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Justin Blackmon tops Making the Leap list for Week 7

The goal of our weekly "Making the Leap" watch is to highlight part-time players  who are making the leap to difference-makers or unproven young talents ascending to key contributors. Once players have truly made the leap, they will graduate from this running list.

Our first five graduates are Harrison Smith, Jordan Cameron, Cameron Jordan, Jurrell Casey and Damon Harrison, all of whom have established themselves as Pro Bowl-caliber players. They've made the leap.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 prospects for Week 7.

2. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers wide receiver

Since returning from suspension, Blackmon leads the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and yards from scrimmage. The difference this year is that he entered the season in tip-top shape, and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is taking advantage of his strong post-catch playmaking ability by getting the ball in his hands on slants and crossers.

Check out the highlight package of Allen to the right. NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell opined this week that Allen is a more advanced NFL receiver than Texans rookie DeAndre Hopkins. At this stage, he's also a more complete receiver, which is why he's already earned Philip Rivers' trust as a go-to target in key situations.

3. Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills linebacker

4. Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets defensive end

Alonso and Richardson were Nos. 1 and 2 on our list of the NFL's top 15 rookies through six weeks. The athletic Alonso struggled in coverage against Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Giovani Bernard last week, but it's hard to imagine any linebacker hanging with one of the league's premier pass catchers out of the backfield.

Reid actually has been a playmaking upgrade on Dashon Goldson, who earned first-team All-Pro honors last year. The No. 18 overall pick is the rare big-hitting safety with above-average range.

6. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers running back

While the Packers' wide receiver corps has been thinned by injuries, the ground attack ranks second only to the Philadelphia Eagles with a per-carry average of 5.2 yards. Lacy is the first Packers rookie since John Brockington in 1971 to rush for at least 99 yards in back-to-back games.

Wright was a wide receiver under Greg Schiano at Rutgers, so it's no surprise that he moves extremely well for a tight end. He seems to have a strong rapport with Mike Glennon, catching 12 passes for 132 yards in the rookie's first two starts.

The Chiefs boast the NFL's best defense, leading the league in sacks, completion percentage, interceptions, passes defensed and fumble recoveries. After showing sticky coverage early in the season, Cooper has turned in clutch interceptions in back-to-back games.

10. Malik Jackson, Denver Broncos defensive tackle

Jackson already was on our radar as one of the league's most effective situational pass rushers among defensive tackles. He earned a spot on this list with a dominant three-play sequence featuring two sacks and a tackle for loss late in the third quarter of an unexpectedly close game versus the Jaguars.

The latest Around The League Podcast discussed the NFL's most impressive rookies.

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