Come September, there will be 1,696 football players who are employed by a NFL team. But only a select few will actually get a starting role on each team. It’s difficult to be a starter on a team. The talent level of football players is so great, that it takes a lot of talent to start at the professional level. And many fans and players take it for granted. But, some of these players with starting roles, don’t truly deserve to be starters.
Throughout the history of the game, there have been so many players who have lost their jobs for not playing well enough. It’s a production business. If you want to be somebody in the NFL, you have to be successful. The media and fan bases don’t allow a lot of error, which makes it difficult on a lot of these players. It’s a lot of pressure for a young adult, which many of these players cannot deal with.
The quarterback position, as well as running backs and wide receivers are three of the most premier positions in football. For the average fans, these are the most entertaining considering this is how teams score. And because this is how teams score, these players get criticized the most arguably.
While there’s a lot of pressure on these players, there’s a lot of money that can come quickly. If you can show a glimpse of superstardom, you can likely become a starter. But as easy as you became a starter, is as easy as it can go.
The players on this list probably shouldn’t be starters, and could see themselves losing their job in the near future.
21 Quarterback: Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
Now that the Baltimore Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson, it seems like the end of Joe Flacco’s day as a starter are coming to an end. Ever since Flacco won the Super Bowl, it hasn’t looked very good for him. The turnovers continue, and his lack of leadership clearly effects his team. There has been a lot of talent on the Ravens team the past few seasons, yet this team hasn’t been successful.
With the potential of Jackson being so great, Flacco doesn’t deserve to be a starter anymore.
Jackson can provide so much more for his team than Joe Flacco can. Between his ability to use his arm and his legs to make plays, he can make a star in the league.
20 Running Back: Bilal Powell - New York Jets
Can you trust running backs who aren’t consistent? There are times when Bilal Powell looks really good, and other times you just want to throw in another running back. Obviously with Matt Forte’s retirement, it gave Powell an opportunity to get more carries. But now, the Jets have brought in Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls. Rawls won’t be worth a starting position, but Crowell very much will be.
Crowell rushed for 853 yards last season, and 952 yards the season before then behind a struggling Browns offensive line. Not that the Jets offensive line is much better, but Jets running backs have had some success.
19 Wide Receiver: Donte Moncrief - Jacksonville Jaguars
After a trip to the AFC Championship game, the Jacksonville Jaguars lost a few key pieces to their offense this offseason. One way they addressed losing two of their wide receivers, was by signing Donte Moncrief. Moncrief will likely be the no. 2 wide receiver on the field alongside Marqise Lee.
Moncrief would be a good slot receiver and come in on third down, but he hasn’t proven that he’s worthy of a starting position. His best season came in 2015 when he had 733 receiving yards, and caught six touchdown passes. But besides that, Moncrief hasn’t caught for over 400 yards the past two seasons.
18 Quarterback: A.J. McCarron - Buffalo Bills
After A.J. McCarron was able to take over for Andy Dalton and lead the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs, everyone was buying into the hype of him. But since then, McCarron has only thrown 14 passes since he made it to the playoffs.
There just hasn’t been enough proof to show that McCarron should be a starter. So, does that mean Josh Allen should be the starter of the Buffalo Bills?
The Bills went about this offseason the wrong way. They should have found a true veteran that has experience that can help mold Allen, not find a quarterback who will be in competition to be the quarterback of the future of the team.
17 Running Back: Devontae Booker - Denver Broncos
Chances are, Devontae Booker won’t be the starter the whole season. But, there’s a good shot Royce Freeman will take over as the starter mid-season. It would better off the team if they let Freeman start from the start.
Booker hasn’t been anything special throughout the first two seasons, but he doesn’t seem to have the potential to be a starter. Where Freeman has rushed for over 1,000 yards in three out of four seasons at Oregon, and left there with 64 total touchdowns. Booker will start because of their experience, but Freeman will eventually take over and will force Booker out of a job.
16 Wide Receiver: Ryan Grant - Indianapolis Colts
After the Indianapolis Colts lost Donte Moncrief, there was a need to replace him especially with the hopes of Andrew Luck coming back. So, the Colts went out and signed Ryan Grant, former wide receiver of the Washington Redskins. Grant improved last season as he caught 45 passes for 573 yards, and scored four touchdowns through the air. Grant helps replace Moncrief, but still isn’t worthy of a being the no. 2 receiver.
Last season was the only real success he had, while the rest of his career he hasn’t seen much action. The Colts should have used free agency to go after another wide receiver.
15 Quarterback: Blake Bortles - Jacksonville Jaguars
Finally, Blake Bortles looked like he could lead this team to success. But, the Jacksonville Jaguars could be a Super Bowl team. The only thing that is really holding them back from making it to the Super Bowl would be Blake Bortles. Even at his best, Bortles forces too many turnovers.
The Jaguars could upgrade, and if so, this team could line themselves up for a championship in the future.
While Bortles is serviceable, this team needs to move forward with a quarterback that helps the cause for this team to win. Tom Coughlin needs to go after maybe a Colin Kaepernick.
14 Running Back: Marlon Mack - Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore is a big name to have to take over. The Indianapolis Colts decided to move forward without Gore, by practically giving the starting job to Marlon Mack. The Colts have been high on Mack, but he wasn’t all that flashy in his rookie season. As he seems to have the potential to be a dominant running back, it’s best to be safe and let a veteran start, while giving Mack around 150 carries.
With Andrew Luck coming back from a serious shoulder injury, it would benefit the team by running the football an extensive amount. Can Marlon Mack be the guy to take the pressure off of Luck in his first season back?
13 Wide Receiver: John Ross - Cincinnati Bengals
John Ross’ speed may be appealing, but is his talent level really starting quality? Despite Ross’ final season at Washington, he would be a NFL no. 4 receiver. Ross has the playmaking skills to be a star in college football, but struggle in the NFL. It’s not as easy to pull crazy moves on these cornerbacks, and speed past everyone in the game. And in his first season, it was a complete disappointment.
Ross barely had any playing time due to the lack of chances, and a shoulder injury that caused him to miss extended time. Even though he’s a first rounder, it may be best to let Ross play in the slot.
12 Quarterback: Josh McCown - New York Jets
Did Josh McCown earn the starting job last season? Yes, he played really well and gave the Jets their best chance to win. But realistically, McCown is a year away from turning 40. Most likely this will be his last season in the NFL. So, what benefits are they’re of him being on the field?
Yes, he can mentor Sam Darnold, but you also have Teddy Bridgewater that can play on the field, and if he plays well enough, he could be trade bait throughout the middle of the season.
Signing McCown made sense at first, but with Bridgewater on the roster as well, you have a player that can start, and be used to get some draft picks out of it, passing the torch to Darnold.
11 Running Back: Jerick McKinnon - San Francisco 49ers
One of the most overpaid players this offseason, and he doesn’t even deserve to be a starter. Jerick McKinnon got more playing time with the injury to Dalvin Cook. But at the end of the day, he was still a third string running back. McKinnon’s ability to play as a receiver makes him so scary, but as a running back, he’s a good section option. Jimmy Garoppolo is really going to need to throw the football to help this team win. McKinnon is not going to be a 1,000-yard rusher, although we may see him hit 700 yards for the first time in his career. This season will hit Kyle Shanahan, and he will realize they need a true running back.
10 Wide Receiver: Zay Jones - Buffalo Bills
After Zay Jones was seen nude fighting another individual, it may show that the maturity level isn’t quite there yet. And the knee surgery he underwent this offseason doesn’t really help the matter. Jones will likely be a starter alongside Kelvin Benjamin, even with the episodes that occurred this offseason.
Jones’ rookie season was mediocre, and with free agents like Dez Bryant and Eric Decker available, it makes more sense to provide a young quarterback with a veteran wide receiver. Jones’ actions off the field could prove that there may be more issues along the way in the future, but time will tell.
9 Quarterback: Sam Bradford - Arizona Cardinals
Sam Bradford, the most overpaid player in the NFL, has a starting job yet he struggles to stay healthy every season. His skill set and mindset make it worth giving him a chance, but if you want to be realistic, he probably won’t last the whole season.
His whole career has been bombarded with injuries.
And his inability to win more than seven games in a season proves he really can’t succeed, even when playing at his best. There were better options that the Cardinals should have targeted, but it looks like they were more interested in his skill set rather than his history.
8 Running Back: Joe Mixon - Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon is lucky enough that he even got another shot in the NFL after a video went viral of him punching a girl in the face at the bar. And his first-year statistics, didn’t really show that having a controversial running back was worth it. Although the Bengals are fond of the young running back, his numbers struggled especially with an injured Jeremy Hill.
His ability to also be a part of the passing game makes him more of an asset, but he really has to shine for it to be worth it. There are guys who are talented who have done right things in life, who are watching Mixon get a chance over them.
7 Wide Receiver: Terrance Williams - Dallas Cowboys
With many new additions to the wide receiver core of the Dallas Cowboys, there’s so many different ways this team could set up the receivers. But most analysts still believe Terrance Williams will still be the no. 2 receiver, even after drafting Michael Gallup. Granted, you don’t want to just give a starting spot to Gallup, but Williams continues to hurt this team.
Many dropped passes and balls hit off Williams into the hands of defenders sums up the Cowboys in 2017.
Williams on the field is a constant risk. Give a shot to one of the younger guys, who hopefully will be the future star receiver.
6 Quarterback: Tyrod Taylor - Cleveland Browns
Finally, the Cleveland Browns are getting themselves on track. Part of getting back on track was trading for Tyrod Taylor. While Taylor could be a starter, there’s better options, including Baker Mayfield. We can talk about how Taylor will help mentor Mayfield, but in reality, Mayfield has a personality that probably doesn’t really care much what Taylor has to say.
Let Mayfield play. He’s got this attitude that he’s confident and ready, let him give it a shot. He has the potential to be one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s not like Tyrod and Mayfield are similar quarterbacks where Taylor can give much helpful advice.
5 Running Back: Ty Montgomery - Green Bay Packers
Changing players’ positions sometimes works out, but sometimes teams try and stretch that out too much. Originally a wide receiver, the Green Bay Packers helped transition Montgomery into a running back. There’s no guarantees, but he has a chance to be the starter in week one.
While there’s been flashes of talent, he’s not a three down running back. This is a player that can obviously play multiple positions.
The Packers need to invest their time in a true running back that can balance out this offense. The run game struggling is one of the things that have prevented the Packers from being as successful as they could be.
4 Wide Receiver: Christian Kirk - Arizona Cardinals
Another player that the Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t start is Christian Kirk. There’s a good chance Kirk will be a starter Week 1, as his versatility really allows this team to get creative. But, after an off-field incident before the draft, he should be benched for at least two games.
The only way Kirk will learn from his mistakes is by dealing with the consequences. Even if it’s no big deal, this is a rookie wide receiver who needs to learn from his mistakes. It’s better to teach him now rather than later where it could occur again.
3 Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky - Chicago Bears
Out of this whole list, Mitchell Trubisky is definitely the most shocking to see. Maybe it was because of the lack of talent on the offense, but maybe Trubisky should begin the season on the bench while a veteran goes out there.
Let Trubisky soak things up some more and really learn the game. Playing at a professional level is much different than the collegiate level.
The Bears should have gone after a backup quarterback who can play the game, and start if need be. A Teddy Bridgewater or Robert Griffin III would have made sense. You don’t want the situation in Chicago to go bad.
2 Running Back: Marshawn Lynch - Oakland Raiders
It’s a shame to say, but Marshawn Lynch should not be a starting running back. Lynch rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2014, then struggled in his last season with the Seahawks, and was a slight disappointment. Not only was his performance disappointing, but he also got suspended one game for pushing an official.
Lynch is not a class act, and the way this team is rebuilding is to move forward without distractions. Lynch is an easy distraction, and he may have been part of the regression in 2017. Doug Martin isn’t the answer, but the Raiders could move on from Lynch and go for someone like DeMarco Murray.
1 Wide Receiver: Danny Amendola - Miami Dolphins
Be realistic, without his stint with the New England Patriots, Danny Amendola probably isn’t as successful. Amendola played well earlier in his career with the St. Louis Rams, who have been able to successfully use smaller, quick wide receivers. But, the Dolphins are expecting Amendola to be a starter. That just isn’t him. Amendola is a slot receiver that isn’t going to play most snaps, and is going to come in when needed. The only reason he played really well last season was because Julian Edelman was out for the whole season (and Brady was his QB). Amendola is a great pick up, but this isn’t one of your starting receivers.