Every draft class produces stars and busts. Of course, Week 8 is too early to determine whether a draftee is a boom or a bust. But there are always rookies who struggle to make an immediate impact. So which rookies have been disappointments so far this season? To clarify, this list doesn’t take into account rookies like Chicago’s Kevin White or Baltimore’s Breshad Perriman who have not played so far due to injury.
Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers
Coming out of Wisconsin, the San Diego Chargers selected Gordon to provide balance to the offense and complement Philip Rivers with a game-changing running game; but Gordon hasn’t yet lived up to the hype. He has looked hesitant when attacking running lanes and hasn’t swung any games in San Diego’s favour. Gordon has started seven out of eight games, but has averaged just 47.8 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry despite being San Diego’s leading rusher. Gordon hasn’t scored any touchdowns and has struggled to protect the football, fumbling four times and losing three. Unless he finds some form soon, the Chargers will still have a terrible running game.
Trae Waynes, CB, Minnesota Vikings
As the top corner taken in the draft at 11th overall, Waynes was supposed to be the starting corner opposite Xavier Rhodes for the Minnesota Vikings. So far, Waynes has failed to crack the starting line-up and hasn’t supplanted veteran free agent signing Terence Newman. Waynes hasn’t started any games and has zero interceptions and only one pass defensed in the limited action he’s seen. He’ll struggle to grow into the top corner the Vikings expect if he can’t even beat out Newman first.
Danny Shelton, NT, Cleveland Browns
Shelton was drafted by the Cleveland Browns to shore up their poor run defense. The Browns selected him 12th overall, but halfway through the season, Cleveland’s run defense ranks dead-last in the league, allowing 147 yards per game. Shelton has started every game this season, but has just 17 combined tackles with zero forced fumbles and no sacks. Not quite the disruptive force Cleveland thought they were getting from the University of Washington.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Dorsett has looked like a textbook luxury pick so far this season; unnecessary and limited by the same weaknesses that the 29th overall pick that the Colts used to select him could’ve addressed. Dorsett has had just 11 catches for 167 yards and one touchdown in seven games – the kind of numbers you expect a great receiver to have in one game with Andrew Luck under centre . Dorsett has failed to make an impact and hasn’t yet started a game. GM Ryan Grigson is probably regretting that pick right now…
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Agholor was expected to replace Jeremy Maclin as Philadelphia’s number one receiver and put up big numbers in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo spread offense, but Agholor hasn’t made much of an impact in five games before suffering an ankle injury, with just eight catches for 105 yards and no touchdowns.