An NFL superstar can’t have a good year every year. All of a sudden he can get hurt and then his season abruptly ends. Or maybe he’s dealing with personal issues and it’s at the point where it’s too much for him and it affects his productivity on the field.
However, any player who’s had a disappointing year has the chance of turning it around the following year.
Sure, Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, or even Carson Wentz may be obvious choices for Comeback Player of the Year, but let’s look beyond those three.
1. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year as well as the first player in the history of the NFL to have two seasons with 20+ sacks. He’s the all-time Texans franchise leader in sacks and forced fumbles. Watt has given everything to Houston and he’s still got so much more to give. The last two years saw Watt battled a number of injuries and he’s struggled to stay healthy. He’s only appeared in eight games in the last two seasons. 2018 is a new year for him, but the biggest question exists around his health. A healthy Watt is more than capable of dominating the gridiron.
2. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr did have a good season health-wise and he put up great numbers as far as statistics go. However, despite his efforts, the Raiders went 6-10 last season. Jon Gruden is now the team’s head coach, which means its a fresh start for the team. Gruden and Carr didn’t waste any time getting on the same page as they’re quite close now. As part of the fresh start, Carr is learning a new offensive scheme, but Gruden insists Carr knows the system well. Gruden, himself, stated that Carr has the offensive system “more mastered than I do“. Carr’s playing time during the preseason was very limited, but he strongly insists he’s ready to go.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Coming off quite a stressful 2017, Elliott went through the roller coaster of facing a six-game suspension to being available to being suspended to being finally available. Unfortunately, the stress took its toll on both he and the Cowboys as they both had lackluster campaigns. He finished the season under 1,000 rushing yards and had five 100-yard rushing games. In addition, the Cowboys missed the playoffs. But now all that is behind him and he’s ready for a fresh start. A healthy and concentrated Elliott will do Dallas some good as they need him to be at his best all season long.
4. Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers
Coming off a 2017 season that saw him nagged by an Achilles injury, which supposedly happened in week five, Sherman’s season came to a close in the Seattle Seahawks’ ninth contest against the Arizona Cardinals. That turned out to be the last time we’d see him in a Seahawks uniform as he did not return to the team.
During the offseason, Sherman signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Robert Saleh, the defensive coordinator was in Seattle from 2011 to 2013, meaning Sherman is familiar with the scheme already. The 2013 interceptions leader is ready to make an impact again.
Since Watt has only played eight games in the last two years, it will be hard to ignore anything he does on the field especially if he looks likes shades of his old self.