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St. Louis Rams 2013 breakout candidate: Michael Brockers

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CBS Sports’ Senior NFL Columnist - Pete Prisco - highlighted 20 NFL players primed for a ‘breakout' in 2013. One Rams’ player made the list. His selection may, but shouldn’t, surprise you…

Scott Kane-US PRESSWIRE

There are several Rams players that could be in contention for a breakout year. Of the ten rookies taken in the 2012 class, the majority of them made an immediate impact on the team, regardless of the round in which they were drafted. And though there were varying degrees of participation and success, none had a big enough year - statistically - to take them out of contention for Prisco’s breakout premonition.

I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a surprise for a list of players that does not require the use of all 32 NFL teams to include a Rams player. Typically overlooked, despite last years re-emergence to respectability, Prisco thinks the Rams' first round pick [14th overall] is going to have a stellar 2013 campaign:

Michael Brockers, DT, St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher had Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee and this kid has a chance to be even better. As a rookie, he flashed big time on tape, showing power and quickness while recording four sacks. I would be shocked if it isn't double digits in 2013.


There’s no doubting [nor has there been] that Brockers can get it done as starter in the league. He was reliable in the trenches in his rookie year, and there’s little to indicate that he’ll continue to progress through the offseason and throughout the course of his sophomore season.

Prisco sees big things in store for Brockers. As aforementioned, Brockers tallied four sacks in 2012. A breakout candidate, Prisco sees the Rams’ defensive tackle more than doubling last year’s sack output, and exceeding the double-digit mark.

Add 10 sacks [potentially more] to the production of the defensive line’s bookends - Chris Long and Robert Quinn - and the Rams may take sole ownership of the league’s sack total at season’s end. Long and Quinn tallied 11.5 and 10.5 sacks [respectively] in 2012, aiding the Rams in tying for the league lead with 52 sacks. Improved output from Brockers, and fellow DT Kendall Langford, and opposing offensive lines are going to have their work cut out for them. Quarterbacks beware!

Regardless of whether or not Brockers amasses 10+ sacks in 2013 remains to be seen. It’s certainly a possibility. He’s a stalwart in the trenches and makes those around him better. At 6’6", 320+ lbs. - and with a lethal combo of quickness and power - it’s going to be difficult keeping Brockers out of the backfield.

The Rams totalled 39 sacks in the 2011 season, prior to acquiring Head Coach Jeff Fisher. It didn’t take long for Fisher to notice the talent he’d been provided on the defensive side of the ball. He challenged the defense to break the all-time single season sack record [72] set by the 1984 Chicago Bears.

The Rams exceded their 2011 sack total by 13 last season. Michael Brockers having the kind of season that Prisco foresees could be the catalyst that makes a few retired Bears wary of seeing their longstanding record broken.