The NFL preseason is underway and with the regular season fast approaching, the attention will begin to shift towards which players are and which players aren’t getting it done on the field. The ten players on this list have all disappointed for various reasons throughout their career, and although their careers aren’t over, they are facing truly important seasons. With that said, here are ten NFL players heading into make-or-break seasons in 2017-18.
Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos
Christian Hackenberg, QB, New York Jets
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Ereck Flowers, OT, New York Giants
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
This is an obvious one as Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been talked about all offseason long as a guy that needs to turn his career around quickly. So far, Bortles has shown a disappointing propensity to turn the ball over, and although his actual statistics aren’t awful, they fail to tell the full story. Bortles has been able to pad his stats in garbage time with the Jaguars out of games late and that is far from ideal. This is the season Bortles needs to prove he is the answer at quarterback for Jacksonville or else the team will begin to look for his replacement.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
When healthy, Sammy Watkins has been explosive as the Buffalo Bills No. 1 receiver; however, staying healthy has been a major issue for Watkins in his professional career. The Bills declined to pick up his fifth-year option this offseason, showing that they are skeptical about his long-term future with the franchise. A fully-healthy Watkins can dominate, but will we ever see that?
Update: Watkins was traded to the Los Angeles Rams on Friday in exchange for CB E.J. Gaines and second round selection.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
When the Baltimore Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, they envisioned the athletic receiver as a true No. 1 target in their offense. Unfortunately, due to a combination of injuries and sloppy play, Perriman has been far from the talent the Ravens thought they were getting. With 33 receptions, 499 receiving yards and just three touchdowns so far in his NFL career, Perriman is running out of time to prove he’s not just another exceptional athlete that lacked the football talent to thrive in the NFL.
Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears
Like Perriman, Kevin White is a receiver taken in the first round of the 2015 draft, and like Perriman, he has been injured and mostly ineffective throughout his time in the NFL. In White’s defense, former Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery took away many opportunities for White to shine, however, injuries are the main culprit in White’s floundering career. That said, he heads into the season as Chicago’s clear-cut No. 1 receiver, and the talent that made him a standout at West Virginia isn’t gone; however, it’s crystal-clear this is a critical season for White’s NFL future.
Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Coming out of Florida, Dante Fowler Jr. had the look of a player who could be a special pass-rushing presence in this league, however, to this point he has been either injured, ineffective or making headlines for the wrong reasons off the field. The power and speed that made him such an intriguing prospect have been shown in flashes, but unless he starts to produce on-field results, Fowler’s stay in Jacksonville will be massively disappointing.
D.J. Humphries, OT, Arizona Cardinals
Bruce Arians has never been known for hiding the truth, so when he says a player isn’t getting it done on the field, chances are that player is struggling. For the most part, that has been the story for Humphries in the NFL, as he has failed to live up to the expectations places on him as a former first round pick. Luckily, it’s not all bad news for Humphries as it appears he has started to turn a corner this offseason, and as of right now he is in line to protect Carson Palmer’s blindside as Arizona’s left tackle. Humphries is off to an excellent start this season, but he needs to continue on this path in order to shed the disappointment label.