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Prime Movers
Peter King
August 13, 2007
IT'S ALWAYS dangerous in midsummer--when legs are still fresh and dreams haven't yet been dashed by three-game losing streaks--to predict the stars of late autumn. But during a training-camp tour, SI unearthed these five potential breakout players. Derrick Johnson, LB, Chiefs Kansas City's first pick in the 2005 draft was expected to produce more than 6 1?2 sacks in his first 29 games, but Johnson was slowed by a sprained ankle last year. The addition of linebackers Donnie Edwards and Napolean Harris--plus the development of promising second-year defensive end Tamba Hali--should help take the pressure off.
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August 13, 2007

Prime Movers

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IT'S ALWAYS dangerous in midsummer--when legs are still fresh and dreams haven't yet been dashed by three-game losing streaks--to predict the stars of late autumn. But during a training-camp tour, SI unearthed these five potential breakout players.

Derrick Johnson, LB, Chiefs Kansas City's first pick in the 2005 draft was expected to produce more than 6 1?2 sacks in his first 29 games, but Johnson was slowed by a sprained ankle last year. The addition of linebackers Donnie Edwards and Napolean Harris--plus the development of promising second-year defensive end Tamba Hali--should help take the pressure off.

Bernard Berrian, WR, Bears This third-round pick out of Fresno State has caught 79 passes in three seasons--but could match that total this year if the addition of rookie tight end Greg Olsen and return-man-turned-receiver Devin Hester helps him get open. During a practice last week, the 6' 1", 185-pound Berrian twice burned fleet corner Nathan Vasher for long receptions.

Paul Posluszny, LB, Bills Slowed as a senior at Penn State by torn knee ligaments suffered in the '06 Orange Bowl, he was downgraded to a second-round pick in April by scouts who questioned his mobility. But coach Dick Jauron has installed Posluszny as the Bills' starter in the middle, and the rookie is roaming like the playmaker he was in his first three college seasons.

Cullen Jenkins, DE, Packers Until Aaron Kampman's breakout in '06, Green Bay's best rushing end of the post- Reggie White era had been Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. But he surrendered his starting spot to Jenkins last season--and it doesn't look like he'll get it back. A versatile run stuffer, the 303-pound Jenkins has shown quickness and some great spin moves in camp.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons He's not the sexy bust-out pick that Marshawn Lynch or Adrian Peterson are, but Norwood should play a key role in coach Bobby Petrino's multiple-option offense. With Michael Vick likely gone for the season and Warrick Dunn coming off back surgery, the second-year back will get plenty of carries behind Atlanta's strong run blocking line.

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