10 NFL Players Heading For Sophomore Slumps In 2014

10 NFL Players Heading For Sophomore Slumps In 2014

Zac Stacy St. Louis Rams
Getty Images

We see it every single year in the NFL. After taking the league by storm in their rookie seasons, there are always several players who suffer the dreaded “sophomore slump”; just ask Robert Griffin III and David Wilson. That said, these 10 players look like prime candidates to disappoint in their second professional seasons.

10. Tyrann Mathieu, FS, Arizona Cardinals

Tyrann Mathieu Arizona Cardinals
Getty Images

10. Tyrann Mathieu, FS, Arizona Cardinals

Tyrann Mathieu Arizona Cardinals
Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals took a major risk when they selected Tyrann Mathieu in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but, after a stellar rookie season, Mathieu appears to have quieted most of his doubters. So why is he on this list? It’s simple; a torn ACL and MCL that ended his rookie season hasn't fully healed, and it will end up hurting Mathieu in his second season.

9. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions

Ezekiel Ansah Detroit Lions
Getty Images

9. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions

Ezekiel Ansah Detroit Lions
Getty Images

Despite being perhaps the most raw rookie in the league last year, Ezekiel Ansah made a big impact by racking up eight sacks in his rookie season. While I believe Ansah has tremendous potential down the line, the fact is a good number of his sacks in 2013 came from being unblocked by opposing offensive lines. Offenses have had a chance to prepare for Ansah this offseason, and he will suffer a down tick in production.

8. David Bakhtiari, OT, Green Bay Packers

David Bakhtiari Green Bay Packers
Getty Images

8. David Bakhtiari, OT, Green Bay Packers

David Bakhtiari Green Bay Packers
Getty Images

A fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft, little was expected out of David Bakhtiari in his rookie season. As fate would have it however, Bakhtiari would be forced into a starting role after Bryan Bulaga went down with injury, and surprisingly, Bakhtiari played well. Despite his solid play in 2013, though, Bakhtiari would be hard pressed to replicate that success in year two. In a division full of great pass-rushers, Bakhtiari's play will fall off.

7. Kenny Vaccaro, SS, New Orleans Saints

Kenny Vaccaro New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

7. Kenny Vaccaro, SS, New Orleans Saints

Kenny Vaccaro New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

When he’s healthy, Kenny Vaccaro has the potential to be one of the best safeties in the league. The problem is, health has proven to be a problem for Vaccaro so far. With two concussions and a broken ankle after just one season in the league, I can't help but wonder if Vaccaro will be able to hold up in his second season.

6. Kiko Alonso, WLB, Buffalo Bills

Kiko Alonso Buffalo Bills
Getty Images

6. Kiko Alonso, WLB, Buffalo Bills

Kiko Alonso Buffalo Bills
Getty Images

After a phenomenal rookie season, many are praising Kiko Alonso as the Buffalo Bills’ next great linebacker. And while that may be true down the line, I expect Alonso to take a step back in 2014. With a position change and a new scheme in place, Alonso will need some time to adapt.

5. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

Keenan Allen San Diego Chargers
Getty Images

5. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

Keenan Allen San Diego Chargers
Getty Images

An absolute steal in the third round of the 2013 draft for the San Diego Chargers, Keenan Allen instantly provided the team with a spark in the receiving corps. Allen became QB Philip Rivers’ favorite target down the stretch last season, but I’m not sure that success will continue in 2014. Allen will be fine down the line, but with defenses now better prepared to handle him, Allen won’t be quite as dominant in his second season.

4. Sheldon Richardson, DE, New York Jets

Sheldon Richardson New York Jets
Getty Images

4. Sheldon Richardson, DE, New York Jets

Sheldon Richardson New York Jets
Getty Images

Don’t get me wrong, Sheldon Richardson should still be great in 2014, but I don’t think he will quite replicate his ridiculous rookie success. Richardson was an elite player in his rookie season, but his production is set to take a dive due to the extra attention likely to be coming his way.

3. Larry Warford, OG, Detroit Lions

Larry Warford Detroit Lions
Getty Images

3. Larry Warford, OG, Detroit Lions

Larry Warford Detroit Lions
Getty Images

Coming out of nowhere last season to secure a starting job on the Detroit Lions’ offensive line, Larry Warford was a great success story in his inaugural NFL campaign. That said, this is a division loaded with talent along the defensive line, and while Warford will remain a starter, he won’t be nearly as effective.

2. Eric Reid, FS, San Francisco 49ers

Eric Reid San Francisco 49ers
Getty Images

2. Eric Reid, FS, San Francisco 49ers

Eric Reid San Francisco 49ers
Getty Images

Of the players on this list, Eric Reid is the one most likely to prove me wrong. Reid was a Pro Bowl player in his rookie season for the San Francisco 49ers, but with added pressure in year two, I don’t think Reid will play at such a high level in his second season. With Donte Whitner, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers all gone, Reid will fall off a bit with offenses targeting him more.

1. Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams

Zac Stacy St. Louis Rams
Getty Images

1. Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams

Zac Stacy St. Louis Rams
Getty Images

Despite the fact he is coming off a solid rookie season and looks to have tremendous potential down the road, Zac Stacy is in line for a big drop off in his second season. The St. Louis Rams drafted Tre Mason in this year’s draft, and with Mason opening eyes at OTAs, Stacy’s starting job and production are in jeopardy.


Around the Web