Huddle Up

NFL News and Analysis with Andrew Perloff

Perloff
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  • 01:19 PM ET  08.02

It's always nerve-racking to write a prediction that can make you look stupid in a few months.  But I'll take the heat in November if I'm wrong. Here's my take on five young players who will deliver on their promise and five who will fall short in 2007:

Breakouts

Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos - Everything's laid out perfectly for Cutler. The Broncos have the running game and the defense. Now the strong-armed kid out of Vandy has to avoid the kind of mistakes that result in interceptions for touchdowns.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Jets - Look for the Jets to run a lot this season, which will take some pressure off Ferguson, who showed major improvement at the end of last season.

Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers - You have to love his cockiness and speed. And the 49ers' other receivers aren't scaring anyone, so quarterback Alex Smith will look for the second-year TE often.

Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Browns - Wimbley, who had 11 sacks as a rookie, has the moves and speed to be the next pass-rushing star.

Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh - The Steelers say they're going to open up the offense, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been itching for a legitimate deep threat. Holmes will be that guy.

Busts

Vince Young, QB, Titans - Young's biggest problem is the level of expectation he set with his rookie season. As talented as he is, he's looking at a frustrating season in Tennessee. The Titans won't be able to match last year's eight-win total, and Young's star will fall if he leads a losing team.

Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins - Brown seems to take a tad too long to hit the hole. With his size, he should be a better red-zone back.

Marcus Spears, DE, Cowboys - One of the guys who reportedly had enough of Bill Parcells and is supposed to be reborn this year. Not going to happen for the former first-round pick.

Cedric Benson, RB, Bears - Now that the Bears have dealt Thomas Jones, there will be more pressure on Benson, who hasn't shown much in terms of leadership in his short career. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry last season, but I expect that number to dip when he's the primary ballcarrier. Defenses will know he's coming.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos - He's on many people's list of breakout offensive stars for '07. But he's been nicked up in camp and may not solidify that No. 2 receiver spot.

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