We all spend a lot of the offseason dreaming about talented players who are going to improve. Most players do not get a ton better over the course of one offseason, but there are always a handful who do. Last year, Muhammad Wilkerson made the leap from adequate starter as a rookie into one of the league's premiere defensive linemen. Jeremy Kerley built on a strong finish to an otherwise quiet rookie year and was the only receiving option who had business getting playing time in the NFL in some games for the Jets.
If I had to choose one Jet I expect to break out this year, it is Quinton Coples. Like with any breakout candidate, Coples has question marks. Can he handle a full workload after sporadic playing time as a rookie? Can he adjust to playing as a stand up rusher off the edge? Will he work hard enough in the weight room to reach his potential? To be sure, these are real questions and concerns. The Jets are taking something of a risk sticking him on the edge as a linebacker after he was unblockable at times in an interior role. Rex Ryan's comments about Coples' work ethic a few weeks back are also something of a concern.
My gut says that Coples can handle it. He has a unique blend of size and athletic ability. He gave the other teams a ton of trouble keeping him out of the backfield near the end of last season. He will not be a pure linebacker either. Rex Ryan loves to show a lot of different fronts and has his players operate in a number of different roles. I see Coples spending much of his time as a rush linebacker, but I also see him putting his hand on the ground at defensive end and sliding inside at times on passing downs. I think Coples builds off his strong finish to last year and finally gives the Jets the pass rusher they have so desperately lacked.
Who is your breakout player for 2013?