Instant Debate

Cowboys' Byron Jones, Ezekiel Elliot among potential breakout stars of 2016

Five first-time Pro Bowlers who had breakout seasons in 2015 will be featured in the next installment of NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016."

Looking ahead to the coming season, who will be the NFL's next breakout star?

"Top 100 Players of 2016" airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network until the full list has been revealed. The conversation continues on the "Top 100 Players Reaction" show, which airs immediately after at 9 p.m. ET.

Byron Jones showed a lot of promise in his rookie season. He has the athletic talent to match up with receivers and even tight ends at times because of his body type. The free safety can jump out of the gym and made some big plays a year ago for the Cowboys. On top of that, the guy is tough. He dislocated his knee and casually popped it back in right there on the field. I believe he's on the verge of being a Pro Bowl and All-Pro player. Ryan Shazier is a very talented linebacker for the Steelers. He can cover, blitz, pass rush and tackle. However, his issue has been staying healthy. He played in nine games in his rookie season (2014) and 12 in his second (2015). If Shazier can stay on the field for an entire season, I think he'll be a first-time Pro Bowler.

I'd compare this kid to Emmanuel Sanders. When Sanders was in Pittsburgh, he was banged up and was unable to reach his full potential. Now in Denver, he's staying healthy and producing major numbers because of it. Shazier is capable of doing the same. The rookie wide receiver is a tremendously gifted and talented player. Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to throw the ball deep. He has a quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater who is capable of throwing it down the field and now, Bridgewater has a receiver who will, no matter if he's covered or not, come down with the ball. Treadwell knows how to catch the rock in a crowd.

The Vikings' defense is good enough to give the offense a lot of opportunities. I predict that Treadwell will have 50 or more catches, and Minnesota hasn't had a consistent, dominant receiver maybe since Randy Moss. I'm not saying Treadwell is Moss but he can dictate coverage and demand the ball like Moss did. Ronald Darby has the skill set to be a top-notch cornerback in this league and had a solid start to his career in 2015. The entire Buffalo defense will be more comfortable in Rex Ryan's scheme, leading the guys up front to take some pressure off the secondary. The Bills have a lot of talent in their defensive backfield -- safeties Aaron Williams and Corey Graham, cornerback Stephon Gilmore -- and the youngster out of Florida State might be the most talented one of the group. I'm predicting Ezekiel Elliott will be a breakout star from Day 1 of his NFL career. He has a perfect blend of power, agility and elusiveness, and his skill set is a complement to the rest of the Cowboys' offense. With Romo's recent injuries, the Cowboys won't want him standing in the pocket. Therefore, they will lean on the run game like they did with DeMarco Murray in 2014.

I played for Dallas offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and know the type of personnel he is excited to game plan around. Elliott is the type of player Linehan wants -- and will -- feature.

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