2012 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks That Are Doomed to Fail
Every team and their fans enter the opening round of the NFL draft with high hopes and visions of Hall-of-Fame-caliber players, and while there are likely to be a few of those taken, there are many more who simply won't pan out. It's extremely tough to identify a bust ahead of time, but they'll be lurking throughout this year's first round.
While there aren't any fool-proof rules when it comes to predicting who might be a bust, questionable work ethics and unexplained surges up the draft board in the weeks ahead of the draft are two things to look for. Despite warning signs, talent often wins out, so there are going to be several disappointed franchises a few years from now.
Along with a full, first-round mock draft, here are some highly-touted players who are destined to crumble under the pressure of being a high pick.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson made it official (as if it already wasn't) that Indy will select Luck first overall and tab him as the new face of the franchise.
2. Washington Redskins (5-11): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (via STL)
It was no secret that the Redskins traded up to No. 2 with the intention of taking the best quarterback on the board, so with Luck gone, Griffin is the clear choice.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Vikings may still be entertaining offers for this pick, but with a big hole on the left side of their offensive line, they'd be best off holding onto it and nabbing Kalil.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
There have been some whispers about the Browns looking quarterback here, but rather than reach they ought to go for a sure thing like Richardson at a position of need.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Ronde Barber may be playing his final season and Aqib Talib may not be a Buc for much longer, so Claiborne absolutely must be the selection.
6. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (via WAS)
Blackmon has been the ideal fit for the offensively-challenged Rams throughout the draft process and they'll be happy to secure him after trading down from No. 2.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
The Jaguars have had a lot of swings and misses in the draft over the past several years and there's little reason to think that this year will be different. Jacksonville could use help at pretty much every position other than running back, so odds are that the Jags will simply stay true to their board by taking the best player available at this juncture.
It's impossible to say with certainty who Jacksonville values most, but the most talented player on the board is likely North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples. Not only is he large in stature, but Coples is an athletic freak with immense potential. The Jaguars haven't been able to generate a consistent pass rush for years, so I would expect them to be enthralled with Coples' ability.
There have always been whispers about Coples' work ethic, however, and that is never a good thing when it comes to an NFL prospect. Not only does he have that working against him, but for whatever reason, pass rushers just haven't produced in the Jaguars' system for quite some time, so Coples won't be entering the best situation to say the least.
8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Entering the offseason the Miami Dolphins appeared to be on a mission to find a new starting quarterback. They weren't able to trade up in order to select Robert Griffin III, though, and they failed to sign Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or Alex Smith. That leaves them with Matt Moore and David Garrard as their only options along with a disappointed fanbase.
Despite their failure to get a new signal caller, the Dolphins would be best off addressing other positions and moving forward with what they have for now. Miami appears to be desperate, however, and with rumors continually circulating that they like Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, I can't imagine that they will let Tannehill slide past them if he is still on the board at No. 8.
Tannehill has a lot of ability as he can make most throws and has mobility to boot, but it's quite concerning that he is suddenly considered a top-10 prospect when most viewed him as a second-rounder a month ago. Tannehill seems to have been the beneficiary of some manufactured hype late in the process and I can't see him living up to the lofty status that has suddenly been bestowed upon him.
9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Fletcher Cox, DL, Mississippi State
The Panthers have needed a legitimate defensive tackle ever since Kris Jenkins left, and while he may not be the best fit for their system, Cox is viewed as the best at his position.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Buffalo is a team that appears to be on the verge of playoff contention, but in order to contend with top passing offenses, the Bills need a leader in the secondary like Barron.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The No. 11 pick may be a tad early for a guard, but DeCastro is unquestionably the best one in the draft and the Chiefs could afford to upgrade there.
12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Seattle needs to find a complementary pass rusher for Chris Clemons in order to take the next step forward and Ingram seems like a perfect fit.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
It's no coincidence that the Cardinals' offense hasn't been the same since trading Anquan Boldin, so they'll take Floyd to pair with Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Cowboys could go in any number of directions, but with the middle of their defense aging quite quickly, Kuechly seems like the best pick.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The middle of the Eagles' defense was an absolute joke last season, but plugging Brockers in at defensive tackle would really help to solidify things.
16. New York Jets (8-8): Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Gang Green's defense wasn't a dominant force last season like it had been in previous years, but a great pass rusher like Upshaw would help turn things around.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Bengals addressed the cornerback situation a bit to make up for the injury to Leon Hall, but they still need a legitimate cover guy such as Gilmore.
Which player is most likely to be a bust in the NFL?
18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
San Diego re-signed Jared Gaither and attempted to upgrade the offensive tackle position, but if it has a chance to take a player like Reiff, then he needs to be the pick.
19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia
One constant issue for the Bears over the past couple seasons has been their offensive line, so they shouldn't hesitate to grab a versatile lineman like Glenn.
20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Titans have a bunch of decent pass rushers, but none that can take over a game, so they would be wise to make a run at Mercilus.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
With Jerome Simpson out of the picture the Bengals need a complementary target across from A.J. Green and Wright is the perfect speed option.
22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Browns toughened up their offense by taking Trent Richardson earlier and they'll get him a blocker on the right side in the form of Martin.
23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
With marijuana charges dropped, Kirkpatrick may have salvaged his first-round status as the Lions absolutely must come away from this draft having improved the secondary.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
When a player stands nearly 6'4", weighs 346 lbs. and runs the 40-yard dash in less than five seconds, people tend to take notice. That is the case with Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe as the athletic beast has skyrocketed up draft boards since his monstrous combine performance. There is little doubt that he will be taken in the first round, but it is a matter of where he ends up.
Some mocks have him going as high as No. 9 to the Panthers, but because he's more of a 3-4 defense fit, I expect him to fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 24. Even though that isn't as high as some anticipated, it's a great deal for Poe considering he was looked at as a second rounder just a couple months ago.
Pittsburgh may seem like the ideal landing spot for Poe as the Steelers have been among the best defensive teams in football for quite some time, but the defense is aging. Even if Poe takes up blockers like he's supposed to, his impact may not be as noticeable without playmakers around him. On top of that, Poe was never overly productive on the field against weak competition in college, and regardless of how well he tests out, if he doesn't make plays on the field, then it doesn't matter.
25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Peyton Manning had the benefit of working with center Jeff Saturday during his entire tenure with the Colts, so the Broncos should get him a guy who can develop into that type of player.
26. Houston Texans (10-6): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Wide receiver Andre Johnson has been dominant for a long time as a lone wolf for the Texans, so it will be interesting to see what he can do with Hill's help.
27. New England Patriots (via NO 13-3): Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
There has been plenty of talk that the Patriots love McClellin and since they need a pass rusher for their 3-4 defense, he seems like a great pick in this spot.
28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse
Like McClellin, Jones has surged up draft boards over the past week or two and would likely make a great pass rushing complement to Clay Matthews.
Which position has the highest bust potential?
29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Linebacker isn't a pressing need for the Ravens right now, but with Ray Lewis perhaps playing his last season, it couldn't hurt to grab Hightower.
30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
There is some character concern with Adams after he tested positive for drugs at the combine, but his talent is undeniable at a position of need for the Niners.
31. New England Patriots (13-3): Devon Still, DL, Penn State
New England loves to disguise its defense and do a lot of different things, so a guy like Still who can play all over the line would be a nice addition.
32. New York Giants (9-7): Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
It may not seem like a major need, but after having lost Mario Manningham, the Giants would benefit from taking a receiver like Randle who can start outside with Victor Cruz in the slot.
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