It happens every season. A player who had previously lived in the background suddenly pushes his way into the limelight. In 2012, Colin Kaepernick came off the bench and led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. Who will it be this year? It's time to find out. Here are the Top 10 Breakout Players for 2013. -- Ross Jones and Sid Saraf
The Ravens suffered a blow when starting tight end Dennis Pitta went down with a season-ending injury. However, people seem to forget that Dickson and Pitta entered the league in the same year (2010) and it was the former who received the lion's share of the playing time at first. With Pitta out, Dickson slides into the starting role and is still a big target for quarterback Joe Flacco. Something tells us his production is going to increase exponentially in 2013.
The Rams' second-year running back looks to carry a majority of the load while veteran Steven Jackson has jettisoned to Atlanta. Richardson made the most of his 98 carries in 2012, averaging 4.8 yards a pop.
The Saints couldn't have been happier to sign the free-agent cornerback away from the Steelers. In fact, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Lewis, a fifth-year pro, was the best defensive free agent in 2013. "He’s got so much ability. The sky is the limit for this guy. He’s going to be fantastic for us. We’re so excited about him. He’s smart, he’s tough, he’s long. And he’s a local hero. You’ve got to love this guy," Ryan said. That about sums it up.
Jeffery sustained a couple of injuries during his rookie season, but has reportedly established himself as the No. 2 wide receiver in Chicago. If quarterback Jay Cutler can stay upright, the Bears offense could be dangerous.
The linebacker was a relatively unheralded third-round pick in 2012, but quickly rose to prominence. Thrown into the mix, Davis turned heads with his nose for the football. In 2013, he's expected to take on more of a leadership role with Gang Green, which is good because that team really needs people to take control.
The Dolphins second-year running back looks to make the most of his opportunity as the lead back. Last season, Miller split time with Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Jorvorskie Lane. Now, Miller will handle a majority of the load and could even be a factor in the passing game.
Vereen could very well be New England's x-factor as the prepare to play without some familiar pass catchers.
The loss of Sean Lee to a toe injury was devastating to the Cowboys in 2012, but the fourth-year linebacker looks to be 100 percent. Lee could be a major factor in Monte Kiffin's Tampa-2 defense if he can stay healthy.
The second-year safety struggled at times during his rookie season, but 2013 is looking up. Why? Because the Buccaneers added cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson during the offseason, making the team's secondary its most solid unit. Expect Barron to be freed up to do what he does best: play close to the line of scrimmage and be a terror against the run.
The Broncos have three running backs vying for the starting job this year. However, it's Hillman, the second-year guy out of San Diego State, who has grabbed control of the competition. He packed on a reported 20 pounds of muscle in the gym this offseason and is looking sharp. In fact, he's already listed in the top spot on the depth chart. Look for Hillman to do some great things and to rise high in fantasy drafts.