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Foster among 2010 breakout stars with staying power

Brett Davis / US Presswire
Arian Foster led the league in rushing last season, but will his success continue in 2011 and beyond?


Arian Foster and Mike Williams blew onto the scene in 2010. Are they one-year wonders, though? Let's ponder whether five players who shook up the NFL last season have the skill, perseverance and right situations to maintain their success.


» Season predictions: Our experts make their picks
» Team-by-team season previews

Monday:
» XLVI things to look forward to this NFL season
» Must-see TV: Most-anticipated game of 2011 season
» Let's not inscribe Super Bowl rings for Eagles just yet
» For Patriots, Ochocinco, Haynesworth are risks worth taking

Tuesday:
» Who will be next 'elite' QB to join list of Super Bowl winners?
» Cowboys, Colts could be left out of the mix come playoff time
» Proliferation of spread offense has NFL defenses on the run
» Cutler's game, not attitude, must improve to take Super step

Wednesday:
» These five players have potential for breakout seasons
» Surprise stars from 2010 appear to have staying power
» Can Vick repeat success of 2010? Don't bet against it
» Star search: Who will rise from obscurity this season?

Thursday:
» NFL division power rankings: NFC North tops list
» Three reasons why things are again bleak in NFC West
» More than shtick, winning is what Jets' Ryan does best
» Five in, five out: Will NFL playoff parity party continue?

Friday:
» Who will pick first in the 2012 NFL Draft?
» Some rookie QBs could find themselves on the field soon
» Newton's special but he has a whole lot to learn
» Dominating Steelers defense won't fall off in 2011

Cameron Wake, LB, Dolphins: The former CFL standout emerged as a Pro Bowl player last season with 14 sacks. As he enters his prime, there is no reason he shouldn't get double-digit totals again. He'll get his opportunities early with games against pass-happy New England, Houston and San Diego. Wake also faces Buffalo and its so-so offensive line twice, which might help him pad his numbers some.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: Nobody expected the "Madden NFL 12" cover boy to blow up like he did last season, when he rushed for more than 1,100 yards. He might post similar numbers, but with Montario Hardesty returning, Hillis might lose some of his carries. Hillis is still a power back who should be effective near the goal line. He's been nursing a sore hamstring. That could be just training camp-generated wear. Cleveland best hope so.

Tramon Williams, CB, Packers: Williams should have made the Pro Bowl last season. After his incredible performances in the playoffs, he's put himself among the rising stars at the position. Coaches and players will privately tell you that he's the best corner on the Packers. Receiver Greg Jennings told me that veteran cornerback Charles Woodson might see more balls come his way this season because teams won't want to throw at the sticky-handed Williams.

Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Foster looked great when he made his preseason debut in Week 2. Although he rushed for 1,616 yards in 2010, he also had 66 receptions. Foster is a complete back who should have several big seasons. He plays in a pass-first scheme that is going to keep teams in nickel sets or encourage them not to drop an eighth defender into the box. With that, he'll continue to have built-in running lanes. If teams do find ways to clog those, quarterback Matt Schaub will simply hit Foster through the air.

Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks: Williams was the comeback story of the 2010 season but there is a chance he could take a step back. Quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst are hardly a receiver's best friends because they are both shaky. Free-agent pickup Sidney Rice is the best wideout on the team, slot receiver Golden Tate will have a bigger role, and tight end Zach Miller, another free-agent acquisition, round out a solid receiving corps. There might not be enough balls to go around for Williams to get 65 catches for a second straight season.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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