NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

5 Pittsburgh Steelers Poised for Breakout Year in 2013

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5 Pittsburgh Steelers who Could Break Out in 2013

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2013 NFL season rapidly approaches, the focus shifts back to a football attitude. With a rich winning tradition and constant effort to strive for more, the Pittsburgh Steelers look to obtain a seventh Super Bowl trophy, which would already break their own record of winning the most championships for an NFL franchise.

Players like Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu are needed to play like their usual selves in order for this to take place, but it is often times that an “unsung hero” steps up to the plate and delivers, exceeding all expectations and miraculously helping the team. We’ve seen it before, and Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers is the most recent example in terms of exploding on the scene.

So who will be the Steelers' up-and-coming player to surpass all odds and defy all doubters? There’s a whole realm of possibilities ranging from a seasoned veteran looking to make one last stride before hanging his cleats up to a rookie looking to make a name for himself in the league. In 2012, Pittsburgh arguably had two candidates up for this award: Jonathan Dwyer and Keenan Lewis.

It was fair to say that both of those fine players were at first overlooked. As the season grew on, however, both Lewis and Dwyer stepped up big time and delivered. With Keenan gone to the New Orleans Saints and Dwyer looking at a backup position to new addition Le’Veon Bell, the race is wide open and it’s anybody’s to win. Here are five Pittsburgh Steelers who could unexpectedly bust out on the scene in 2013.

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David DeCastro

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David DeCastro was a premier guard going into the 2012 NFL Draft. With great footwork and an excellent football IQ, DeCastro was a need Pittsburgh addressed with the 24th overall pick. After a strong start to the preseason, David suffered injuries to his ACL and MCL, immediately putting him out of the rotation. He did, however, return to the lineup along with an equally banged up offensive line towards the end of the season.

With a year of experience under DeCastro’s belt, David will be able to return healthy and get back to doing what he does best: protecting the interior. Many experts claim that DeCastro will come through big time this year and perhaps land a Pro Bowl spot. With all cylinders clicking through offseason team workouts and the beginning of training camp, it’s hard not to think the same way.

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Jarvis Jones

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With the departure of James Harrison, a gap needed to be filled in order to balance the pass rush. With linebacker Lamarr Woodley anchoring the other side of the defense, it was thought to be filled by veteran Jason Worilds. Then with the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh selected the ferocious, pass rushing machine. Also known as Jarvis Jones, this man child excels at getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers often.

With the marquee training camp battle between Worilds and Jones about to commence, there is one thing for certain: Whether he wins the starting job or not, Jarvis will earn much deserved playing time this year. Jones can easily rack up multiple sacks in addition to multiple turnovers this season, making a big splash in the NFL.

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Cortez Allen

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Cortez Allen will be filling big shoes in the 2013 season. With Keenan Lewis gone, Allen will now be the starting cornerback next to Ike Taylor. With the number one pass defense in 2012, look for Cortez to be a big part of the equation next year to keep Pittsburgh at the top.

Allen brings great size combined with speed to the table, something defensive coaches die for when looking for a corner. With some experience in 2012, expect Cortez to step up and deliver big time in 2013 by playing an excellent counterpart to Taylor on the other side.

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Le'Veon Bell

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When Pittsburgh first drafted Le’Veon Bell, some eyebrows were raised. Most experts agreed that if Pittsburgh were to draft a running back, it would be the likes of Eddie Lacy or perhaps even Marcus Lattimore in the later rounds. Bell was the chosen one and will be the one wearing black and gold next season. With a now healthy offensive line in front of him, Bell’s physical downhill running style allows him to be the successful back he strives to be.

With a passing attack gunned by Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon should be allowed to run the ball effectively while defenses will worry about the pass first option that the Steelers have been using for the past couple years.

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Matt Spaeth

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When Heath Miller tore both his ACL and MCL, Pittsburgh lost one of their most valuable targets in the red zone and an overall threat everywhere on the field. Miller completed a golden passing attack, playing the tough guy role across the middle allowing receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to run their routes on the outside. The Steelers brought in a former player that knows what it takes to win for the black and gold.

Matt Spaeth stands at 6-foot-7 and weighs 260-pounds. Being slightly bigger than Heath, Spaeth plays very similar to Miller. Both aren’t afraid to work across the middle, both are excellent blockers in passing and rushing, and both are workhorses. While Miller will be missed for the duration he is gone, Spaeth should step up and play the same role.