Predicting the NFL's Sophomore Slumps for the 2014 Season

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Predicting the NFL's Sophomore Slumps for the 2014 Season
USA TODAY Sports
Zac Stacy's rookie production for the St. Louis Rams exceeded all expectations, but the 2013 fifth-round pick could be primed to take a step back in 2014.

The sophomore-slump phenomenon might be more mythical than it is a real trend, but there are annual examples of second-year NFL players who fail to meet expectations after impressive rookie seasons.

The most obvious example of a sophomore slump in 2013 was Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Coming off a torn ACL, Griffin was unable to exhibit the same playmaking ability and efficiency as he did in his 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. His completion percentage dropped more than five percentage points, while he had 11 fewer total touchdowns and threw seven more interceptions than the previous year. He even got benched for Washington’s final three games of the season.

The 2013 draft class will try to avoid following in the footsteps of RG3, and many other promising rookies turned disappointing second-year players before him, in 2014.  

One national rookie-award recipient, PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year and Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso, has already had his second NFL season go up in flames due to a torn ACL.

AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers, AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets and PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year Keenan Allen of the San Diego Chargers all had excellent 2013 seasons, but each of them should be in position to continue their ascent into the league’s best players at their respective positions if they can stay healthy.

Yet, although players are typically expected to progress between their first and second NFL seasons, some will seemingly regress. The following eight players each have factors working against them that make backing up their impressive rookie campaigns less likely.

 

In order to have a sophomore slump, one must have a level of performance to fall from, so all players chosen were either ranked within the top 50 rookies of 2013 or were honorable mentions to those rankings.

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