Steve Mitchel

NFL second year players who could have bounce-back seasons

Many NFL rookies did not live up to the hype after they were selected on draft nightin 2015. Luckily, there is a second season right around the corner presenting an opportunity for them to bounce back.

Players from the 2015 NFL draft like Todd GurleyAmari Cooper and Marcus Peters have already proven to be some of the better players at their respective positions. Others from that class have yet to make a difference, however. But while they might seem a long way from the glow of draft day right now, these players could be poised for a breakout season. 

1. DeVante Parker: Wide Receiver (Dolphins) First round 14th Overall Pick. 26 receptions for 494 yards and 3 touchdowns

In the first eight weeks of last season, Parker had a total 4 receptions for 49 yards. Late second half of the season, however, he showed his potential by developing a connection with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, including a 5 reception, 106 yard and 1 touchdown game vs the Patriots in week 17. Parker's biggest strength is his soft hands and his body control while in the air. If Parker is able to shore up his route running while continuing to build a connection with Tannehill, the potential to have a complete second season and be an elite receiver in the league is definitely there.

2. Dante Fowler: Defensive End (Jaguars) First round 3rd Overall Pick. Missed season due to Torn ACL.  

Fowler has untapped potential. Literally, as he has not yet been on the field for the Jaguars, as the first day of mini-camp last year he tore his ACL. Now fully healthy and participating in OTAs with the Jaguars, Fowler has all the makings of an elite sack artist in the NFL. His quick first step and ability to rush from the two or three-point stance is impressive, which could lead to a huge season for the former Florida Gator.

3. Nelson Agholor: Wide Receiver (Eagles) First round 20th Overall Pick. 23 receptions for 283 yards and 1 touchdown

A trendy sleeper pick for Rookie of the Year, Agholor struggled to be consistent in Chip Kelly's offense. Now in a new offense, Agholor has a chance to live up to his potential. He is quick out of his breaks, but his inability to blow by cornerbacks and create separation over the top is something he will need to improve on to be more consistent. With a new offense and possibly a new quarterback, Agholor will be looking to forget about his rough rookie season. 

4. Melvin Gordon: Running Back (Chargers) First round 15th Overall Pick. Averaged 3.5 yards per rush and gained 641 rushing yards with zero rushing touchdowns. 

Los Angeles Rams Running back Todd Gurley certainly lived up to—and even surpassed—expectations in his first season, but Gordon, the other first round running back, struggled mightily. He lacked the quickness that he showed in college and struggled to find the few holes that the Chargers line provided. Gordon also shared carries with likes of Danny Woodhead and picked up nagging injuries throughout the season, which contributed to a slow rookie season. If the Offensive line improves and stays healthy for the Chargers, and Gordon is healthy, fans could be in for quite a treat heading into next season.  

5. Kevin White: Wide Receiver (Bears) First round 7th Overall Pick. Missed season due to a stress fracture in his shin.

What seemed like a small injury in the preseason turned out to be a season-ending one for the former West Virginia Mountaineer. White fractured his shin and did not see the field the rest of the season. White has prototypical size at 6'3" and great speed, as demonstrated when he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. After sitting out the season to learn the playbook, White will need to learn to get off line of scrimmage against press coverage. (In college, he was not asked to do that often.) Teams will be keying on Alshon Jeffrey all season, so, if healthy, White should be able to thrive in the Bears' offense.


Scout NFL Network Top Stories