5 Up-And-Coming NFL Players Who Could Break Out in Week 15

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5 Up-And-Coming NFL Players Who Could Break Out in Week 15

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Sam Sharpe- USA TODAY SPORTS

It’s very difficult to keep up with players in the NFL. There is a reason the NFL stands for “Not For Long”: Former standouts often go as quickly as they arrived, as they retire or fade out due to age or injury. Just as common, however, are the amount of relatively unknown players who are solid or show frequent flashes of brilliance, but have yet to turn it into a complete breakout game.

Last season, for example, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin was playing good football at the beginning of the year, but then broke out against the Oakland Raiders, putting on the best rookie running back performances in NFL history. While no one knew Martin would put up that type of stat line, fans and members of the team who watched him knew what he was capable of due to those previous games.

One of the more recent examples of this would be Tavon Austin, the St. Louis Rams receiver. Austin, a rookie from West Virginia, showed signs of being an explosive player but didn’t really have a breakout game until he faced the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10. In that game, he had 138 yards and two touchdowns receiving, as well as a 98-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was one of the most electrifying performances in recent memory.

With Week 15 ahead, it’s time to identify the players who are due for that type of game. Here are five who I believe fit the bill:

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5. Le'Veon Bell

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Mitch Stringer- USA TODAY SPORTS

Bell has only averaged 3.4 yards per carry this season for the Steelers, but there is no denying the talent that the rookie from Michigan State possesses both as a runner and a receiver. In a tough divisional game against the Bengals, this is where Bell puts it all together and runs for over 120 yards with at least a touchdown.

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4. Mike Glennon

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Sam Sharpe- USA TODAY SPORTS

Despite some struggles, Glennon has exceeded expectations as Tampa Bay's starting quarterback. He has showcased his big arm as well as his ability to command an offense. He will show that he is worthy to be a franchise quarterback for the present and future as he passes for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in an upset victory against a stingy San Francisco 49ers defense.

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3. Johnathan Cyprien

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Kirby Lee- USA TODAY SPORTS

Say what you want about the Jaguars, but Cyprien is no laughingstock. The rookie safety has been all over the field for Jacksonville, and has the potential to be a top safety in the NFL. He will show that to the world this Sunday against the Bills, piling up two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack.

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2. Star Lotulelei

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Bob Donnan- USA TODAY SPORTS

Star has been an underrated part of an impressive Panthers defense. The rookie defensive tackle has shown the ability to take on double-teams, and at times is able wreak havoc in the opposing backfield. When the Panthers take on the Jets, Star will take it to another level, getting a sack, three quarterback pressures and four tackles for a loss.

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1. Kirk Cousins

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Tommy Gilligan- USA TODAY SPORTS

Last year when RGIII went down, Cousins showed that he has the tools to eventually be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. A year later, he gets another opportunity to prove his skills. He'll come up big against Atlanta, tossing for over 400 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in an easy victory.


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