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ESPN.com selects Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt as potential second year breakout performer

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Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt had a solid rookie campaign, and ESPN.com sees the former Notre Dame product as a potential second year breakout performer.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, I wrote an article posing the question of which Pittsburgh Steelers second year players could be in for a breakout sophomore season. The list included Ryan Shazier, Dri Archer, Stephon Tuitt, Martavis Bryant and Daniel McCullers as possible candidates. Fans voted, and currently the majority of BTSC faithful feel Bryant has the best chance to breakout in 2015.

ESPN.com's Insider thinks it will be Stephon Tuitt with the stellar sophomore campaign. In a recent article where they outline eight potential second year players across the NFL landscape who could be due for a breakout season, Tuitt made their list. See what they had to say about the young defensive end:

8. Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt

Pittsburgh has had success finding players who left school a year early and developing them into reliable NFL standouts. Tuitt looks ready to be the next in line, though it won't necessarily be reflected in the stat sheet. As an end in Pittsburgh's 3-4 scheme, Tuitt's ability to control the point of attack and create space for others to operate is critically important.

The last sentence of such a brief summation of Tuitt's ultimate job can't be understated. The defensive front's job in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme is to occupy blockers which allow the linebackers to flow to the ball and make plays. Think about the early 2000's defenses when players like Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel did this to perfection for the vaunted Steelers' defense.

Tuitt, along with Cameron Heyward, will be responsible for allowing the Steelers' athletic inside linebackers to roam freely by not allowing the offensive linemen the ability to get to the next level. Lawrence Timmons and a combination of Shazier, Vince Williams and Sean Spence are more than capable of answering the bell if the defensive front can do their job.

Tuitt should be a large contributor to the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers, and hopefully his contributions live up to the label of a 'second year breakout performer'.