The first go-around isn't always a smashing success for NFL rookies. While the instant success of Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, and Derwin James, just to name a few, has led some reactionary folk to slap the dreaded bust label on underperforming rookies after just one season. Giving up on a player after one year is beyond foolish, and these five rookies look primed to bounce back and shut all the haters up.
5. Josh Jackson, CB - Packers
While 10 pass deflections for a rookie corner who didn't start sounds impressive, it's easy to deflect 10 passes when the quarterback is throwing at you all game. Jackson, primarily a zone coverage guy at Iowa, was forced to pay a lot of man and line up in the slot last year. If moved outside, where Mike Pettine's corners play lots of zone, expect a big season from second-year DB.
4. Taven Bryan, DT - Jaguars
Bryan, who recorded a mere 62 tackles during his entire college career, was billed as a project from Day 1. He lived up to that billing, racking up only 20 tackles and 1 sack behind Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell. With Jackson now in Philadelphia, Bryan and his explosive first step are set to show off the hidden gem he was.
3. Hayden Hurst, TE - Ravens
Hurst was a bit of a confusing selection, as 25-year-old rookies with injury problems don't often become first round picks. Hurst's rough rookie season was the cause of another injury and being leaped on the depth chart by Mark Andrews. Lamar Jackson loved throwing safe routes to tight ends, so Hurst could be in for a very productive year in 2019.
2. Vita Vea, DT- Buccaneers
A 346-pound space eater with surprisingly nimble footwork that the Buccaneers used the 13th overall pick on, Vea was only able to record 28 tackles and 3 sacks last season. A lot more was expected of him from a pass rushing standpoint, and he could turn the corner with Todd Bowles' 3-4 making its debut in Tampa Bay.
1. Josh Rosen, QB - Dolphins
Miami didn't trade a second round pick for a guy who is going to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick for a year. Rosen struggled last year, yes. However, his woes came under the watch of a completely incompetent coaching staff and front office that saw him play under two offensive coordinators. While Brian Flores and his staff have a lot to prove, they at least look like they know what they're doing, giving Rosen a chance to make the Arizona Cardinals rue the day they traded him.