The NFL draft brings annual hope to every team in the league in the form of draft picks with the potential to immediately make their teams better. Inevitably, that hope turns to disappointment for teams whose rookies fail to live up to immediate expectations.
As the number of first-year players making instant impacts in the league seemingly rises each year, so too do the expectations that rookies—especially those drafted in the first or second round—face from day one.
Franchises and their fans have come to expect immediate returns from draft picks, which only increases the likelihood that top rookies, at least in their first seasons, will fall short of the hype.
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher, and the No. 3 overall selection, Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan, were among the biggest disappointments of last year’s rookie class. St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (selected eighth overall), Tennessee Titans guard Chance Warmack (drafted 10th) and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (the 23rd pick) are additional examples of first-year players who didn’t live up to the hype in 2013.
While all of those players showed their potential for greatness at times and could emerge as stars within the next few years, their play as rookies lacked the consistency to meet the increasingly demanding standards for top draft choices.
Because of the lofty, often unrealistic projections that early-round draft choices are expected to match, a player can emerge as a solid contributor for his team in his first year and still be labeled as a disappointment.
That could be how the chips fall for the following 10 rookies. Each of these players have star potential and were selected in the first two rounds of the draft as a result. But they face expectations that will surpass what their current skill sets and surroundings will make them capable of accomplishing in 2014.
Players listed in order of draft selection.