NFL Players We Can Pour One Out For
There are a number of NFL players coming into every season who, “the jury is still out on.” Most of the time these players receive the benefit of the doubt, even though we already know the inconvenient truth. I am here to break the bad news, or in other words, “pour one out” for players who fans are still trying to figure out.
Vic Beasley Jr., Edge Defender, Atlanta Falcons
Everyone is wondering what happened to Vic Beasley Jr. He went from leading all NFL players in sacks in 2016, to being the least productive edge defender in 2018. That type of regression is almost impossible, but I can explain what happened.
Taking a closer look at Beasley’s breakout 2016 season, it’s evident that many of his sacks came from using his athleticism against bad offensive tackles. That said, Beasley never made much growth as a pass rusher. So his regression is more of a returns to the mean, unlike what like many think.
Improvement isn’t out of the question. Beasley has all the potential in the world to put it together. However, his lack of growth in four years is discouraging. Sorry Falcons fans. Time to pour one out on this one-hit wonder.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Detroit Lions
It’s no secret that Jarrad Davis has had a rough go in his first two seasons. He was a bit of a disaster as a rookie and didn’t show much improvement in his sophomore campaign. This is exampled through his snap share increasing from 84.9% in 2017 to 100% 2018 (playerprofiler.com). Yet, his tackles per game took a dip and ProfootballFocus grades Davis as a ‘below average’ Linebacker, ranked #80.
Davis’ struggles with the processing and diagnosing at the NFL level, have been his demise. His issues are fixable, but he has made no significant strides towards improvement. Making it difficult to feel hopeful.
Davis has nowhere to go but up. But his play to this point just hasn’t justified the 21st overall selection in 2017. So, let the liquid hit the floor, because I am pouring one out for the former Gator great.
Leonard Floyd, Edge Defender, Chicago Bears
Bears fans who follow my work must think that I am beating a dead horse at this point. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t have Leonard Floyd on this list.
Floyd was drafted in the top-10 to be the dynamic edge rusher that the Bears were missing. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to their investment as a pass rusher. Injuries have certainly been a factor behind his struggles. Yet, I would argue that a lack of development has been the major cause of his pass rushing woes.
Floyd has improved as a run defender and plays with a relentless motor. However, he doesn’t impact the passing game at high level and that is what he was drafted to do. Floyd’s best sack total (7) came in his rookie season. Last season he suffered his lowest sack total (4) despite playing in all 16 games for the first time in his 3-year career. I know it hurts Bears fans, but my glass for Leonard Floyd is empty.
Leonard Fournette, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Remember when Leonard Fournette was thought of as a generational running back prospect? Well, he hasn’t lived up to that billing and as harsh as it sounds, and it is unlikely that he ever will.
Fournette is an excellent power back in a league where power running backs are going extinct. Multifaceted backs who make splash plays in the passing game are the cream of the crop in today’s NFL players. That has never been Fournette’s specialty.
Fournette is a scheme specific player. He needs to be in a power scheme, which heavily incorporates linear concepts, in order to thrive. That said, he is fairly easy to neutralize and teams know to load up the box when he is in the game.
Availability has been a real problem for Fournette. Whether it has been injuries or suspensions, he has not been able to stay on the field. SportsInjuryPrecitor.com gives Fournette a 57.5% chance at injury this season. It’s no wonder, considering his extensive injury history:
- Multiple ankle sprains
- Knee bruise
- Missing a game due to his foot being stepped on
- Unspecified muscle pull
- Quad bruise
- Multiple hamstring strains
Power backs generally don’t have long shelf-lives, so the early injuries aren’t a good sign. Talented, sure. Generational talent? We can pour one out on that.