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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: Top 5 Players Primed for Breakout 2013 Season

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Top 5 Players Primed for Breakout 2013 Season

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With NFL summer training camps on the horizon, many football fans are anxiously waiting for the season to get underway. The only people who might be more excited than the fans are the players themselves. In particular, players who are in position for a breakout season just might be the most anxious of them all.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a lot of changes to their roster since the end of the 2012 season. A number of veterans have departed from the organization, leaving numerous vacancies for other players to fill in and become important parts of the Steelers for 2013.

For Pittsburgh, many of these opportunities are for players who are entering the final year of their current contract. We all know that players tend to perform their best when trying to prove to their organization and the rest of the league that they are worthy of a huge payday. Then there are some who are just chomping at the bit to erase the memory of a lackluster season.

There are at least three rookies that the Steelers drafted this year who can definitely be looked upon as candidates for having breakout seasons. However, I have just left this list strictly for the veterans who are in position to make a major impact on the improvement of Pittsburgh’s previous disappointing season.

I could have made an argument for a number of players on the Steelers’ roster, but I have decided to just narrow it down and give you the top five players that I think are in the best position to have a breakout season in 2013.

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5. Mike Adams

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing, injury-filled rookie season, offensive tackle Mike Adams should not only improve, but have a significant impact on the overall performance of the Steelers’ offensive line. Moving to right tackle should put the 2012 second-round pick in a position that he is more comfortable in. Also, knowing that he doesn’t have the responsibility of protecting the blindside of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a plus.

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4. Ziggy Hood

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One of many players entering the final year of their contract, defensive end Ziggy Hood should have enough motivation to prove to everyone that he is worth re-signing, or pursuing in the offseason of 2014.

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3. Steve McLendon

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Steve McLendon’s steady improvement over the first three years of his professional career has definitely earned him the right to be the starting nose tackle for the Steelers’ defense. If he continues to improve the way that he has, he should be one of the most productive players for Pittsburgh in 2013.

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2. Emmanuel Sanders

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Playing under the pressure of being in the last year of a contract shouldn’t faze wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. He has already been offered contracts by other teams during the offseason, and is reportedly in discussions with the Steelers’ front office about a contract extension. Despite the business side of the game, Sanders has been handed a great opportunity to be a big part of Pittsburgh’s aerial attack.

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1. Jason Worilds

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Of all the players on the Steelers’ roster, outside linebacker Jason Worilds needs a breakout season the most. Things looked to be going his way when James Harrison wasn’t brought back by Pittsburgh. However, the drafting of first-round pick Jarvis Jones has left no choice but for Worilds to have a breakout season, to not only to save his spot on the depth chart, but to possibly save his football career.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+