10 Big-Name Rookies Who Could Ride the Pine to Begin Their NFL Careers
No matter how much hype is surrounding a big-name NFL draft prospect, that is not going to guarantee them a starting job. In fact, some of these players have so much hype due to the potential that they have, and need, some time sitting on the sidelines with a clipboard.
We have seen many great NFL players ride the bench for a few seasons until they reached stardom. For an example, Aaron Rodgers—he sat behind Brett Favre for a couple seasons and now he's arguably the best player in the game today.
With that being said, let's take a look at 10 big-name NFL rookies that could ride the pine to begin their NFL careers.
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Well it certainly looks like Brandon Weeden will be the starter heading into 2012 as the Cleveland Browns have already altered their offense to fit Weeden's strength and general manager Tom Hacket expects Weeden to be the starter at the start of the season.
But wait a second—what happens if he doesn't perform well?
There's a very good chance that Weeden stinks it up the first few games of the season and could ultimately be benched in favor of Colt McCoy, with the Browns just figuring to groom Weeden for the remainder of the season.
Hey, it's a possibility—and it could be a likely one.
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We all know Dontari Poe as the combine warrior of the 2012 draft season, as he has freakish speed to go along with overwhelming power—however, he was rather quiet during his college days at Memphis.
With reports indicating that Poe has taken over starting nose tackle reps at the Kansas City Chiefs OTAs, I still have a feeling that this guy is going to be a bust—or at least for the 2012 season.
With that being said, I think that there's a solid chance that Poe could lose some playing time throughout the season due to his poor and raw style of play.
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I do not expect to see anything from Brandon Thompson in 2012 with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Currently, Thompson is sitting behind Geno Atkins, Devon Still, Domata Peko and Pat Sims on the Bengals defensive depth chart for defensive tackles.
Unless he can impress the coaching staff through OTAs, training camp and preseason, we will not see Thompson at all in 2012. He will likely ride the pine in year one of his NFL career.
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Much like many of the prospects that we see come out of Boise State, George Iloka is very talented but he is very raw.
Iloka is currently sitting behind Reggie Nelson and Robert Sands for the starting free safety position for the Cincinnati Bengals. That is going to be a huge obstacle for Iloka to overcome during his rookie season. I do see him beating out Sands, but I don't see him playing over Nelson, whatsoever.
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There is no doubt in my mind that Ryan Tannehill will not be the starter for the Miami Dolphins come Week 1, and I highly doubt that we will see much of Tannehill in the 2012 season.
According to sources (via the Palm Beach Post), the Miami Dolphins don't plan on rushing Tannehil—which leads us to believe that Tannehill will likely sit out the 2012 season with a clipboard in his hands, watching David Garrard and Matt Moore play.
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At times while at Michigan State, it seemed like defensive lineman Jerel Worthy would just disappear—almost like he was disengaged from the game.
With that being said, Worthy might need some grooming during his first season in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.
There's no question Worthy is a very talented prospect with a bright future, but I don't see him stealing too much playing time away from Ryan Pickett.
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Lamar Miller was one of the most exciting and explosive players to enter the 2012 NFL draft, as he used his blazing speed to dominant while at Miami.
Now with the Miami Dolphins, Miller could very well ride the bench for the 2012 season while splitting carries with Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Steve Slaton.
This is a perfect position for Miller—he can have a few carries here and there while adjusting to the very fast speed of the NFL.
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Stephen Hill is just simply too athletic to keep off of the football field, but he's just so raw that you almost need to.
Hill flourished at the NFL combine despite playing at Georgia Tech, where they run the triple option and Hill rarely saw the ball being thrown—but when it was thrown, it was usually in his direction.
If I were the New York Jets, I'd see how he did throughout the preseason, but ultimately it might be a good idea to just use him sparingly as he's just so raw for an NFL starting wide receiver.
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With Mario Manningham leaving New York to join the San Francisco 49ers, many would figure that Rueben Randle would slide right in and take up some of the playing time that Manningham once had.
However, we all need to realize that Randle is extremely raw and has a lot of work to do while sitting behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz while having to battle Jerrel Jernigan and Domenik Hixon for some playing time.
Randle could very well just sit out the entire 2012 season and ride the pine.
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Everyone is already assuming that Riley Reiff is going to slide right in as the Detroit Lions starting right tackle, but he still has to battle it out with Gosder Cherilus.
If Cherilus shows up to training camp and puts on a show, then Reiff could very well be on the bench for the entire 2012 season.
However, Reiff will have a solid NFL career but his first season in the NFL might be just a learning curve for the Iowa product.