NFL Draft 2012: 5 Guaranteed Future 1st-Round Busts

Zachary ParkerCorrespondent IIMarch 15, 2012

NFL Draft 2012: 5 Guaranteed Future 1st-Round Busts

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    The NFL draft allows franchises to replenish their rosters with young, talented athletes.

    Fans dream about adding players like Trent Richardson to their team's backfield or stuffing Dontari Poe in the middle of their defensive line. 

    But you never know how a college player's talents will translate at the next level. What made them good in college might not necessarily be effective in the NFL.

    This reality keeps NFL general managers and coaches up long hours in the months leading to the NFL draft. Selecting a bust, especially in the first round, slows the development of the franchise.

    Just ask the Oakland Raiders who passed on Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis and Calvin Johnson when they selected JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall in 2007.

    Fortunately, this year's draft seems loaded with surefire first-round prospects: Andrew Luck, Morris Claiborne, Matt Kalil, etc.

    But then again, you never know.

    This slideshow will pick out the five prospects NFL teams should avoid in the first round—the dreaded busts. 

Dre Kirkpatrick: Alabama, CB

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    Dre Kirkpatrick was a three-year starter for the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he won two national championships. 

    Scouts love him for his physical play and lean 6'2", 186-pound build. Not to mention he survived three seasons going against the SEC's best wide outs.

    Kirkpatrick is regarded as the second best corner in this year's draft after Morris Claiborne. Mock drafts had him going as high as No. 14 to the Dallas Cowboys (before they signed Brandon Carr).

    He excelled in college because of his ability to muscle receivers off their routes and then use his length to stretch for the ball as it arrived.

    Kirkpatrick is a future bust because he will not be able to use his strength to control receivers at the beginning of their routes. He will have to rely more on his feet and less on his arms to limit separation, which will expose his lack of speed.

    Kirkpatrick is not the No. 1 shut-down corner he is hyped to be. He will be able to cover the average receivers in the league, but will get schooled by the bigger, stronger, faster wide outs in the NFL.

Mike Adams: Ohio State, OT

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    A 6'7", 323-pound body will get any offensive tackle first-round consideration. This holds true for Mike Adams.

    Depending on who you ask, he is the third or fourth best tackle in the draft and will likely end up going in the mid to late first round. 

    Adams proved that he is athletic for his size at the NFL Combine. He showed enough quickness and agility during on-field drills to contest concerns over his slow feet. 

    Looking good in drills is one thing, but being able to do that on the field with defenders in his face is completely different.

    Throughout college and in the Senior Bowl, Adams suffered from inconsistent play. He allows defenders to get underneath him which negates his power. 

    He will be a bust because he will not be able to go up against a premiere pass-rusher one-on-one for an entire game without being a liability to his quarterback.

Michael Brockers: LSU, DT

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    Michael Brockers is one of the top interior defensive linemen according to most draft boards

    In college, the 6'5", 322-pounder was stout against the run, showing the ability to over power offensive linemen and disrupt plays in the backfield. He will be an effective gap-plugger in the NFL whether he plays in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. But that's about it.

    Unless the quarterback glues the ball to his hand, Brockers will not be a threat as a pass-rusher in the NFL.

    While he has a good mixture of power and athleticism, he barely did anything more than wrestle with offensive linemen on passing downs in college. 

    Brockers led the LSU defense with 9.5 tackles for a loss last season, a testament to his prowess in the run game, but he only managed to take down the quarterback twice.

    His imposing frame makes him an attractive selection in the top of the first round, but his inability to be a factor on passing plays will make him a bust.

Courtney Upshaw: Alabama, OLB

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    Courtney Upshaw is one of the beastly athletes in this year's draft. He is mainly considered to be an outside linebacker in the 3-4, but may also end up playing defensive end in the 4-3.

    The confusion over what position suits him best has to do with his size. At 6'2" and 272 pounds, Upshaw has the heftiness of a defensive end, but the compact physique of an over-sized linebacker.

    In college, Upshaw played both linebacker and defensive end. This gives him versatility which makes him an attractive prospect. 

    It also makes him a tweener and a future bust.

    Upshaw was just fast enough to play linebacker in college and just strong enough to put his hand in the dirt. He won't be either of those things in the pros.

    His stocky frame and heavy feet will trip him up in coverage and his stubby (but strong) arms will make it hard to separate from offensive linemen when he's rushing the passer.

    Upshaw is an incredibly talented college football player, but his strengths will be negated by NFL players.

Justin Blackmon: Oklahoma State, WR

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    Justin Blackmon has been the consensus No. 1 receiver on everybody's board since the whole pre-draft process began. 

    He was criticized for not running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but proved his speed at his pro day when he clocked in at 4.46 seconds.

    He seemingly is the total package: a solid route runner, great hands, complete control over his body, adequate strength, etc.

    His skills will translate well into the NFL and he will be a good receiver, but nothing more.

    Blackmon is a future bust because his talents do not deserve the Top 10 money he's bound to get.

    He is a more explosive version of Michael Crabtree, in the sense that he will have the same troubles establishing himself as a difference-maker on offense.

    Sure, he will get the first downs, be a reliable target and maybe break a few tackles, but he will not be on the highlight reels like Julio Jones or A.J. Green.

    Blackmon is best suited to be the No. 2 receiver on the field. The guy who works the underneath routes and fights for the extra yards. But as a team's top target, he will not make enough big plays to warrant such a high selection.