5 NFL Rookies Looking Like Busts so Far
After months of dissecting and speculating on how each rookie would play in the NFL, the first-quarter grades of the 2012 season have been posted.
Not every rookie can be elusive on the gridiron like Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, or have the composure of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in the pocket.
Here are the five rookies looking like busts through the first quarter of the 2012 season.
Seattle Seahawks, DE, Bruce Irvin
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The surprise of last April’s NFL draft has been third-round selection Russell Wilson, who came out of nowhere to become the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback.
Their first-round pick, defensive end Bruce Irvin, has been a colossal bust, as he’s been a non-factor on the football field. Yes, Irvin has 2.5 sacks on the season, but he recorded two solo sacks against the Green Bay Packers and provided very little pressure on the quarterback in the other three games.
The Seahawks wanted to improve their pass rush last offseason by drafting a defensive lineman who could rattle the quarterback in the pocket. Irvin is explosive off the ball, but he doesn’t have the strength to go through a physical offensive lineman.
New York Jets, WR, Stephen Hill
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New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill is a classic example of an athlete that moved up in the NFL draft because of his combine workout.
Hill has the ideal build (6’4”, 215 lbs) and speed (4.36 in the 40-yard dash) to become a top option in an explosive passing game. Unfortunately, he has too many on-field mental lapses to be productive, as Hill doesn't run crisp pass routes or separate himself from a defender to become a viable target downfield. He hasn’t caught a pass since the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
The Jets desperately need a wideout who can make plays, especially after losing Santonio Holmes for the season.
San Diego Chargers, OLB, Melvin Ingram
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NFL teams were cautious to draft San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram in last April’s draft because he was considered to be a tweener.
Scouts feel Ingram is too small to be a full-time defensive end in a 4-3 defense and not experienced enough to cover receivers in a 3-4 defense.
In the offseason, the Chargers wanted to upgrade their pass rush, and they selected Ingram hoping he would have an immediate impact on their defense. Unfortunately, Ingram can’t supplant veteran Jarret Johnson from the starting lineup.
Yes, Ingram is very athletic, but his pass-rushing skills have been non-existent in the first quarter of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals, CB, Dre Kirkpatrick
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It has been a disastrous start to Dre Kirkpatrick’s professional career, as he still experiencing tendinitis in his surgically-repaired knee. In fact, Kirkpatrick wasn’t cleared to practice with the team until late in training camp.
Bengal fans cannot expect much of an impact from him, as it will take Kirkpatrick the entire season to fully understand the defensive playbook.
The Bengals desperately need him in the lineup; their secondary play has been the weakest link of the team this year.
But first, Kirkpatrick must get healthy and back on the field.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, RB, Doug Martin
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Coming into training camp, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers considered Doug Martin to be one of the best all-purpose backs coming out of college, as he could run, block and catch the football.
The regular season hasn’t been kind to Martin, who has shown no explosiveness running into the line of scrimmage. He has trouble breaking tackles and struggles to maintain his block against blitzing defenders on obvious passing downs.
Martin averages 3.5 yards-per-carry, but he has become an after-thought in an already over-crowded backfield. Martin hasn't shown to be the difference-maker the Bucs were expecting when they drafted him in the first-round last April.