With the 2017 NFL season creeping upon us, we can focus closely on teams and players who need to step things up. Now every player in the NFL has to prove their worth in the NFL, but there are some who have more to prove than others. If these 5 players don’t play up to expectations in 2017, it may very well be their last chance to prove that they can be game changers in the NFL, like they were all thought to be.
In 2016, the Miami Dolphins started very poorly as they were 1-4 in their first 5 games. In those games, Tannehill played mediocre to poor in all of them throwing 7 interceptions in those 5 games. Tannehill, all of the sudden started to look like a pretty good QB up until his injury against the Cardinals week 14. The change was Miami finally had a run game with Jay Ajayi racking up 200 yard games like they were playing against peewee teams. But this is the most talented offense Tannehill has ever had going into 2017, and if he regresses from his career peak performance in the second half of his 2016 campaign, I can very well see the Dolphins trying to replace him going into 2018.
The 2016 first round pick has nowhere to go but up to go in 2017. Treadwell was selected as the 23rd pick and only helped out his team with 1 catch and 15 yards. This is disappointing as the Vikings had a very mediocre receiving core and should have been able to at least get on to the field. If Treadwell can’t get on the field this season and show any promise as the special player once believed to be at Ole Miss, he will have a very great chance of being replaced. The Vikings this offseason already weren’t content enough with their receiving core that they were going after Alshon Jeffery, and ended up signing Michael Floyd… who was just arrested.
You look at the Jaguars roster and every position is average to very good. So why do people continue to believe the Jaguars won’t be contenders next year? Blake Bortles. This is the absolute last year the Jaguars can let him prove himself or else it is time to find a replacement. All of Bortles’ rate-based stats pretty much regressed in 2016, so 2017 will give everyone a feel of whether or not he’s a franchise quarterback. If Bortles can’t improve upon his completion percentage (58.9%), his yards-per-attempt (6.3), or his touchdown to interception ratio (1.4) then it will be safe to say the Jags may look elsewhere in 2018 despite picking up his5th-yearr option.
Dante Fowler Jr.
Edge-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. was another high Jaguars pick a few years ago who still need to show his upside. Fowler Jr. missed his first year due to an ACL tear just days prior to the 2015 draft. But in his second season, the healthy Fowler only started 1 game and recorded 4 sacks for the season. The most concerning part is as the season went along he was getting less playing time. Lucky for Fowler Jr., the addition of Calais Campbell should help him a lot. If Fowler wants to get his 5th year option picked up he better start living up to expectations immediately.