Potential Busts Will Pepper NFL’s 1st Round


Finally I have added a television to my work area.  After five years of running from room to room, I made the call to Direct TV, got a new line installed, and now added a TV.  What does this mean for you?  Nothing, but I can at least keep up with what is going on a little easier and finally can watch the NFL Draft while at the computer rather than trying to do it all from a netbook.

So as I am perusing the internet for information and talking candidly about the draft with some of my NFL guys, I have been watching NFL Network and their top 10 NFL first round busts.  Immediately, a few players in this years draft class came to mind.  So I started thinking of who the top 10 players in this years draft could potentially be busts.  While this is only my opinion, it does show that there is no certainty with anyone in the draft.

Ryan Tannehill – I bring him up only because he is so talked about.  Some Miami fans and NFL fans see him as a 2nd round talent while others see him as a future franchise QB.  Some want him, some don’t.  The bigger question is where would Tannehill grade out if the juniors who stayed in school declared for the draft?  Does Tannehill have that high of a ceiling or is there simply a major drop off after him?  With many believing that Tannehill will be taken in the top 10 of this years draft, he is set up for boom or bust.  There really is no in between with him.  If he is selected at 8, he better be a franchise QB who takes the team to another level.  If he is selected later in the draft, then he will be viewed as a value selection and thus it really won’t matter to most.

Quinton Coples – Coples is sliding on some boards and according to several reports and people I have talked to, it’s becoming more boards than just a few.  A pre-draft top 10 pick, too many questions are surrounding Coples.  From his laziness, to his lacking charisma in interviews, to the report that he doesn’t play to win.  Regardless of where Coples is taken, the team selecting him will have to deal with those issues.  Coples seems to be one of those personalities that won’t use a draft slide as motivation but more likely to use it as an excuse.

Coby Fleener – A month ago many were salivating at the seam threat TE.  Now, with the draft closing in, many believe that his lack of blocking skills will be a major detriment.  In fact one NFL guru says he is the most overrated player in this years draft.  While many feel that Fleener will go to Indy in round 2, there is talk that Houston may target him at 26.  Fleener is going to need a lot of work and teams that have a weak offensive line will likely pass.  Someone however will take him.  If that is in the first round, we could be talking about Fleener being a bust.

Justin Blackmon – Blackmon is said to be the best talent in this years draft at wide-receiver.  Almost all mock drafts have him being selected somewhere between pick 3 and pick 6.  While Blackmon has solid hands, there is questions about his speed and how that will actually relate to him being a true number 1 WR.  While he will fight for the ball and use his frame well to shield defenders, the bigger question is can he get separation off the line of scrimmage against far better NFL corners?  Blackmon is simply not a sure thing and where he is selected, like Tannehill will have more to do with his future label.  The good news is that he really doesn’t have to become the next Jerry Rice or Charles Johnson, he just needs to make his offense better.

Riley Reiff – The Dolphins have said they will not draft him and the closer the draft comes the further Reiff seems to fall.  Some predict that he will fall out of the first round, that won’t likely happen but if he is taken early in the draft, some believe he could go as high 10 to Buffalo, then he could end up on the bust list.  His biggest detraction is his arm size.  As a RT, can he hold off the pass rushing monsters of the NFL allowing those ends to get closer to his body than other tackles.  Is he worth the risk as a top 10 pick?

Dontari Poe – At some point in round 1, a DT needy team is going to take Poe.  The big NFL Combine stud has impressed at all of his workouts since the college season ended.  A 342 pound up-field mover with speed, Poe has climbed many draft boards over the past two months.  However, when teams begin to re-evaluate his college tapes, they see a different player.  His conditioning is a question mark for a three down lineman in the NFL and if he can’t play all three downs then he really doesn’t warrant a first round grade.  While his feet are quick and he can take on multiple blockers, he has no pass rushing moves to get him up-field.  Poe is one of those players that if drafted too high will grade out a bust.  However, while he may bust as a top 15 pick, he would be considered by most to be a bargain in the mid to late 20’s.  Yes, that is duality of the NFL draft.

Brock Osweiller – Most predict that “OZ” will be taken in round 4.  That is optimistic for a guy who hasn’t shown that he is ready to transition for the NFL.  He has bad footwork, makes bad decisions, lacks vision, and will face a difficult time scrambling against the fast NFL blitzers.  He does however have arm strength.  While Osweiller won’t really be considered a big time bust if he is taken in round 4, some predict he could go as high as the late 2nd or third.  That’s very optimistic and would set up OZ as a bust should he fail at this level.  Osweiller is a major project and it will be a good 2 maybe 3 years before we can evaluate his talent and draft ratings.

Whitney Mercilus – Mercilus as the right name for a pass rusher but he has only done it for one year.  Most believe that he will be drafted in the high 2nd round and if that holds true, he would be a solid draft pick prospect.  Others contend that he could be a mid-late first round pick and if that holds true then Mercilus will have to excel at getting better in pass coverage and direct attacking offenses.  His lack of footwork will prevent him from making smooth transition and whether he is a 3-4 LB or a 4-3 DE he will need to be coached.  Like most of the others, his draft rating in the future will more than likely depend on where he actually taken.

Fletcher Cox – Cox has all the intangibles that you want in a defensive lineman.  He can pass rush and stop the run.  Control the line of scrimmage and has a motor that doesn’t stop.  He is versatile enough to play DT or DE.  All this and a great attitude has skyrocketed him up mock draft boards.  Whether teams in the NFL see the same thing or not remains to be seen.  Cox comes close to being the perfect prospect but he is still not a blue-chipper and as such a weak transition to the NFL will mean whoever takes him will be holding a busted selection.  Cox is going to be drafted high in the first round.  Likely somewhere between 7 and 15 and thus, his potential to warrant that high of a selection leaves him without room to be average.

Robert Griffin, III – Depending on who you talk with, RGIII is the best QB in this years draft.  A pocket passer who can run.  A young QB who can make all the throws.  A leader on the field, in the locker room and one of the nicest kids to enter the draft in probably a decade.  He is also going to be the number 2 pick in the draft.  While many would argue that Andrew Luck should be on this list, the reality is that Luck is the best prospect in this draft and Indianapolis would be fools to pass on that.  Regardless of whether he becomes the next Peyton Manning or the next Jamarcus Russel.  For RGIII however, it’s a tad bit different.  The Redskins are so sure of what RGIII will be that they moved up to get him a month before the draft.  RGIII will not be evaluated by his being taken 2nd overall but instead will be compared to the value of this years number 1, next years number 1, and the number 1 in 2013.  That’s a lot for any player to live up to and leaves RGIII short on being able to simply have a “good” career.

Later this afternoon, I will have the top players from this years draft pool who pose the best options for success regardless of where they are selected.