Not all first-round picks in the NFL are created equal.
Some are more ready, while others are placed into more favorable positions on the depth chart. Some are simply more talented.
The 2012 preseason is now starting its second week, and some rookies are still trying to get their feet wet. We're certainly not ready to write these players off, and no one should be using the word "bust" yet.
But the following first-round rookies do not appear ready to be big contributors early on in the 2012 season:
Michael Floyd, Cardinals
Floyd hasn't exactly "struggled" early in Cardinals' camp, but he certainly hasn't grasped a big role in the Arizona offense yet. The first-round pick is still fourth on the Cardinals' receiving depth chart as the team prepares for its third preseason game.
The only first-team reps Floyd has received have come when the Cardinals go to the four-wide set.
Offensive coordinator Mike Miller insisted there's no need to worry about Floyd.
From the Cardinals' official site:
There are rookies that have come in and from the first couple practices they are running with the ones,. But if it doesn’t happen, it’s not a discredit to anyone either. We said when we added Michael to the mix we were going to have great competition.
The same story notes that first-round receivers over the last five years have averaged 43 catches, 593 yards and four touchdowns. If Floyd stays the fourth receiver for most of the season, he'll be hard-pressed to match those numbers, especially early.
Dontari Poe, Chiefs
Say what you want about the long-term potential of Poe, the Chiefs' 350-pound athletic marvel, but he's still a project at this point—early takes from Chiefs' camp have proved just that.
Poe is currently Kansas City's third-string nose tackle, behind 2011 sixth-round Jerrell Powe and former undrafted free agent Anthony Toribio. He played sparingly during the Chiefs' first preseason game.
Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel understands the learning process Poe is fighting through right now.
“The young Poe, he’s still learning, and he gave good effort," Crennell told the Kansas City Star. "He’s trying to learn to do the things the way we want them. He’s not there yet."
Poe might need some time to get Crennel's defense down. Most pegged him as a project with huge upside coming out, so this revelation comes as no surprise early.
A.J. Jenkins, 49ers
Jenkins was up-and-down in his preseason debut last Friday.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, Jenkins played 31 snaps—some coming in the first half—while catching and dropping two passes. He finished with two catches on six targets for 20 yards.
The 49ers' first-round receiver has a long ways to go if he's to creep up a depth chart that includes Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn. Even Brett Swain caught a touchdown pass in the preseason open while working with the No. 1 offense. It's a talented group that could swallow a struggling rookie.
The 49ers are obviously bringing Jenkins along slowly, but training camp returns don't appear to have the first-rounder playing a big role (or any) early on.