5 NFL Rookies Most Likely to Hit a Sophomore Slump
These Rookies Will Struggle to Match Their Own Numbers
The 2012 NFL season could go down as the best rookie class of all time. From quarterbacks, to running backs, defensive players and even kickers this year will be something to remember. However, the first year can sometimes be a fluke and other times the player just set the bar too high for them to match on a year to year basis. The five players on this list may be destined for greatness, but in the 2013 season you may see their numbers go down.
Since the beginning, the skill level in the NFL has gone up. Players are getting bigger and if they're not bigger they are faster and stronger. The 2012 rookie class has shown us just that. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is listed at just over 5'10", but he enjoyed one of the most successful rookie campaigns in NFL history. He is one of the only players to defy the odds and be successful and Seattle fans will tell you the sky is the limit for this kid. He tied Peyton Manning's rookie record and won 11 games along the way.
Wilson set high expectations for himself, but did not win over the fans until about half way through the season. Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck already had the support of their fans and the expectations were high. They exceeded their expectations, but going into next season will they be able to continue to match these crazy expectations? It's hard to say. I guess we will just have to take the wait and see approach, but until then, here is my list of rookies most likely to fail to meet expectations and hit a sophomore slump in the 2013 season, enjoy
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Minnesota Vikings K Blair Walsh
Minnesota Vikings K Blair Walsh is a case of a rookie player that set the bar too high. He set an NFL record for field goals over 50 yards converting 10 of 10 on the season. He earned a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster and his accomplishments should be praised. However, next season the Vikings are going to be a better football team. He will not get the same chances, and you will see his numbers go down. He will miss more than one field goal of 50 yards next year and probably will not get the same amount of chances, so his percentage will go down.
Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck
In my opinion, Colts QB Andrew Luck did not the great season everybody keeps talking about. He should finish fourth in rookie of the year voting behind Griffin III, Wilson and RB Alfred Morris. He did break the rookie record for passing yards in a season set last year by Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, but he also turned the ball over a lot. Luck finished the year with 18 interceptions which is the most out of the rookie QB class this year. He did throw the ball a lot more than everybody else, but I still see it as a problem the Colts will need to address in the off-season. Luck may match his season next year, but the Colts will fall to 8 and 8 and miss the playoffs
Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly
The Panthers are getting better. They will address their defensive needs in the draft and bring in more talent to surround LB Luke Kuechly. He may play the same, but his numbers will go down because he will have to do less. 164 combined tackles is way too many considering the next best on his team had more than 60 less than that. Kuechly will be a star in this league, but the amount of tackles he has will go down as the Carolina Panthers get better and better through the draft. Slump may not be the best word to use here, but according to his numbers he will look like a less quality player in 2013.
Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III is the Rookie of the Year in my opinion. His stats are off the chart and he did enough to win the division in his first year in the NFL. However, the man takes way too many hits and as his career goes on it will slow him down. Whether it's a concussion, ankle or knee sprain Griffin is going to miss some games over the course of his career. Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan will scale his recklessness back in 2013 and because of that you will see his numbers go down. The Redskins may be a perennial playoff contender, but you're not going to see 815 yards rushing out of him in the future.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin caught the media's attention by out rushing Vikings RB Adrian Peterson in week eight. The next week he went for 250 yards and four TDs. Martin is listed at 5'9" 215 pounds and has the advantage of disappearing between the big men. He finished the year with an impressive 1,454 rushing yards, but with the exception of a few games at the end of the year his numbers took a pretty hard hit. I expect 2013 to be a lot like the end of the year for the Buccaneers as a whole. Head Coach Greg Schiano did not make a lot of friends this year and the Buccaneers will be in a lot of situations where they need to pass the ball a lot.