Top 40 players-in-waiting

Earlier Friday we looked at the top 40 players in the AFC West regardless of position. Here is a look at five young players who I think could join the list next year. Let’s take a look in alphabetical order:

Donald Butler, linebacker, San Diego: After missing his rookie season with an injury, Butler showed great promise in 2011. He had 96 tackles and showed great instincts. I think he is going to be a standout.

Eric Decker, receiver, Denver: I expect Decker’s career to take off as he starts to play with Peyton Manning. Decker is a talented player. I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts up stellar numbers this season.

Melvin Ingram, linebacker, San Diego: I think the sky is the limit for the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft. He is a perfect fit for the Chargers and they will unleash him. I think he is a rookie of the year candidate.

Denarius Moore, receiver, Oakland: Moore flashed big-time talent last year as a fifth-round pick. He seems to have all the tools and Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer loves him. I see a big season coming from Moore in 2012.

Stefen Wisniewski, center, Oakland: He was stellar as a rookie guard last year. I expect similar success as he moves to center in his second season. Wisniewski is smart, athletic and tough. He could be a perennial Pro Bowler.