Sophomore Slumps in the NFL are not myths. As a matter of fact, sophomore slumps are not myths in any sport. A sophomore slump is when a player is entering their second season in their playing career and has anywhere from a slight to a severe decline in production following their rookie season.
A perfect example in basketball would be Superstar Boston Celtics player Jayson Tatum had a sophomore slump following an electric rookie season. In Tatum’s sophomore season every major efficiency category declined from his rookie season. Current Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield is a perfect example of this as well. Baker brought a feeling of hope and optimism to the Browns after years of struggle. He would show some major flaws on tape his sophomore season, leading to a decline in his year two performance.
Let’s take a look at who we feel is most primed for a sophomore slump in the upcoming 2021-2022 NFL Season.
1. Justin Jefferson
Alright, Vikings fans don’t get angry. Justin Jefferson just had one of the greatest rookie seasons for a wideout in NFL history. To expect anything more from Jefferson is quite frankly rather unrealistic. Jefferson should also expect to be matched up against the opposing team’s best cornerback as well. This would include Marlon Humphrey, Denzel Ward, Jalen Ramsey, and Jaire Alexander twice a season just to name a few. Along with a rumored separated shoulder injury could hamper a breakout season.
2. Chase Claypool
This one I feel almost 100% positive and confident about and if I was a betting man I would bet that Claypool has a decrease in production this upcoming season. Claypool is a physical specimen who makes contested catches and is underrated after the catch as well. Unfortunately, his production heavily declined throughout the last half of the regular season. Along with his quarterback Ben Rothlisberger apparently struggling to push the ball down the field, it could be a rough season for Claypool. At least you should be able to expect Dionte Johnson to have a breakout season if he can fix his drop concerns.
3. James Robinson
An undrafted rookie from Illinois State had a spectacular rookie season. Robinson had over 1,000 yards rushing in only fourteen games. However new head coach Urban Meyer and the front office would decide to draft running back Travis Etienne from Clemson. While a great running back drafting Etienne was an unnecessary move, to say the least. Etienne is likely going to replace Robinson as the lead back, which obviously would decrease Robinson’s production.
4. Tristan Wirfs
Wirfs who was selected about he Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Wirfs would go on to have one of the best rookie seasons for a Tackle ever. There is just slight concern that his historic rookie performance can be replicated. This one I am definitely the least confident about because Wirfs is such an amazing prospect that should be an anchor for the Bucs offensive line for years to come.