By Jameel Shareef @BornInCUSE on April 28, 2014
Last season, injuries and lack of carries doomed some running backs in the NFL. The five I've chosen for breakout seasons will be huge contributors to their teams' success by the end of the season. Look for these players' production to increase in 2014.
After being drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints in 2011, Mark Ingram has not lived up to his potential. Look for the 24-year-old running back to take significant strides in 2014 as he prepares to be the lead running back taking handoffs from Drew Brees.
Before Le'Veon Bell was drafted in 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't keep a steady backfield, unlike the opposing offenses. With Bell heading into his second year in the AFC North, look for him to help take pressure off of Ben Roethlisberger by solidifying a steady run game in the "Steel City" with the help of new addition LeGarrette Blount.
Ben Tate ran the show last year in Houston. Joining the Browns may have been the best decision in this young player's football career. Now prepared to be a full-time starter in Cleveland, Tate's production should increase with the help of a decent offensive line in the "Dawg Pound". Willis McGahee isn't getting any younger, so bringing in Tate was ideal.
Known as the "Muscle Hamster", Doug Martin's 2013 season was plagued by injuries after playing just nine games last season. Look for Martin to return to this rookie form when he totaled 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012. Martin's health and contribution will be pivotal to Tampa Bay's success in 2014. Lovie Smith needs him healthy as can be.
One of the front-runners as a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2013, Giovani Bernard will look to improve his overall game under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. Bernard shared carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis during his rookie campaign, but that role should change as he prepares to become an immediate focal point for the Cincinnati Bengals during his second year and beyond.
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