Coming into 2014 the following players were expected to make a substantial (positive) impact on their respective teams. However, they could not live up to the hype. These guys will have a long off-season to reflect on and we shall see if they bounce back in 2015.
Robert Griffin III – Coming back from injury in 2013, Griffin was expected to take a leap forward with new head coach Jay Gruden considering the success a mediocre, Andy Dalton, had with Gruden as his offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. The addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts to go along with the leading receiver from 2013, Pierre Garçon, had many fans ecstatic about the potential offensive output the Redskins could offer. Griffin struggled early on with his footwork and recognition within a conventional offense, checking down many passes instead of finding open receivers downfield. Adding injury to insult Griffin dislocated his ankle in Week 2 forcing him out of the lineup for two months. When he returned under center he continued to struggle and a late season benching in favor of Colt McCoy ended any hope for Griffin’s 2014 season.
Trent Richardson– The former number three pick of the 2012 NFL draft, Richardson, was thought to be a can’t miss prospect out of Alabama who many believed could be the next great running back in a pass-happy league. Boy were the experts wrong with that sentiment as Richardson has struggled mightily in his career thus far. As a matter of fact Richardson was the last back taken early in the first round and could very well be part of the reason the trend of not drafting a running back that early is so pervasive. That being said, Richardson was given a second opportunity this season with the Indianapolis Colts but squandered it once again with poor play and lingering questions regarding his work ethic. Richardson faces a crossroad in his career and will have to demonstrate more commitment to his craft in order to live up to his potential.
Cordarelle Patterson – No one would ever question Patterson’s athleticism and game changing ability. Picked as a player who would build from a strong second half in his rookie year, Patterson suffered the dreaded sophomore slump. The worst part for Patterson is it appeared he was totally lost on the field causing him to be benched in favor of Charles Johnson. Patterson has a lot of work to do this off-season starting with studying film and perfecting his route-running. It takes more than physical ability to become a quality and consistent receiver in the NFL.
Vernon Davis – Wasn’t this guy suppose to revolutionize the tight end position? Vernon Davis might be the biggest disappointment on this list, as he is in the prime of his career and was coming off a 13 TD season in 2013. How does a player go from 13 TDs to 26 total receptions the following season. Injuries, the inability to consistently separate, and being forced to stay in to pass protect are all reasons why Davis struggled. Inconsistent play from the quarterback position also played a role as Colin Kaepernick could of easily made this list as well. Regardless, the 49ers need Davis to bounce back next season if they have any hopes to make the playoffs in 2015.
Jadeveon Clowney – Slated as a future star in this league before he took a snap, Clowney could go down as one of the biggest busts in recent memory. Already questioned regarding his work ethic and passion for football, injuries derailed his rookie season. The light at the end of the tunnel may have dimmed as Clowney’s microfracture surgery on his knee seems to be healing slower than expected making his 2015 outlook far less promising. So the question of when Clowney gets back to full strength has now changed to if Clowney will ever get to full strength? Disappointment is an understatement thus far for Texans’ fans who believed the number one pick was destined to brutalize QBs opposite J.J. Watt. Now fingers are crossed that Clowney doesn’t end up the Greg Oden of football.
Notables – Jay Cutler, Toby Gearhart, Doug Martin, Alterraun Verner, Michael Johnson, Kenny Vaccaro, Wes Welker, Troy Polamalu, Geno Atkins, Luke Joeckel, Maurice Jones-Drew, Dwayne Bowe, Colin Kaepernick, Chris Johnson, Jake Long, Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball