The rookies and second year players of the NFL tend to get plenty of offseason attention from the media. Speculators tout the skills of the kids as they try to break out as the next generation of superstars. While fans know these guys have incredibly high upside with their youth and natural talent, but they are still at an early point in their careers where we haven’t seen enough of them to get to know their weaknesses.
Some of the young guns of the league are primed to be serious impact players and fantasy contributors in 2012. Others may fail to live up to the hype. Here’s a look at 3 big names competing for elite status:
Robert Griffin III might easily become Rookie of the Year. 4,000 yards passing, 700 yards rushing, 35 total TDs is not an unreasonable line, considering his dynamic talent and how central he will be to the Redskins’ O. The whole offensive scheme, from play calling to the other weapons around him, is primed to be very comfortable for him coming in. He showed that he is an extremely hard worker in his Heisman campaign last year, and that bodes well for his career as a Pro.
Trent Richardson will fall short of expectations, even with the big workload he is bound to get. He does have the skillset to rack up yardage and touchdowns, but the Adrian Peterson comparisons may be a bit premature. Many fantasy owners will overvalue him and take him too high in the draft for his contributions. He benefited greatly from playing on an extremely good Alabama squad last season that boosted his numbers, and will lack that same support in Cleveland. It’s not that he won’t eventually have a strong career – his rookie season may just be a disappointing start.
Will Cam Newton suffer the sophomore slump? Opposing teams are working to figure out the Panthers’ offense that he leads, but when you look at Carolina’s play with the ball last year, it is hard to understate what Cam brings to the game. He was good enough to bring Steve Smith’s numbers back up to where they were in his heyday. Losing the Madden Cover to Calvin Johnson will also help him avoid the curse in his second season. Newton is the real deal.