These 15 Star Athletes Had Nightmare Rookie Seasons

First impressions can be deceiving. These 15 legends overcame truly terrible rookie seasons to have stellar pro careers.

Alex Smith

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Alex Smith

Coming out of the University of Utah, Alex Smith looked like a lock.

He was big, he was smart, he was athletic (seriously, check his combine numbers), and he posted incredible stats in college. 

That led the San Francisco 49ers to select him with the number one overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

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Coming out of the University of Utah, Alex Smith looked like a lock.

He was big, he was smart, he was athletic (seriously, check his combine numbers), and he posted incredible stats in college. 

That led the San Francisco 49ers to select him with the number one overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

What followed was one of the worst rookie seasons in the history of sport. 

In nine games (seven of which were starts), Smith threw 11 interceptions and just one touchdown. 

He averaged a minuscule 97.2 passing yards per game and completed just a hair over half his pass attempts.

He also fumbled a whopping 11 times. 

But Smith would slowly improve season by season.

After he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, he made the Pro Bowl in three of his next five seasons. In 2017, he led the league in passer rating.

Now with the Washington Redskins, Smith overcame a nightmarish start to his pro career to become a very good player.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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