Welcome to the last edition of What to Expect for 2012.
After months of media hype, the NFL draft is over, and fans finally have new members of their team to welcome to town.
Expectations for draft picks are high, but are they too high?
Over the course of the last few weeks, "What to Expect" has examined every draft pick from the AFC South in its historical context. Using past performances from similarly drafted players and by examining the way that each team develops certain positions, I have tried to create a realistic baseline by which to judge the performance of each pick.
Readers should be aware that rookies historically perform much, much worse than fan expectations.
Also, keep in mind that I am not saying the player will perform to these expectations, but rather anything better than the results should be considered a successful rookie year, and anything worse would be a disappointment.
These are not predictions. They are baselines.
The final two candidates are odd-balls, so despite playing different positions, I lumped them together for ease. The Texans took kicker Randy Bullock in the fifth round and the Colts took quarterback Chandler Harnish as Mr. Irrelevant with the last pick in round seven.
What can they expect?
Since 2000, there have been 84 kickers drafted. 16 of them (19%) kicked in fewer than two games their rookie year. 22 kicked in all 16 games. About half of them kicked in half the games. That means that the odds of drafting a kicker who spends the whole year as the team's primary place kicker are quite poor. And that's why the Texans signed Shayne Graham.
As for the selection of Chandler Harnish, There's very little to expect. The best seventh-round quarterbacks since 2000 have been Matt Flynn, Matt Cassel, Ken Dorsey and Tyler Thigpen. Going back to 1990, you can add Koy Detmer and Gus Frerotte to the list.
Since 2000, 25 quarterbacks have been taken in the seventh round. Eight never made NFL rosters. Eight more played fewer than four games in their careers. Six went on to be starters of some duration in the NFL.
Both Bullock and Harnish are long-shots. If Bullock wins the kicking job and sticks for the season, he was worth the pick. If he doesn't, he wasn't.
If Harnish makes the roster as the third quarterback or even makes the practice squad, it will be a good result for him. The odds are high that he'll never play more than a handful of NFL games at most.