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Newton’s rookie year was overshadowed by another quarterback who hardly outplayed him: Tim Tebow. Very few even remember that Newton was the only rookie to ever pass for 4,000 yards in a single season. In year 2, Newton struggled to become a leader in Carolina, and the Panthers continued to stay at the bottom of the standings. Everyone knows Newton has the tools; now he has to prove he can win.
6. Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
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The late and legendary owner Al Davis made one last pick before he passed. That pick was Pryor in the 2011 supplemental draft. After a controversial career at Ohio State, Pryor was rumored to be damaged goods. Yet since he outplayed Matt Flynn this preseason, it seems the Raiders are ready to throw him the starting job. If this happens, Pryor could soon be damaging defenses on Sundays.
7. Geno Smith, New York Jets
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When the Jets drafted Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, many believed that Mark Sanchez’s time was up and a new Jets savior had been anointed. Even Jay Z signed Smith to his sports agency! Both Sanchez and Smith showed an inconsistency so polarizing in the preseason that their coach, Rex Ryan, is believed to be in jeopardy of losing his job. A late preseason injury by Sanchez could be the nudge Smith needs to start week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.