2012 NFL Draft Projection: 5 Prospects Destined for a Job Other Than Football
In April, every team in the NFL will try to draft players that will help them win a Super Bowl championship, and the No. 1 goal for each team is to avoid drafting players that turn into busts.
Every year, there is a player that is highly regarded as a potential franchise playmaker, and every year another player does not perform as well as everyone thought.
We all know about the extreme cases with guys like Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell. There are also players like Vernon Gholston, Aaron Maybin and Jamaal Anderson, all of whom were chosen early in the first round, but are no longer with the team that originally drafted them.
The NFL draft will turn some teams completely around, but others will dig themselves deeper into a hole.
The teams that find themselves drafting a player that turns into a bust often spend two or three years on this guy before realizing that they will never get what they expected out of him. It is utterly detrimental to the team.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, there are going to many players that end up out of the league in just a few short years. Let's take a look at five of the guys who are destined for a career somewhere besides football.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Dre Kirkpatrick played cornerback for the Alabama Crimson Tide in college, and is now regarded as one of the top corners coming out of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Unlike the other top corners in this draft, Kirkpatrick is not going to be a good man-on-man cover corner in the NFL.
Kirkpatrick is projected to be a dominant zone cover corner. The problem with that is that most NFL teams now need a great man-cover cornerback.
Obviously teams are still playing zone coverage on defense, but the league may be changing. We now have teams with quarterbacks that can pick apart zone coverage like it's nothing. Wide receivers are able to beat zone easily week in and week out.
The NFL coaches know how to beat man coverage, and defenses are now almost at a liability if they stick to zone.
If Kirkpatrick cannot play well in a man-to-man coverage, then he becomes very one-dimensional. Teams need a corner that they can depend on to stop guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and all the other great receivers in the league.
However, not only is Kirkpatrick primarily a zone-cover corner, but he has also been fairly injury prone during his collegiate career.
In fact, Kirkpatrick had two shoulder surgeries before he ever became the full-time starter at Alabama. He has not missed a game since the 2009 season, but injuries are a big factor in the NFL and teams do not like taking chances on guys that could miss time because of durability issues.
Not to mention that Kirkpatrick's recent off-the-field issue. Kirkpatrick was arrested for possession of marijuana, but a few weeks later all the charges were dropped.
This does not pose a great threat to Kirkpatrick's draft status, but it is not a good sign for him. Many players have been unsuccessful in the NFL because of their off-the-field issues.
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
Vontaze Burfict is one of the most interesting prospects in the entire 2012 NFL Draft.
While at Arizona State, he played inside linebacker and is projected to play the same position at the professional level.
Burfict is not doubted at all for his productivity or talent level. He stands at 6'3" and weighs 252 pounds. Burfict has great speed for an inside linebacker and will be a sure tackler at the next level.
The problems with this prospect come with his intangibles and mental makeup.
Burfict has cost Arizona State numerous personal foul penalties throughout his career and has shown that he lets the game get the best of him on occasion.
The NFL has seen many players come in that are talented and can play well, but if they do not have the right attitude then they do not succeed.
One of the best recent examples of this type of player is defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. He probably could have been the most dominant defensive tackle in the league if had chosen to be one.
However, he was held back from his inability to control his attitude on and off the field.
Coaches in this league do not put up with immature players, no matter what the talent level is, and Burfict could fall into that category.
Lamar Miller, RB, University of Miami
Lamar Miller is the second-best running back coming out of the 2012 NFL Draft, but he is coming out with some serious concerns.
Miller suffered a shoulder injury in September of last year and has not been the same runner since.
This is a running back that would rather run around the defender than through the defender. He has great speed and knows how to use it, but before his injury he still would put his shoulder down and try to run through people when necessary.
Miller has never been a power runner, but after the injury it seemed as if he avoided the contact. His runs were noticeably different before and after the injury, which has to be a concern to a large amount of NFL teams.
Most running backs in the NFL only play at a high level for about four or five years, and after that it begins to go downhill. A running back's health may be the most important facet to their game.
Miller's shoulder injury is not near as threatening as a knee or leg injury would be, but it still has to throw up some red flags for teams, especially considering the impact it has had on Miller.
If a shoulder injury has changed the way that Miller runs so much, then a knee injury could force him into retirement.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Ryan Tannehill is the wide receiver-turned-quarterback from Texas A&M.
His draft stock has recently gone way up as he is now projected as a potential first-round draft choice.
Tannehill has all of the physical attributes to play the quarterback position, but lacks the playing time and mental makeup seen in elite quarterback prospects.
Tannehill has shown that he has a long way to go before he can be a successful starter in the NFL. At times, he makes errant throws into coverage and has proven that he forces the ball a little too often.
Out of the top quarterback candidates in this year's draft, it is obvious that Tannehill will need the most development.
Many teams struggle with developing good college quarterbacks into elite NFL players. The recent quarterbacks that have come out have done so well because they did not need as much development as previous prospects.
Players like Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford and other good, young passers came into the league at a pretty high level.
Tannehill will definitely need more help than these guys whenever he gets to the NFL.
Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Devon Still is a very talented prospect, but at this point we do not have a good amount of information on him.
The defensive tackle from Penn State missed nearly two years of his collegiate career due to injuries. He has played the past two seasons, but injury concerns are definitely a problem.
Early in his career he tore an ACL and broke his left ankle. Defensive linemen depend on their legs like a quarterback depends on his arm, and if Still loses explosiveness because of injuries, then he immediately becomes less effective.
Still is a prospect that many teams may pass up because of his injuries, even though none have come recently.
He also needs a lot of work on his pass rush. In today's NFL, defensive tackles have to provide pressure up the middle.
The top quarterbacks in the league have gotten so good at avoiding outside pressure that it is almost impossible to get to those guys without interior pressure.
Still has to improve this part of his game because as of now, he is average at best.