Chris Johnson and 3 NFL Stars Who Will Fade in 2012
The NFL draft is later this week, and the focus has been on the incoming rookies for a couple months now.
While some rookies will climb to success, others will fall, but many will have to wait for a starting job.
Players like Chris Johnson have already made it through their rookie year but will still have their own challenges in 2012.
Having a bad season can quickly lead to a comfortable seat on the bench, and that's exactly what these players are trying to avoid.
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Last Year: Chris Johnson played all but one game for the Tennessee Titans in 2011 and provided just over 1,000 yards of rushing yards. He set career lows in rushing yards (1,047) and yards per carry (four).
The real concern is the lack of touchdowns. In his 262 carries, Johnson only managed four touchdowns.
Next Year: Johnson has had a considerable drop in production over the last two years. His 2,006 rushing yards in his second season seems to be a distant memory quickly fading.
He has yet to break the 1,400-yard mark since that season and has almost stopped putting the ball in the end zone at all.
Another drop in performance in 2012 will almost certainly have Johnson looking for work sooner rather than later.
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Last Year: Richard Seymour had an impressive six sacks last year—his third-best performance in his 11-year career. However, Seymour posted a career-low 29 tackles, 19 fewer than 2010.
A big man ages quickly in the NFL, and Seymour may be on the final leg of his career.
Next Year: Age may finally be catching up with Seymour which will bring down his production. While the numbers might continue to decrease, he won't be exiting for a couple more years.
The tricks of the trade will give Seymour an edge over the younger guys who might have the edge physically.
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Last Year: Rob Gronkowski had a record-setting year in 2011 and left himself a high bar to exceed in 2012.
After 42 receptions for 546 yards in 2010, "The Gronk" exploded last year. He more than doubled his receptions (90) and was close to tripling his reception yards (1,327).
Next Year: By no means was 2011 a "fluke" in Gronkowski's ability. He has already established himself as the go-to receiver for Tom Brady and will surely continue to produce big numbers going forward.
However, coming back from a record-setting season never goes as planned. Teams will have more film to study and will be better prepared to defend Gronk. 2011 put him on the map, but 2012 will be a little more quite numbers wise.
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Last Year: Willis McGahee seemingly found his old self, having his first 1,000-plus-yard season in over three years.
This Year: Now that Tebow is out and Peyton Manning is in, running the ball will be put on the backburner.
Manning's effectiveness in the pass game will almost assuredly open holes for McGahee to run, but it is a stretch to assume he will repeat his 249-carry performance of 2011.
A sub-1,000-yard performance in 2012 looks like a safe bet in 2012.