X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers’ 5 Biggest Breakout Candidates Of 2014

1 of 11

Pittsburgh Steelers' 5 Biggest Breakout Candidates Of 2014

Cover
Getty Images

Coming off an 8-8 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of positions that they need to improve. Chief among them are wide receiver, where there has been a good bit of turnover, as well as offensive line and linebacker. One player stepping up won't get the Steelers back to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Here are the five biggest breakout candidates for Pittsburgh in 2014.

5. Markus Wheaton

Wheaton
Getty Images

5. Markus Wheaton

Wheaton
Getty Images

Wheaton is entering his sophomore season in Pittsburgh after seeing limited time as a rookie, catching six passes as a wide receiver. However, he's currently on top of the depth chart at kick returner, where he will need to be a big factor. Pittsburgh hasn't had a quality kick return specialist in a while, and the Steelers can't rely on top wide receiver Antonio Brown to risk injury while returning all punts and kicks.

4. Darrius Heyward-Bey

Bey
Getty Images

4. Darrius Heyward-Bey

Bey
Getty Images

Just signed by the Steelers, Heyward-Bey has a lot to prove and it seems that's been the case ever since the Oakland Raiders drafted him. Heyward-Bey can be the No. 2 receiver in Pittsburgh and with Brown opposite of him drawing double coverage and Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Heyward-Bey might have finally found the perfect team.

3. Cameron Heyward

Heyward
Getty Images

3. Cameron Heyward

Heyward
Getty Images

As the 2013 season went on, Heyward began to make more significant plays for the Pittsburgh defense. Now, with changes up front, including the likely departure of Brett Keisel, Heyward is penciled in as a starter at defensive end and it is make-or-break time for the former Ohio State standout.

2. David DeCastro

DeCastro
Getty Images

2. David DeCastro

DeCastro
Getty Images

At times, especially in run blocking, DeCastro has looked very comfortable on Pittsburgh's offensive line. If he can stay healthy and keeps improving, his current placement at right guard on Pittsburgh's depth chart could be key to the Steelers continuing to re-establish the running game that began to come back thanks to rookie RB Le'Veon Bell last season. Improved pass protection by DeCastro is key to him having a breakout season.

1. Jarvis Jones

Jones
Getty Images

1. Jarvis Jones

Jones
Getty Images

First it was James Harrison before the 2013 season, then LaMarr Woodley in recent weeks. Pittsburgh has made major changes at linebacker, and Jarvis Jones is part of the reason for it. Expected to be a standout, Jones made some decent plays last year, but needs to be more consistent. If Jones is going to be to the type of outside linebacker that Harrison and Woodley were for many years, a breakout 2014 season would be a big first step.