Predicting Which 2012 1st-Round Draft Picks Will Find Themselves out of the NFL
As much as it pains NFL fans, draft busts exist. And there will undoubtedly be some from the 2012 NFL draft class.
Some busts are easier to predict than others. For example, many predicted Aaron Maybin would bust, but few expected Aaron Curry to disappoint like he has.
The 2012 NFL season is still young, but some players are already looking like future busts. Who are these players, and why are they not looking to last long in the Not For Long league?
A.J. Jenkins, WR, San Francisco 49ers
A.J. Jenkins has had a rough go of it since entering the NFL. Upon being drafted, he was criticized as a reach. And so far, he has done nothing to shed the label.
Jenkins hasn't recorded a catch yet and has been inactive two of the first three weeks. There have been few positive reports about Jenkins, and his inability to gain playing time among a weak wide receiver group shows how much he has struggled.
It's too early to say Jenkins is undoubtedly a bust, but the early signs aren't good. In fact, he is progressing just as many predicted the surprise first-rounder would.
Quinton Coples, DE, New York Jets
There's no denying Quinton Coples' talent. However, he has been criticized for his attitude, and he had work-ethic problems at North Carolina.
If he puts in the effort, Coples could be a great player. He hasn't made much of an impact yet, though, and the attitude problem is apparently still an issue.
Physically, there's no reason Coples shouldn't be a star. Unfortunately, football is every bit as much mental as it is physical.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Through three weeks, Michael Floyd has one catch for eight yards. That one catch was a touchdown, but it's still just one catch through three weeks.
Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald, but other than him, the team lacks wide receivers. Floyd should be able to get onto the field and make plays given the lack of other options.
Yet Floyd hasn't produced, and he isn't starting. Add in his injury history and off-the-field issues with this slow start, and Floyd is one of the more bust-likely rookies.
Bruce Irvin, DE, Seattle Seahawks
Bruce Irvin had a great game against Green Bay, picking up two sacks. However, he was going up against Bryan Bulaga, who isn't the best in pass protection.
Irvin has actually played reasonably well thus far, but he is still a one-trick pony. In order to last in the NFL, Irvin will need to add more pass-rush moves and improve against the run. He has failed to do either as of yet.
If he does progress, Irvin has the skills to make it as a pass-rusher. As of now, though, he is too one-dimensional. Offensive tackles will figure out Irvin's game if he fails to adjust.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Cincinnati Bengals
Dre Kirkpatrick missed much of Cincinnati's offseason activities with a knee injury, which he still hasn't recovered from. That's not a good sign for the talented rookie.
Kirkpatrick was always a risky draft pick, as no one knew how his lanky frame would adjust to the NFL. The injury issues make him even more likely to bust now.
There's a good chance Kirkpatrick will recover from his injury and see the field yet this year. However, early injuries—especially knee injuries—aren't good indications of future health. The injury risk, combined with Kirkpatrick's risky skill set, makes him a good bust candidate.