2012 NFL Draft: The Comparable Bust for Each First-Round Rookie

Eli Nachmany@EliNachmanyCorrespondent IIIMay 1, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: The Comparable Bust for Each First-Round Rookie

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    The first round of the draft was a fantastic night for every party involved (except for, of course, the players left in the green room), but it's time to wonder what happens if each first-round rookie busts.

    With a host of NFL players to choose from, we count down each rookie's NFL comparison if the player busts.

    Without any further ado, what is the comparable for each first-rounder if they don't turn out as they're supposed to?

Andrew Luck

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    Comparison: Heath Shuler

    Andrew Luck is the most sure-fire thing since Peyton Manning, but Heath Shuler was almost equally as sure to succeed.

    Both exude confidence and could have a successful career outside of football after being highly touted on the field.

    Hopefully, for the Colts, Luck will work out.

Robert Griffin III

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    Comparison: Akili Smith

    Smith was going to be a top-notch, dual-threat quarterback, but everything just never came to fruition for him.

    If Griffin can't right the ship in Washington, the team will be quick to find a player who will, and that player may be Kirk Cousins.

    Like Smith was, both players could be replaced rather quickly if they aren't successful.

Trent Richardson

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    Player Comparison: Marshawn Lynch

    Trent Richardson will not be a disappointment and if he busts, the worst-case scenario is that he ends up like Marshawn Lynch.

    Richardson has brought a new face to the Browns franchise and will be successful in the rough AFC North.

    Look for this playmaker to make his mark within his first few years in the NFL.

Matt Kalil

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    Comparison: Joe Staley

    Kalil will be a good left tackle for the Vikings and there's no way he can truly bust when he gets into the league.

    He's got a good frame and, at worst, will be an average guy who is serviceable on the left side.

    Realistically speaking, Kalil's floor and his ceiling are somewhat close—I don't think there's much room for him to improve here.

Justin Blackmon

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    Comparison: Davone Bess

    Here's where it gets interesting again.

    Blackmon has good route-running ability and finds holes in the defense, but lacks the elite size, speed or hands that would make him an elite receiver.

    He could be a real bust in the league and turn out to be a Davone Bess-type receiver who moves the chains and runs good routes, but nothing more.

Morris Claiborne

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    Comparison: Terrence Newman

    Claiborne is a top-flight cornerback prospect but, if he starts getting burned, look for him to become a Terrence Newman-type.

    Newman does a number of things well, but he is becoming a liability, and Claiborne needs to hone his craft or else he'll end up like Newman.

    The Cowboys don't want another situation like that, so look for veterans on the team to push this LSU corner to work hard.

Mark Barron

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    Comparison: Michael Huff

    Barron is not going to be an elite safety because he doesn't cover well enough, but he should be a Pro Bowl player as his career progresses.

    If not, Barron will be a mediocre player in the mold of Michael Huff, who is a complete safety without one great attribute.

    Look for this safety to exceed this comparison and be an All-Pro guy.

Ryan Tannehill

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    Comparison: Blaine Gabbert

    I don't think it's fair to compare Tannehill to Gabbert, but there's no doubting that the Texas A&M quarterback could become Gabbert-like if he's a bust.

    Luckily enough, Tannehill won't have to be the starter from Day 1 in Miami.

    Eerily, both of these quarterbacks were drafted to a Florida-based team with David Garrard on the roster. Coincidence?

Luke Kuechly

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    Comparison: Barrett Ruud

    Ruud and Kuechly are both instinctive linebackers who can play in any scheme.

    The problem with Ruud is that he's a very underwhelming player who is not going to be a difference-maker and that's precisely what Carolina doesn't want here.

    Kuechly is to come in and make plays on defense, but he'll be labeled a bust if he's as boring as Ruud.

Stephon Gilmore

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    Comparison: Donald Strickland

    I don't really love the Gilmore pick because I can see his floor being a lot lower than his ceiling.

    Gilmore is a prime candidate to bust and there's no doubt that the Bills will have a tough time even getting him into the lineup with a number of similarly talented veterans already on the roster.

    I'm going to go ahead and tab Gilmore to be a bust—sorry, Donald Strickland.

Picks 11-20

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    11. Dontari Poe: Present-Day Albert Haynesworth

    12. Fletcher Cox: Mike Patterson

    13. Michael Floyd: Roy Williams

    14. Michael Brockers: Fili Muir

    15. Bruce Irvin: Aaron Maybin

    16. Quinton Coples: Vernon Gholston

    17. Dre Kirkpatrick: Kyle Arrington

    18. Melvin Ingram: Arthur Moats

    19. Shea McClellin: Frank Zombo

    20. Kendall Wright: Kevin Ogletree


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    21. Chandler Jones: Robert Geathers

    22. Brandon Weeden: Kyle Orton

    23. Riley Reiff: Mike Brisiel

    24. David DeCastro: Eric Wood

    25. Dont'a Hightower: Jamar Chaney

    26. Whitney Mercilus: Erasmus James

    27. Kevin Zeitler: Chris Kemoeatu

    28. Nick Perry: Clark Haggans

    29. Harrison Smith: Malcolm Jenkins

    30. A.J. Jenkins: Ben Obomanu

    31. Doug Martin: James Starks

    32. David Wilson: Felix Jones