5. Randy Gregory, EDGE, 49ers
There was a time for a bit earlier this season when it looked like the San Francisco 49ers might have cursed themselves by trading for Randy Gregory. Gregory was one of the most disappointing players on the (then) 1-5 Denver Broncos before getting sent to the 49ers, who immediately lost three straight games upon acquiring him.
They even went out at the NFL trade deadline and added Chase Young off the edge as well even after picking up Randy Gregory. Although Gregory had three QB hits and a sack in his debut as a member of the 49ers, they struggled badly right after acquiring him and after those first three games in San Francisco, the 49ers put Gregory on the shelf for a couple of weeks.
Only recently did he get back out onto the field, playing in the 49ers' two most recent dominating victories. Gregory did have a tackle for loss against the Seahawks on Thanksgiving, and he recently added a pair of QB hits in the 49ers' blowout win against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he has a long way to go to prove that he's not exactly struggling in his new spot.
The 49ers are having such tremendous team success rushing the passer overall, and Gregory has been part of that recently. He did get a lot of pressures (5) against the Eagles, so perhaps Gregory has turned the proverbial corner. But it's been a tough season for the former big-money free agent. Gregory was expected to be a top-tier pass rusher upon leaving Dallas for a five-year, $70 million pact with the Denver Broncos.
A handful of pressures against the Eagles doesn't mean Gregory has all of a sudden proven people who doubted the validity of that deal wrong.