The NFL Draft is an exciting time for young players, who finally see their professional dreams fulfilled. On the flip side, somebody has to make room for the new arrivals. The entrance of a new rookie class means that veterans around the league will face being pushed out of their jobs.
Listed below are six vets whose job security will be immediately threatened in the wake of the draft. With the exclusion of Justin Blackmon, none of these guys need to fear literal unemployment, but their spots atop the depth chart are in serious danger.
Justin Blackmon - WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL Draft grades
NFL Draft grades
The Jagaurs took wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the first three rounds, all but moving on from the talented-but-troubled Blackmon. The 2012 first-round pick, who has failed multiple drug tests during his NFL tenure, is currently facing an indefinite suspension and general manager Dave Caldwell said the team has given up on him seeing the field in 2014. Perhaps the only reason that Blackmon is still on the roster at this point is because the Jags have to wait for him to be reinstated by the league before they can officially release him.
"I was hoping it would be better than where it's going but we'll see," head coach Gus Bradley said of Blackmon's situation. "We haven't heard much and it doesn't sound like it's going in the right direction."
That doesn't sound too promising.
Green-Ellis's role in Cincinnati's backfield was already on shaky ground when the Bengals drafted Giovani Bernard last season, though Green-Ellis still managed to finish 2013 as the team's leading rusher. But the selection of LSU's Jeremy Hill in the second round this year may eventually put the the Law Firm out of practice in Cincy. A powerful downhill runner in the mold of Green-Ellis, Hill is both substantially cheaper and substantially younger (Green-Ellis will turn 29 in July). Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said there's still room for the veteran "right now," but we'll see how long that holds up.
Jake Locker - QB, Tennessee Titans
Amidst rumors that the Titans organization was not sold on Locker as a long-term solution, Tennessee first refused to pick up his fifth-year option and then went out and nabbed Zach Mettenberger in the sixth round of the draft. Mettenberger is coming off of a season-ending ACL injury and has struggled with accuracy at times, but his big arm and prototypical size mean he could eventually develop into a threat for Locker's job. Locker has of course had his own share of injury issues -- he's missed 14 games over the last two seasons -- which is one reason the Titans may be looking to move on. The fact that they waited so late to take a quarterback should reassure Locker, but that doesn't mean his job is safe.
Henne has much more pressing concerns over his job security. When you take a quarterback No. 3 overall, as the Jaguars did with Blake Bortles, you expect him to compete for the starting role immediately. General manager Dave Caldwell said earlier this week that his hope is for Bortles to learn behind Henne for the entirety of 2014, but a few early marks in the loss column could put a quick end to that plan. If Henne shows the inconsistency he did last season (13 touchdowns to 14 interceptions), the Jaguars organization will face intense pressure to play the rookie.
Polumbus struggled in 2013 and the addition of third-rounder Morgan Moses out of Virginia doesn't bode well for him. Moses is a little raw, which slid him out of a potential first-round selection, but he has size and ability. Redskins general manager Bruce Allen has already said Moses will compete with Polumbus for the starting right tackle job this season. The long-term prognosis is even worse for Polumbus: he has just one year left on his contract, and he won't see a renewal if Moses lives up to expectations.
Stephen Hill - WR, New York Jets
Hill has been a disappointment in his first two years in New York, and general manager John Idzik has been reported as being near the end of his rope with the former second-round pick. After the team added Eric Decker in free agency, Hill should count himself lucky that the Jets waited until the fourth round to draft their first wideout. However, New York did take three from that point onward -- Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans, Quincy Enunwa -- which certainly doesn't speak to the team's confidence in what's already on the roster.