Around The League's 'Making the Leap' countdown

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Around The League will profile the top 40 players we see Making the Leap in 2013.

No. 40: Isaiah Pead

Around The League kicks off its "Making a Leap" series with a look at St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead's chances of succeeding Steven Jackson as the starter.

No. 39: Zach Brown

The search for breakout players travels to the Tennessee Titans, where former North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown looks primed for a big season only one year after draftniks called him soft.

No. 38: Michael Floyd

Michael Floyd came on strong in the second half of his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals. With a new quarterback and offensive philosophy in place, Floyd could be even better in 2013.
» Brooks: Floyd will emerge at receiver

No. 37: Jordan Cameron

Around The League continues its "Making a Leap" series with a look at the Cleveland Browns' Jordan Cameron, who's aiming to become the next success story at tight end.
» Brooks: Cameron will bust out

No. 36: Jarvis Jenkins

Around The League continues its "Making the Leap" series with a look at Washington Redskins defensive end Jarvis Jenkins. Can Jenkins add a key pass-rushing element in 2013?

No. 35: Chase Daniel

He might be an unlikely selection, but is Chase Daniel ready to break out? Gregg Rosenthal weighs in on the Kansas City Chiefs' backup quarterback.

No. 34: Falcons' offensive line

The Atlanta Falcons' offensive line, headed by Peter Konz, checks in at No. 34 in Around The League's "Making the Leap" series. Will this unit hold back a high-powered Falcons attack?

No. 33: Bernard Pierce

Bernard Pierce gained the trust of coach John Harbaugh as the 2012 season progressed, becoming a key part of the Baltimore Ravens' offense. Will Pierce get more carries in his second season?

No. 32: Dennis Allen

Coming off a 4-12 campaign, second-year Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen is under pressure to show he belongs. That won't be easy with a flood of new faces on the Raiders' talent-poor roster.

No. 31: Golden Tate

Golden Tate rivaled Sidney Rice as the Seattle Seahawks' best wide receiver down the stretch last season. Will Percy Harvin's arrival stand in the way of a true breakout for Tate in 2013?

No. 30: Brad Jones

Linebacker Brad Jones didn't begin last season as a starter, but he finished it as one of coach Mike McCarthy's favorite players. Here's why he's on the upswing for the Green Bay Packers.

No. 29: Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman isn't as young as the other players in Around The League's "Making the Leap" series, but the New England Patriots wideout seems ready entering his fifth season.

No. 28: Da'Quan Bowers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are gambling on an injury-prone Da'Quan Bowers as their missing pass rusher. Can the 2011 second-round draft pick make the leap to reliable starter in his third season?

No. 27: Rob Ryan

The New Orleans Saints are banking on Rob Ryan to turn around a defense that proved woeful in 2012. Their new coordinator also is looking to bounce back from a tough year of his own.

No. 26: Kendall Wright

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright showed a surprising lack of playmaking ability as a rookie. Will that change after Wright dropped 14 pounds this offseason?

No. 25: Whitney Mercilus

Whitney Mercilus made the most of his limited playing time as a rookie, finishing with six sacks with the Houston Texans. Dan Hanzus believes the outside linebacker is ready for the next level.
» Brooks: Mericlus a linebacker to watch

No. 24: Chris Givens

Tavon Austin might get the headlines, but the best bet to be the No. 1 receiver for the St. Louis Rams this year is Chris Givens. Around The League is driving the bandwagon!

Nos. 22-23: Broncos cornerbacks

Champ Bailey's still Champ Bailey, but as the Denver Broncos chase a Super Bowl berth, two other corners -- Chris Harris and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- will decide where this defense goes.

No. 21: Jimmy Smith

After drafting Jimmy Smith in the first round two years ago, the Baltimore Ravens immediately announced plans to use him as a lockdown cornerback. Will that finally happen in 2013?

No. 20: Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller flashed 4.40 speed at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine before being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round. Is the speedy back primed for a breakout season in South Beach?
» Brooks: Miller tops rising running backs

No. 19: Brian Bulaga

Aaron Rodgers was sacked more than any other quarterback last season, so the Green Bay Packers are moving Bryan Bulaga to left tackle to protect their prized possession. Will it pay dividends?

No. 18: Carlos Dunlap

Twenty sacks in three seasons is not too shabby, but for Carlos Dunlap to cement himself in the NFL he'll have to prove he's an every-down player.

No. 17: Alshon Jeffery

Jeffery showed promise during his rookie season and figures to start for the Bears in Year 2. Will he capitalize on the opportunity?

No. 16: Greg Hardy

Hardy is entering the final year of his contract, which might mean we'll see Hardy jump to the next level in 2013.

No. 15: Emmanuel Sanders

The Steelers are counting on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Can he join the 1,000-yard club with Mike Wallace out of the picture?

No. 14: Pierre Thomas

Saints running back Pierre Thomas could be a candidate for the Role Player Hall of Fame someday. But can he still emerge as a star?

No. 13: Chris Ivory

Running back Chris Ivory is no longer buried on the depth chart following his trade to the New York Jets. Can he stay healthy enough to break out in the featured back role?

No. 12: Stephon Gilmore

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore enters his second season in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills. His raw skills put him on the cusp of becoming an elite defender.

No. 11: Nick Fairley

Nick Fairley terrorized offensive linemen in one-on-one battles in 2012, but missed three games with injury. Will the Detroit Lions defensive tackle stay healthy in 2013 and realize his vast potential?

No. 10: Dwayne Allen

Dwayne Allen broke the Indianapolis Colts' franchise record for receptions by a rookie tight end last season. Will there be Pro Bowls in his future?

No. 9: T.Y. Hilton

T.Y. Hilton burst on the scene out of Florida International as a rookie. He's in a great position to make a big move in his second year in Indianapolis.

No. 8: Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon is the Cleveland Browns' first legitimate deep threat in a Dawg's age, but can he stay focused on football long enough to make a difference? Marc Sessler weighs in.

Nos. 6-7: San Diego Chargers defensive ends

Defensive end duo Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes don't have big names. But they are the best reason to be excited about the 2013 San Diego Chargers.

No. 5: Chandler Jones

We're reaching the top of Around The League's Making The Leap series. Up next: New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, who has all the tools to become a dominant defender.

No. 4: Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith was impressive as a rookie, starting at safety for the Minnesota Vikings from Week 1. Can he become one of the best safeties in the NFL?

No. 3: David Wilson

Is David Wilson of the New York Giants one of the NFL's most dynamic athletes at running back? If so, this might be his season to break out.

No. 2: Bruce Carter

Bruce Carter is moving to weakside linebacker this season for the Dallas Cowboys. Will it be the start of something great?

No. 1: Ryan Tannehill

Does Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill have what it takes to lead his team to glory in the AFC East? Marc Sessler explores that question in our final edition of "Making the Leap."