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Five players with uncertain futures after the NFL draft

Cam Newton with the New England Patriots
Cam Newton with the New England Patriots
Bethany Cohen
ANALYST
Modified 05 May 2021
Feature

Teams across the NFL use the draft as a way to fill holes in their starting lineups and add depth to their current roster.

But some teams use the NFL draft as a way to prepare for the future. There are veterans across the league who could be replaced by their successors sooner rather than later and will have to enter training camp with something to prove and keep their jobs.

Five players whose future could be in jeopardy after the NFL draft

Below we list five players whose futures are uncertain after the draft.

#1 Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers

It was well-known that the 49ers would be drafting a quarterback in the first round of the draft, and there were even rumors that they were willing to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

With the third overall selection, the 49ers drafted quarterback Trey Lance out of North Dakota State University. The team drafting Lance instead of Mac Jones or Justin Fields could be a blessing in disguise for Garoppolo.

Lance could be seen as a work in progress since he only started one season at North Dakota State in 2019 and then played just one game in 2020 before opting out due to COVID-19 concerns.

Garoppolo could stay in San Francisco for the time being until the 49ers feel comfortable with Lance at the helm permanently as a starting NFL quarterback. But if the rookie impresses in training camp and preseason, Garoppolo will have to find a new team.

#2 - Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots

After Tom Brady's departure, the Patriots signed Cam Newton to a one-year deal in 2020 even though they had presumably drafted Brady's successor Jarrett Stidham out of Auburn University in 2019.

New England failed to make the playoffs in 2020, which is something the franchise isn't used to. In March 2021, the Patriots signed Newton again to a one-year deal for the upcoming season, worth $13.6 million.

With their first-round draft pick this year, the Patriots drafted quarterback Mac Jones from Alabama. Using a first-round pick on a quarterback is telling.

Clearly, the Patriots see Jones as the future of their franchise, but it seems that Newton is in the hot seat and whether or not he will be the starter for the entire season remains to be seen.

#3 - Andy Dalton, QB, Chicago Bears

Andy Dalton's status has to be the biggest question of all. The Chicago Bears' offseason saw Mitchell Trubisky leave the franchise and Andy Dalton join on a one-year, $10 million deal.

The Bears even announced on Twitter that Dalton would be their starter..

But with the eleventh overall pick in the NFL draft, the Bears drafted Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. To many, it seems now that Dalton won't be the starter next season. But the Bears remain mum on exactly what the plan is going to be for Fields, Dalton and even Nick Foles. So, the training camp should be interesting.

#4 - Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons

Hayden Hurst was drafted by the Ravens in 2018 and traded to the Falcons in March 2020. He had a career-best year last season, catching for 571 yards and six touchdowns.

The Falcons drafted tight end Kyle Pitts out of Florida with their fourth overall selection on Thursday night, and this week announced that they weren't picking up Hurst's fifth-year option.

It looks like Hurst will be on his way out of Atlanta after the 2021 season and could possibly even be traded before the start of the new season.

#5 - James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

After drafting quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall selection, the Jaguars then drafted his Clemson teammate, running back Travis Etienne.

Etienne is a solid back who definitely has the potential to start which is why the future of James Robinson, who secured the starting running back job after the departure of Leonard Fournette, has become uncertain.

In 2020, the undrafted rookie out of Illinois State started fourteen games, rushing for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns.

Published 05 May 2021
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