Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/3/12

Every year we see underrated and unknown players in this league who break out of their shell, and become household names.

And 2012 looks to be no different, as it looks to be an electrifying season.

Let us see who will move up their respective depth charts and hopefully help lead their team to greatness:  

Dallas Cowboys

2011 Breakout Player: DeMarco Murray

2012 Breakout Player: Dez Bryant

Some people will disagree with this pick, especially fans of the Cowboys. However in Bryant's two-year career, he has still yet to record over 1,000 yards in a season.

And 2011 was by no means a dull season, as he recorded nine touchdowns and just under the much-coveted 1,000 yards with 928. While that sounds just fine, it isn't with Jerry Jones or most all of the Dallas fan base (correct me if I'm wrong).

Dez Bryant has yet to realize his full potential at this point, and by all indications, we will see it this year. Yes, the set of 'rules' he was given by Jerry Jones will actually work and Bryant will finally have the season fans have been waiting for when he easily surpasses the 1,000-yard mark and establishes himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFC.

Let us hope for my sake at least, as he is on my fantasy team. 


Washington Redskins

2011 Breakout Player: Ryan Kerrigan 

2012 Breakout Player: Roy Helu

Roy Helu only started five games in 2011, but he still recorded over 600 yards on the ground and averaged 4.2 yards per carry in the process.

He also recorded 379 yards receiving and proved to be one of the better catching backs in the league with 7.7 yards per reception. So why was Helu so underrated last year? 


He plays for the Washington Redskins. 

Unfortunately for Washington players it is hard for them to break out and become a household name due to the fact that their team has been in so much turmoil in recent years.

This year is different, after selecting Robert Griffin in the first round, the team has been anything but quiet. With a huge spotlight on Griffin and the rest of the team, look for Helu to step up and become the perfect complement to RGIII's style of play this season.


Philadelphia Eagles

2011 Breakout Player:  Evan Mathis

2012 Breakout Player: Phillip Hunt

Question:What has 16 legs, eight heads, and demolishes any quarterback daring enough to take it on? 

Answer: The Philadelphia Eagles' insanely ferocious defensive line rotation.

In 2011 the Eagles established themselves as one of the best defensive lines in the league. Jason Babin and Trent Cole seemed to wrap up a quarterback every other drive, and it was a beautiful sight. 

As if 2011 wasn't enough, 2012 looks to be better. With first-rounder Fletcher Cox looking strong and quick, and the reemergence of Brandon Graham, they look to become even more talented.

There is however, another player who looks to bring his talents to the rotation. Ex-CFL star and preseason defensive MVP, defensive end Phillip Hunt. Hunt came to the Eagles in 2011, and participated in five games.

Without an offseason in the NFL system, Hunt was still able to manage two sacks. Come 2012, In just four preseason games, he amassed two sacks and a forced fumble.

Hunt played with the first-team and was blowing through every line they put in from of him, first or second-string.

The Eagles expect Phillip Hunt to be a vital part of their rotation in 2012. Look for Jim Washburn to solidify himself as the greatest defensive line coach in recent memory when Phillip Hunt helps the Eagles break the single-season sack record in 2012.


New York Giants

2011 Breakout Star: Victor Cruz

2012 Breakout Star: Prince Amukamara 

Last season was nothing short of spectacular for the New York Giants as they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in five years. However, lots of players have been traded, and once again, a lot are injured going into the season.

The pass defense is probably one of the weakest spots on the depth chart, as they got rid of Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas is unfortunately on IR. And it is up to Prince Amukamara to step up and help the Giants on the road back to the Super Bowl.

And 2011 was a good year, considering Amukamara was without training camp due to the lockout. He was able to record his first interception, and defended a respectable three passes. However, Prince will seriously need to kick it into full throttle if he is to become a solid No. 1 cornerback, especially with a team lacking everywhere else in pass defense. 

Look for Prince to lead the defense in interceptions in 2012, and solidify his spot on the depth chart as No. 1.


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