In this part three we will talk about not three, but four players who are on the cusp of breaking out. In part one we discussed defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, wide receiver/kick returner/punt returner Quan Cosby and corner back Jonathan Wilhite. Thomas won the vote as most likely to break out, but Cosby and Wilhite nearly tied for second.
In part two we discussed wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (probably the sexiest choice of all named players), tight end Julius Thomas and corner back/special teams Chris Harris. It's a Thomas explosion as Demaryius Thomas currently leads as most likely to break out by a ton, followed by Marcus Thomas and Julius Thomas nearly tied for second most votes. .
Today we will discuss several players whom you know well, even some underachieving fan favorites, we did manage two probable surprises though.
#12 / Wide Receiver / Denver Broncos
Apr 13, 1984
I've been high on Matt Willis for awhile, but to me he is indisputably Tim Tebow's favorite target. You can go all in with Willis and Tebow on the field, this guy is coming away with yards. Don't believe me? Who was Tebow aiming at with that last play in San Diego? That's right it was Willis.
These guys go together like peaches and cream, peanut butter and jelly. I can't wait to see what the rest of this season holds for Willis with Tebow at the helm and their short history dictates that they'll both be in for a great second half of the season.
What this all depends on is where Willis will fall on the teams depth chart, with Brandon Lloyd on the roster and Demaryius Thomas active he likely sits at third. With Lloyd out, a healthy Eddie Royal and a healthy Thomas he still likely sits at third.
There is one thing that can be said about Josh McDaniels, the man could pick a wide receiver and Willis is one of those guys. That is why I won't count him out and he's a special teams guy, so even in spell work he'll figure out a way to make plays.
#59 / Linebacker / Denver Broncos
Jul 21, 1986
Every fan of the Broncos will know Wesley Woodyard, signed as an undrafted free agent during the Mike Shanahan era, Woodyard has been a special teams standout in every year he has played in Denver (not to mention a team captain since 2009).
This year seems to be different though, the most defensive tackles Woodyard has racked up in a season is 39. This year he has 31 and don't think that is due to any extra playing time that he has received as that argument goes out the window when you see that it is only week six.
While there were rumors that Denver could part with DJ Williams prior to the trade deadline next week, the main reason that even seemed plausible to fans is the play of Woodyard through the first four weeks of the season (and the play Williams in his game back).
What is ironic is that Woodyard, a 2011 special teams captain has made only one special teams tackle this season. Go figure.
#35 / Running Back / Denver Broncos
Jun 19, 1985
One of the many practice squad players turned roster guys on this list Lance Ball has constantly made the most of his opportunities. Whether that be blocking on a passing down, rushing, tackling on special teams or kick returning the guy can just flat out play.
And he's fun to watch.
Ball finished third on the team last season in rushing yards and currently ranks second. With Knowshon Moreno likely getting the Reggie Bush treatment (passing downs), Ball could be set to be the predominant spell back for starter Willis McGahee.
Ball currently averages 4.4-yards per carry, but keep in mind that is only on nine carries. However, last season he averaged 3.9-yards on 41 carries which is not too shabby either.
The unfortunate fact for Ball is that in order to truly break out the Broncos will likely need to lose McGahee to injury. The team could be in much worse hands than Ball though.
#90 / Defensive- End / Denver Broncos
Aug 28, 1983
Last season Jason Hunter was playing out of position at linebacker, this season he is playing back in position, but sitting at second on the depth chart behind Elvis Dumervil. Of course sitting behind Dumervil on the depth chart meant that Hunter got an opportunity to start two games this season.
Whether at outside linebacker or defensive end Hunter seems to have a nose for the football, last season recording his first interception of his short career, forcing one fumble and recovering two (one for a touchdown). He finished the season with 47 tackles.
This season in what could be considered a more limited role he already has 12 tackles (the third most in his career) and could be poised to have his biggest season yet. Not bad for someone who isn't considered a 'pure tackler'.
That is it for the final post in this series, who did we miss? Did we overrate someone? Underrate someone? Let us know, as always I love to read what you guys have to say as well. In the meantime, be sure to like Mile High Report on Facebook right here.