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10 NFL Players On The Verge of Elite Status In 2014

10 NFL Players On The Verge Of Elite Status In 2014

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL undoubtedly has a new generation of talent that will take over the list of elite players in the league. With the preseason officially underway, here's a look at 10 players on the verge of such honors in 2014.

10. Jordan Cameron

 Cleveland Browns Jordan Cameron
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10. Jordan Cameron

 Cleveland Browns Jordan Cameron
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The Cleveland Browns tight end had his breakout NFL season in 2013, with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. The Browns will be without suspended WR Josh Gordon for at least eight games in 2014, which makes Cameron's presence absolutely critical. Cameron will enter elite company this season.

9. Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

9. Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Smith missed half of the 2013 campaign for the Minnesota Vikings due to turf toe, but had an impressive rookie campaign in 2012, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, while becoming a solid tackler at free safety. Smith will cement his name as a dynamic ball hawk in 2014 and make the Pro Bowl.

8. Johnathan Cyprien

Jacksonville Jaguars
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8. Johnathan Cyprien

 Jacksonville Jaguars Johnathan Cyprien
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Cyprien had an impressive rookie campaign in 2013 for the Jacksonville Jaguars with 86 tackles and one interception, which are solid statistics for a strong-safety. The SS position is not incredibly deep in today's NFL, so Cyprien has a chance to become elite with a strong sophomore season. His current hip flexor injury will not be a roadblock and he will be ready for Week 1.

7. Jordy Nelson

Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson
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7. Jordy Nelson

Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson
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Nelson and Aaron Rodgers have undoubtedly developed a rapport, which helped Jordy to his second career 1,000-plus yard season (1316) and eight touchdowns in 2013. Green Bay was wise to extend Nelson's contract in July, as the speedy WR could easily finish with top-five statistics at the position this season.

6. Alec Ogletree

St Louis Rams Alec Ogletree
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6. Alec Ogletree

St Louis Rams Alec Ogletree
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Ogletree put on a solid show in 2013, his first season in the NFL. He does a bit of everything as the linebacker had 1.5 sacks, a pick-six and 96 tackles at OLB for the St. Louis Rams. Ogletree benefits from the presence of DEs Robert Quinn and Chris Long, so expect his sack total to increase drastically in 2014 as new DC Gregg Williams intends on using him more aggressively.

5. Chandler Jones

New England Patriots Chandler Jones
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5. Chandler Jones

New England Patriots Chandler Jones
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The New England Patriots have one of the top up-and-coming defensive ends in the NFL as Jones enters his third year in the league. Jones established himself as a sack artist in 2013 with a solid 11.5 sacks. He will make the Pro Bowl in 2014 and has the potential to be an All-Pro over the next few seasons.

4. Eddie Lacy

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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4. Eddie Lacy

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
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Lacy made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2013 with 1,178 yards rushing and 11 TDs, and only had a healthy QB in Aaron Rodgers for nine games. With Rodgers healthy in 2014 and drawing the majority of attention from opposing defenses, Lacy could have an even more impressive sophomore campaign. Expect him to finish as a top-five RB.

3. Paul Posluszny

 Jacksonville Jaguars Paul Posluszny
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3. Paul Posluszny

 Jacksonville Jaguars  Paul Posluszny
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Posluszny is one of the most important pieces for the Jacksonville Jaguars during their rebuild. The 29-year-old linebacker had two interceptions (one for a TD) and 122 tackles in 2013, and is finally starting to garner attention nationally. He made the Pro Bowl last season and should push for All-Pro honors in 2014.

2. Andrew Luck

 Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck
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2. Andrew Luck

 Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck
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All Luck has done is win throughout his first two seasons in the NFL, going 22-10 in the regular season and bringing the team to two postseason berths. Luck has all the talent in the world, and looks to break into an elite class of top five quarterbacks in the game during the 2014 season.

1. Keenan Allen

San Diego Chargers Keenan Allen
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1. Keenan Allen

San Diego Chargers Keenan Allen
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The San Diego Chargers were pleasantly surprised with Allen's performance in his rookie campaign in 2013. Allen went on to win ROY year honors with 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns in just 14 starts. Allen and QB Philip Rivers are among the NFL's top passing duos, and it should shock no one when Allen receives an All-Pro selection in 2014.

Timothy Downs is a St. Louis Rams/NFL writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.