5 NFL Players to Watch This Season

PHOTO: Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos during a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Aug. 23, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos in action against the Houston Texans during a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Aug. 23, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

Are you ready for some football?

You better be since the new NFL season starts in earnest Sunday after the defending champion Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers on Thursday in the 2014 season opener.

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Here are five players to watch this season:

1. Richard Sherman

PHOTO: Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman, reacts to a play against the San Diego Chargers at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 15, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman, reacts to a play against the San Diego Chargers at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 15, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Seattle Seahawks' cornerback Richard Sherman, 26, was the loud-mouthed Super Bowl winner who, we learned, had an incredible journey from Compton, California, to Stanford University. The USA Today headline about his appearance in Thursday night's game? "People Are Scared to Throw Footballs at Richard Sherman."

Sherman is one of several young Seahawks players that will make headlines again this year. Look for his fast-running feet -- and mouth -- this season.

2. Peyton Manning

PHOTO: Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos during a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Aug. 23, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos during a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Aug. 23, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

Don't cry for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The 38-year old reached his third career Super Bowl back in February, only for a disappointing loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

However, the five time MVP will be back with a vengeance. Hopefully for Peyton, little brother Eli, the quarterback for the New York Giants, won't outshine him.

3. Calvin Johnson

PHOTO: Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions runs for a third quarter touchdown at Ford Field on Nov. 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions runs for a third quarter touchdown at Ford Field on Nov. 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.

Calvin Johnson Jr., wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, was likely one of the early picks in most Americans' Fantasy Football draft -- and rightly so.

The 28-year old is touted as the Lions' secret sauce to hopefully reaching the NFL playoffs this season.

4. Michael Sam

PHOTO: Michael Sam of the Dallas Cowboys jogs on the field during a team practice on Sept. 3, 2014, in Irving, Texas.LM Otero/AP Photo
Michael Sam of the Dallas Cowboys jogs on the field during a team practice on Sept. 3, 2014, in Irving, Texas.

Michael Sam may be the most famous practice squad player in league history. Sam, who was the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, was dropped by the St. Louis Rams, but he still is of keen public interest.

As of this week, the 24-year old practices with the Dallas Cowboys. His jersey sales continue to soar. Who know, he may even end up playing in a real game.

5. J.J. Watt

PHOTO: J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans enters Reliant Stadium on Dec. 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas.Scott Halleran/Getty Images
J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans enters Reliant Stadium on Dec. 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

J.J. Watt is the NFL's highest-paid player who is not a quarterback, naturally opening him up to a season filled with criticism about his value. He signed a six-year contract extension with the Houston Texans for $100 million, with a guarantee of $51.8 million.

Watt was a first-round pick up the 2011 NFL Draft and the Associated Press' 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The 25-year old may just be getting started.