NFL New York Jets

5 New York Jets Breakout Candidates in 2013

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5 New York Jets Breakout Candidates in 2013

Jets
Into-Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that expectations are low for the New York Jets next season. Offensive weaknesses have been spoken about extensively. Decision making in the front office was criticized especially as results worsened. When gauging New York’s roster during the 2012 campaign, a clear lack of talent appeared. Several reasons contributed to this problem.

Once a dominant enforcer, middle linebacker Bart Scott experienced a sharp decline. Scott’s 60 combined tackles were his lowest total since 2004. The bravado that exemplified New York’s defense turned simply to words that could not be justified. Scott’s release came as little surprise and marked a new way of thinking.

Former general manager Mike Tannenbaum enjoyed acquiring big-name players near the end of their careers. Ladainian Tomlinson brought experience for two seasons before giving way to Father Time. Kris Jenkins offered mammoth size at defensive tackle, but lacked physical endurance. Tannenbaum also overpaid his own players like linebacker David Harris. His replacement, John Idzik, hopes to bring a different approach.

Youth currently on the Jets’ roster provides some opportunity for redemption. Uncertainty is present when dissecting most players with this franchise, but that does not necessarily equate to failure. Impact performers could be found even from prospects that were overlooked throughout the NFL Draft process.

Victor Cruz brought playmaking ability to the New York Giants receiving corps. Quarterback Eli Manning has used him as a solid target in the slot. The point of using Cruz as an example shows how some individuals defy expectations. Although some of these players were high draft picks, there is no telling what they are capable of. Here are five players who are ready to break out during the 2013 season.

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Bilal Powell

Bilal
Into-Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

I have already mentioned the potential that New York’s group of running backs bring. Bilal Powell averaged four yards per carry last year. Without Shonn Greene on board, there is a chance to win the number-one running back spot. Either way, look for Powell to be much more involved.

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Jeff Cumberland

Jeff
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Losing Dustin Keller hampered New York’s ability to run a fully explosive West Coast offense. His replacement could be Jeff Cumberland, who performed admirably in Keller’s absence. While Cumberland may not be a star, I expect his 29 receptions and two touchdowns from last year will greatly improve.

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Jeremy Kerley

Jeremy
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

There is an exciting dynamic when thinking of Jermey Kerley’s ability. As a slot receiver, Kerley seems ready to emerge through the role of a consistent weapon. Playing with Geno Smith at quarterback would provide Kerely with a signal caller that has superior arm strength to Mark Sanchez

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Quinton Coples

Quinton
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Messing with success is always a gamble. Quinton Coples appeared to provide a dangerous option at defensive end. Near the end of his rookie year, Coples showed an ability to get sacks. Switching him to outside linebacker might fail or it could be genius.

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Muhammad Wilkerson

Muh
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Getting pressure on a quarterback has been difficult for this team since John Abraham left. Ryan constantly needs to design schemes instead of having consistent difference makers coming off the edge. Combined with Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson will lead a young Jets defense to better results against opposing passing attacks.