NFL: 25 Most Surprising Pro Bowl Picks This Century: 25. 2013 C.J. Spiller
C.J. Spiller came into the NFL with a ton of hype. He was the ninth overall pick for the Buffalo Bills, and he was supposed to be the rich man’s version of Darren Sproles. He was the future of the running back position. Someone who could catch the ball as well as he could run the ball was a game-changer for a sleepy Bills offense.
He was a pretty big disappointment right off the bat. He had under 300 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards in his rookie year. He was a pretty good returner, but teams don’t take returners in the top 10 of the NFL Draft. In his second year, he found himself watching Fred Jackson have Pro Bowl-caliber numbers.
2012 was his year. He broke 1,000 yards rushing as Jackson’s injuries allowed Spiller to take the starting job from him. He was one of the most dynamic weapons in the league, averaging six yards per carry and breaking 500 yards receiving. He was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl that season when Ray Rice’s Ravens made it to the Super Bowl. Spiller was making the Pro Bowl for the first time, but Bills fans were hoping this is one of many.
Unfortunately, Spiller’s career never reached near the same heights. He signed an $18 million contract with the New Orleans Saints, and he was released one year later. He bounced around teams before finally retiring in 2018. He is largely considered a bust, but he had this one year in 2012 where he was a superstar.