2012 NFL Draft Results: 10 Players Who Will Be out of the NFL in 5 Years
The NFL draft has been around for awhile—since February 8, 1936, to be exact—and if there's one lesson each team has learned over the years it's this: Time is the ultimate evaluator of talent.
No matter how many scouting reports have been read, the amount of hours of film watched or the strength of a certain "gut feeling," some players just don't pan out in the league.
To put it simply, not every draft pick is the right pick.
From Thursday to Saturday, a total of 253 players were drafted, and though their careers are just beginning, it's never too early to forecast future success.
Or in this case, a transition too steep to overcome.
I feel like the extremely pessimistic version of Miss Cleo, but here are 10 players—all drafted—with an NFL life expectancy of five years max.
QB Chandler Harnish, Indianapolis Colts
Though tempting to go with Brandon Weeden, who will soon approach qualification for the senior discount at Denny's, the easy choice is Harnish—aka Mr. Irrelevant—and for reasons other than being the last player selected.
Often compared to Tim Tebow, Harnish is a natural leader with the athleticism to make plays with his feet, but (like Tebow) is often erratic throwing the ball. It sufficed at Northern Illinois where he broke several school records.
However, NFL secondaries will have a field day until improvements are made.
RB Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
Morris absolutely trucked his opponents—in the Sun Belt Conference.
The NFL is a much different league where physicality meets speed. He is a savvy runner with good vision, but lacks the extra gear and power to start at the next level.
Scouts worried about his speed during the pre-draft process, and Morris did little to erase their concerns. He clocked a 4.63 and 4.62 40-yard dash at his pro day and was slightly slower in Indianapolis (4.65).
Expect a move to fullback and if that doesn't work out, he may struggle to sustain a lengthy career.
WR T.J. Graham, Buffalo Bills
Speed is not everything at the receiver position. Remember, Jerry Rice ran a 4.71 40-yard dash.
Graham is fast—4.41 fast—but it's a straight-line fast. He's also undersized and unreliable going across the middle.
And if he doesn't polish his route-running, Graham could be a real bust for the Bills—who are counting on him to be their guy opposite Steve Johnson.
TE Taylor Thompson, Tennessee Titans
Though intriguing, the selection is a bit of a head-scratcher—especially with James Hanna still on the board.
Thompson possesses a nice blend of size, strength and athleticism. He played defensive end in college, but returns to tight end (his high school position) for the Titans.
Thompson enters camp with a chance to compete for a spot at the bottom of the depth chart. It's up to him to work his way up, or drop down and out.
OL Gino Gradkowski, Baltimore Ravens
Ravens obviously saw enough talent to select Gradkowski—brother of Bengals' quarterback Bruce Gradkowski—in the fourth round, though he was rated by most as a likely free agent.
And I am agreeing with the majority here.
What worries me most is the below-average lower body strength, something very crucial when battling inside the trenches. He is better suited for center and will get an early shot to compete for backup duties. If things don't work out there, an exit from the NFL is in the cards.
DL John Hughes, Cleveland Browns
The Browns took a leap of faith and selected Hughes with the 24th pick of the third round (87th overall).
Spell it out, r-e-a-c-h.
Hughes has the frame and look of an NFL defensive tackle, yet lacks the skill set. To make matters worse, he can be lazy at times and gives up on plays before the whistle. He does use his size well in stopping the run, but the ceiling is as a rotational player.
LB Tahir Whitehead, Detroit Lions
Whitehead is a big (6'2", 240 pounds), athletic linebacker who tests well—he posted a 4.70 forty-yard dash, 37" vertical leap and 10'4" broad jump at the combine. While the measurements are impressive, the on-field production falls short.
He is good in small areas and wraps up as a tackler, but will get torched when dropping back in coverage. Lateral movement is sluggish, his hips are too stiff and he struggles with running backs once they bounce outside.
CB Trumaine Johnson, St. Louis Rams
This is a tough one for me to commit to because Johnson completely dominated his FCS competition. Teams rarely threw his direction and when they did, he made them pay.
He's a physical corner with average speed and an effective tackler. How his game translates to the NFL, however, remains in question. Receivers are stronger, faster and attack the defense's weaknesses. A move to free safety may be very wise.
SS Jerron McMillian, Green Bay Packers
Expected to land in the free agency pool, McMillian—to the surprise of many—was selected in the fourth round. The Packers needed a safety heading into the draft and prematurely pulled the trigger on this Maine product.
Though solid in run support, McMillian is easily baited and beaten in the passing game. He over-anticipates and looks to make the big hit too often, instead of the smart play. NFL teams will pick up on that and attack him through the air.
His stock was on the rise, but took a mighty leap on Day 2 of the draft when the Patriots selected him with the 48th overall pick.
He's quick, explosive and has the versatility Bill Belichick covets. What he lacks though is a clear position in the NFL.
He's a "tweener" landing somewhere between a corner and safety, and where the Patriots line him up remains to be seen. This could hurt his chances to remain on an NFL roster for long.
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