Players in make or break years

Every NFL player is under intense scrutiny but these ten players have the heat turned up just a bit higher.

Mike_WallaceMike Wallace, Minnesota Vikings
The speedster who looked like an inevitable star in Pittsburgh took his talents to South Beach and then disappeared. Well not completely disappeared but he never became the star that the Dolphins paid him to become. He was still productive though, tallying 1792 yards and 15 touchdowns during his two years in Miami. However, Wallace found himself looking for a job at season’s end and now joins a young Minnesota team. With Charles Johnson bursting onto the scene and Corradelle Patterson still trying to find his way, there is room for Wallace in this team. However, if Patterson rediscovers his rookie year form and either Stephan Diggs or Jerrell Wright starts showing promise, don’t be surprised if Wallace’s time with the Vikings is short.

Trent_RichardsonTrent Richardson, Oakland Raiders
The 2012 draft is full of running backs that failed to live up to their billing. The most successful pick turned out to be Alfred Morris and that was in a draft where the potential of guys like Doug Martin and David Wilson had GMs drooling. Richardson is likely the most disappointing of them all though and now entering his fourth season, Richardson is joining his third team in as many years. Averaging a pedestrian 3.3 yards per carry heading to Oakland is not a good sign. This is likely the former Alabama products last chance to stick in the league. If he fails in Oakland, no one else is going to gamble on him again.

RG3Robert Griffin III, Washington
RG3 has had expectations heaped on him since day one. He electrified the league as a rookie but a knee injury and some adjustment to the read option offense have largely quashed what looked to be a promising career. However, the Redskins have not had a whole lot of success rotating other quarterbacks into the lineup, spare a Monday Night Miracle by Colt McCoy. Griffin is going to get one last shot at turning it around in Washington and recapturing his Rookie of the Year performance. This is the final year of his contract and if he does not show signs of marked improvement, you can be sure that Washington will not be looking to renew his deal. That would definitely put Griffin in the conversation for biggest draft bust of all time.

Geno SmithGeno Smith, New York Jets
Geno Smith probably doesn’t need reminding that he is running out of time in New York. Smith has failed to make a great first impression in his first two season with the Jets and now with Ryan Fitzpatrick waiting in the wings, Smith has real competition. Pair that with the fact that the team has a new coach and a new GM and that spells the end of Smith’s tenure in the Big Apple at the first sign of trouble. The Jets have indicated that they will give Geno every chance to win the starting job and grow but if he struggles at any point, don’t be surprised to see Todd Bowles turn to Fitzpatrick.

Percy_HarvinPercy Harvin, Buffalo Bills
Joining his fourth team in as many years is not how most people thought you would be describing Percy Harvin back in 2012. But after a trade to Seattle that was marred with injuries and another trade to the Jets that was average at best, Harvin is now set to join the Bills. He could fit the roll of a C.J. Spiller type of do it all player. However, this team is searching for an identity with a new coach. Harvin has some background with the coach in question as he played for Rex Ryan in New York just last year. If Harvin fails to impress though or cannot stay on the field, he could find himself bouncing to yet another team.

Prince_AmukamaraPrince Amukamara, New York Giants
The former first round pick is set to enter his fifth big league season. However, Amukamara has only played all 16 games once so far in his career. Over the past four years, Prince has been unavailable for 20 of New York’s games. Amukamara started off last season promising with 3 picks and 11 pass deflections in the first half of the year before once again suffering a season ending injury. With Dominique Rogers-Cromartie on one side, the Giants will be relying on Amukamara on the other. If he fails to hold up or cannot survive the rigors of a full season, New York will more than likely begin searching for his replacement.

Jarvis_JonesJarvis Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers
58 total tackles and 3 sacks is not what Pittsburgh thought they were getting when they drafted Jarvis Jones in 2013. The former first rounder came in with a lot of promise as a pass rusher but has failed to make much of an impact. Jones hasn’t managed to stay healthy either, appearing in only 21 games over the past two seasons. The Steelers’ once great defense is now a shell of itself in need of some new stars. The chance for Jones to step up is certainly there but with Pittsburgh tabbing Bud Dupree in the first round of this year’s draft, he will certainly have some competition.

Jay_CutlerJay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Believe it or not, Jay Cutler wasn’t always unpopular in Chicago. After the last two years of mediocre play which included being benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen, Bears fans’ indifference towards Cutler has turned to anger and disgust. He hasn’t always had the best offensive line in front of him, but Cutler has certainly had his fair share of targets to throw too. With Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett in his arsenal Cutler had no excuses. Yet he still tossed 18 interceptions in 15 games. At 32, Cutler is running out of time to win over the fans, and the management in Chicago.

May 10, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bjoern Werner (92) walks off the field after practicing in the Colts Rookie Minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Bjorn Werner, Indianapolis Colts
Two years into his professional career, Werner has failed to turn too many heads. He was selected in the first round by Indianapolis back in 2013 with the label of a project. However, he has failed to develop a whole lot with only 68 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 28 career games. Nagging injuries have certainly played into Werner’s slow development but that isn’t a reassuring excuse. Werner will likely have to duke it out with Trent Cole and Erik Walden just to get playing time. Once he gets it, he needs to capitalize or he will be out of a job.

Sam_BradfordSam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
Signing the richest rookie contract in history at the time was great for Sam Bradford. It turned out to not be so great for the Rams. Bradford only managed to play 49 games in 5 seasons for St. Louis. Coming off his second ACL tear in as many years, many doubt that Bradford is a reliable starting quarterback option. Bradford might be the player with the best chance to breakout this year on this list joining the playoff-hopeful Eagles. Chip Kelly has high hopes for him but if he hits the shelf again due to injury, don’t expect Bradford to be back again.

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