It’s NFL Draft season. When a game-changing draft pick goes from savior of the franchise to Mr. Irrelevant before your very eyes, be patient, give him time and trust the process.
We are without a doubt in full swing of the NFL offseason and so far, it has been exciting.
Scouting Combine – check.
Free agency – check.
What remains now is not really that big of a deal. It’s only 32 professional football teams in the hunt for what they are hoping will be that one player, the gem of the future who will take not only an entire organization but an entire city to the promise land.
Nope, no pressure.
In today’s NFL, that franchise-changing draft pick tends to end up on the wrong side of lunch break and dinner table debates far too often.
The pressure to win football games in the league today is at an all-time high. Too often do we see a rookie with the weight of the world on his shoulders, with only one summer to learn an incredibly complex NFL system.
If said player underperforms to the dismay of many and has a tough couple of initial seasons, there is no patience. The NFL isn’t built for being understanding, because patience typically ends in a pink slip for players and coaches alike.
In the blink of an eye, a player can go from a hot-shot draft pick that everyone loves and covets, to underachieving journeyman whose name garners the word bust.
Realistically, that player never had a shot. Being drafted high in the first round typically means a player is going to a bad team with no culture of success. It’s unrealistic to believe any player can come in and change everything quickly.
Time and patience for a young prospect are immensely important. Learning and adjusting to an NFL-caliber offense or defense takes years of repetition and dedication.
David Carr was the No. 1 overall pick in 2002 by the expansion Houston Texans. He took an NFL record 76 sacks in his rookie season, and his career quickly became a monotonous routine of getting up off his back time and time again. By 2006, Carr and the Texans parted ways.
Another notable name that went bust is Charles Rogers. The Michigan State wide receiver racked up 135 receptions for just shy of 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in two seasons with the Spartans. Rogers was selected No. 2 overall by the Lions in 2003. The fans were thrilled. When his NFL career came to a close after just three seasons Rogers tallied up a grand total of 36 receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns.
This year’s draft class boast some of the most talented play makers in recent memory. Guys like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Saquon Barkley, are game-changers. They possess the ability to help change a franchise around and reach the incredibly elusive Lombardi Trophy. But teams must tread lightly when putting so much pressure on a young man fresh from a dorm room and pep rally’s. Yes, pressure does make diamonds, but too much pressure on NFL Sundays can turn any diamond into Mr. Irrelevant faster than you can imagine.