We live in a "What have you done for me lately?" world. Maybe that's a mistake.
Some young players need time to grow. Some experienced players can go through a down year and bounce back. Some old players shouldn't be kicked to the curb quite yet. And some injury-riddled players cannot be forgotten.
It's a good thing I'm such a positive person.
Here are nine players I still believe in:
1) Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Last offseason, John Schneider sent three draft picks (including a first-rounder) to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for Harvin. And the Seahawks general manager gave his new receiver a big pile of cash. Then Harvin suffered an offseason hip injury, went under the knife and caught one ball during the regular season.
Complete disappointment? Well, hardly.
Worth every penny.
2) Ryan Clady, LT, Denver Broncos
Remember: This guy is arguably the best left tackle in the NFL. If you don't believe me, ask Peyton.
"Getting Ryan back, it's about, it's kind of like signing a free agent or having a top pick in the draft," Manning told the assembled media in late May. "He is the top left tackle out there. It's certainly nice to have him back."
3) Matt Schaub, QB, Oakland Raiders
Schaub endured a miserable final season in Houston, but I put more of the blame on former Texans coach Gary Kubiak than the quarterback. Remember when Richard Sherman delivered a game-changing pick-six in Seattle's comeback win at Houston last September? Remember what Sherman told the Houston Chronicle afterward? "I knew it was coming. ... I picked the same play against our scout team on Friday."
That's on the play caller.
4) Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Maclin, of course, tore his ACL last July and missed out on all the fun of Kelly's first season. While the sixth-year pro won't stretch the field like Jackson, I bet he reaches 82 catches (the amount Jackson hauled in last season) and shines as a prime-time target for Nick Foles in Kelly's high-octane attack.
5) Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
Battista: Vick stuck behind Geno?
Take a second. Think about the running backs, receivers and tight ends on last year's Jets. Rank that group against the corresponding factions fielded by the rest of the league.
I just hope Gang Green doesn't foul this up by starting Vick. The 2014 season should be about developing Geno Smith as their quarterback of the present and future.
6) Antonio Cromartie, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Cromartie's a good player with a lot left in the tank at age 30. He will thrive on the opposite side of Patrick Peterson.
7) Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates is entering his 12th NFL season. Where has the time gone?!?! After Gates tallied just four touchdown catches in 2013 -- his lowest total since Year 1 -- Philip Rivers, the Chargers and their fans have taken to drooling over the upside of young Ladarius Green. And rightfully so, as the third-year tight end has dynamic natural ability.
But don't write the epitaph on Gates' career quite yet. He is still highly productive -- as evidenced by his 77 catches last year -- and very reliable for the Chargers.
8) Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Yes, Smith posted the second-lowest yards-per-catch average of his career at 11.6 (not counting the 2004 campaign, when he played just one game). But it was illogical for the Panthers to release him, given their paper-thin receiving corps.
Smith is supremely motivated. In my chat with Eric DeCosta on SiriusXM, the Ravens' assistant general manager raved about the qualities that Smith brings to the table.
Smith has always played with the proverbial chip on his shoulder, but in 2014, it's a boulder.
9) Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Maybe I'm the last man standing on the Trent Richardson bandwagon -- and it's understandable if that is indeed the case. Last year, Richardson had trouble staying upright while carrying the football, which is a significant problem for a runner.