- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Continuing out "Take 5" series ... here are our top breakout players for the coming season:
1. NT Kenrick Ellis: After two nondescript seasons, it's time for Ellis to bust out. The former third-round pick was slowed in his first two seasons by injuries and legal issues that hung over his head, but he has matured and should be ready to take a giant step. He has the size (6-foot-4, 346 pounds) to be an exceptional run stuffer.
2. LB DeMario Davis: The second-year player is slated to replace Bart Scott in the base package. Davis got a good taste of the NFL last season, playing in 308 defensive snaps (29 percent). He probably will play in nickel and should excel in coverage, adding speed to a perennially slow linebacking corps.
3. TE Jeff Cumberland: Because of Dustin Keller's injuries, Cumberland played a lot last season -- 592 offensive snaps (55 percent). That ratio should increase into the 70s now that Keller is gone. Cumberland has limitations, but his receiving skills should be enhanced in a West Coast-style offense. Plus, it's a contract year.
4. DE/OLB Quinton Coples: You don't find too many former No. 1 picks on a "breakout" list, but we're including Coples because he only scratched the surface last season as a backup. He led the team with 5.5 sacks, but that was hardly a monster rookie year. The plan is to make him a rush linebacker, which should create more sack opportunities. He has the raw talent; the question is whether he wants to pay the price for greatness.
5. S Josh Bush: After playing only a handful of defensive snaps as a rookie, Bush is the favorite to win the starting job opposite Dawan Landry. The former sixth-round pick is known for his coverage ability, which should make him a nice complement to Landry. Bush is raw, but his skill set translates to the pass-happy NFL, so he should have chances to make plays.