The rules for landing on my 2014 NFL Top 50 breakout players list are pretty simple:
• No rookies, because we don't have much to go on (check out Aaron Schatz's take on 10 potential impact rookies, as identified by Football Outsiders' projections)
• No players ranked in the #NFLRank Top 100, because those players presumably have broken out to some degree already
• Older players generally aren't featured, on the theory they are what they are
• Finally, if a player has already signed a lucrative second contract, he probably isn't a good candidate
Keep those things in mind before peppering me with jabs and overhand rights in the comments section (I'll see you there and assure you that I, too, will come in peace). To be clear, "breakout" is a relative term. Fifty players ranked outside the Top 100 are not suddenly going to break out with All-Pro seasons, but a lot of these guys are in position to make big jumps in 2014. I came up with this list in part based on information gathered during various team camp visits and conversations with sources around the league, and I also enlisted the input of ESPN Insider NFL scout Matt Williamson.
Here are my Top 50 breakout players for the upcoming season: