was expected of them.
These are labeled "Breakout Players".
Last year some rookies broke out, as well as players like Nnamdi Asomugha, who seemingly appeared over-night.
So now, who are the breakout stars of the upcoming season?
Only time will tell, but I feel I have a pretty good guess.
Matt Schaub was hounded all last season by nagging injuries. Without a consistent quarterback, Texans' wide-out Andre Johnson still posted the best numbers from any receiver last season, with 115 catches, 1,575 yards and eight touchdowns.
With Johnson, Steve Slaton, Kevin Walter, and Owen Daniels, on top of an underrated offensive line, the Texans could potentially compete for the AFC South crown.
If they can all stay healthy, expect huge numbers from Matt in '09-'10.
Let's face it, the Seattle Seahawks are in a very winnable division.
With a healthy Matt Hasselback, anything is possible for this team.
A lot of the Seahawks' success, however, could hinge on young do-it-all TE, John Carlson.
Some would argue Carlson broke out last season, but really he only cemented himself as a threat. With this season, the young man could find his way into the elite level of tight ends.
Seattle appears to be in good shape, but they really lack a true number two receiver. Their best option, at the moment, is NFL Draft Bust Nate Burleson, who is still being handed dough from his rookie contract.
Matt will need someone to throw the ball to, other than Burleson and free-agent pick up T. J. Houshmanzedeh.
If the Seahawks are going to contend, they will need huge numbers from this young phenomenon.
Is there anyone hotter then this un-drafted running back?
BenJarvus Green-Ellis posted huge numbers in the pre-season, causing New England to leave five running backs on the roster.
With Sammy Morris, Lawrence Marroney, Fred Taylor, and main-stay Kevin Faulk already on board, it doesn't make much sense to keep this young stud on the roster—unless he's really good.
Anyone who seen him play in this preseason could tell you how good he is. With Lawrence Marroney appearing to be more bust then boom, it makes sense to keep him.
There are various rumors about the Patriots trading Sammy Morris, and that would be great for Green-Ellis.
Fred Taylor isn't exactly the world's healthiest running back, and on top of that, Kevin Faulk has never been an every down back.
So don't be surprised if NFL teams see a lot of BenJarvus this season.
Normally on lists like this, you won't see defensive players, but I feel it's due.
Labeled a bust, Michael Huff was supposed to be the next safety phenomenon coming out of the University of Texas.
When I heard that Richard Seymour was going to Oakland, I immediately thought of Michael Huff. With the havoc that Seymour can cause in the backfield, I don't mind sticking out my neck for Huff.
As long as the defense stay healthy, this team could be a challenge moving forward.
With a solid defense, a hard working running game, a good tight-end, and a lot of fast wide-outs, JaMarcus Russell will have to try to fail.
Although you can't rule that out in Oakland, I don't think it's going to happen.
Oakland is the hot pick to surprise everyone. They're in the easiest division in football, so why not pick Oakland? Well, other than their recent losing track record that is...
But again, I'll stick out my neck. I'm proud of the improvements Al Davis has made. I won't say they're going to win the division, or make the play-offs, but they're certainly working in the right direction.
Hopefully Russell doesn't disappoint me.
When Marvin Harrison was released, it capped the end of an era in Indianapolis.
Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday, and Reggie Wayne are the notable players left from the offense that made defensive coordinators plan months in advance.
Edgerin James was replaced by Joseph Addai. Tarik Glenn was replaced by Tony Ugoh.
Marvin Harrison will be replaced by Anthony Gonzalez.
While the offense is still something to plan for, it's hardly the one that took over where The Greatest Show on Turf left off.
In one of the toughest divisions in football, the Colts will need a huge year from Anthony to compete with Houston and Tennessee.
Matthew Stafford was the number one pick in the offseason. But none of the reasons he was drafted go into the decision to say he will have a break-out season.
It's not his arm strength. It's not his touch. It's not his awareness in the pocket, or his leadership. It's none of the great things you look for in quarterbacks. Any guesses?
MEGATRON. Yep. The coolest nickname in football is the reason Matt Stafford will have success early. With a 6'5 target like Calvin Johnson, Matt could have a great career...if the line can hold up.
I think Matt Stafford will lead the Lions into a winning season—a moral win that is.
Four or five wins, is my bet. But that's four or five more then last year.
Devin Hester is the most feared return-man in the NFL. What more could he do to break out? Well, with the arrival of the gun-slinging Jay Cutler, Devin Hester could possibly become a legitimate threat at the wide-out position.
Hester, who will likely start along side Earl Bennett, could easily be turned into a deep-ball threat, if you can work on his hands.
I don't know a lot about Earl Bennett, but I would like to say that Jay Cutler has made stars out of people no one had heard of before (See Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler) already.
I think with all of the success possible, that the Bears will probably end the season in third place in the NFC North, behind the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.
Once upon a time, the Rams were the best team in the NFL.
No I'm not joking!
Probably the most heralded offense of all time, the Rams have been forced to rebuild. Since Torry Holt and Issac Bruce passed their primes, the Rams have been looking for someone to take over.
They might have found that person, in young wide-out Donnie Avery.
With the offseason's goal being a revamped line, we could see a whole new offense in St. Louis. It will likely be focused around Steven Jackson, but Avery will benefit.
If the Rams bust, be ready for Avery in 2010-2011, after the Rams draft one of the four possible "Franchise" Quarterbacks in that draft.
Kellen Winslow was once considered among the best Tight Ends in the NFL.
Until last season, Kellen Winslow Jr and former teammate Braylon Edwards were considered two of the biggest threats in all of football, not to mention the only reason to watch a Browns' game.
I find it hard to believe that both Edwards and Winslow suddenly lost all of their talent. But with Braylon still being hindered by...being a Brown I expect Winslow Jr. to be the breakout player of the year.
A lot of things go into this decision. The fact he will play the Saints and the Falcons twice a year, each, is a huge reason. Facts are facts, and both teams are weak on the defensive side of the ball.
Another reason I feel he will be the Breakout Player of the Year, is that Byron Leftwich doesn't really have a lot of passing options.
Sure, the Buccaneers have three solid Running Backs, but other then Kellen Winslow, they really have only one threat through the air—1,000 yard receiver Antonio Bryant.
I expect huge things from Kellen Winslow Jr in 2009-2010.
15. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (Running Back)
14. Kenny Phillips, New York Giants (Safety)
13. Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers (Inside Linebacker)
12. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Running Back)
11. Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers (Wide Receiver)