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Ryan Tannehill and 4 Rookies Fading Fast Down the Stretch

Lou RomContributor INovember 25, 2012

Ryan Tannehill and 4 Rookies Fading Fast Down the Stretch

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    While all eyes were on the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2012 draft, this year's rookie crop has proven to be an impressive one. 

    But for every rookie just now breaking into the starting lineup, there's one that started hot and is fading down the stretch.

    Whether it's due to the wear and tear of four preseason games and a longer pro season, or teams now getting their second look at some standout rookies or coaches tinkering with gameday strategies and lineups, it's a an annual pastime, watching the rookies fade.

    This season, both highly-touted and surprising rookies are well into their second-half swoon. Here's a fast four of rookies fading down the stretch.

Ryan Tannehill

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    The quarterback class of 2012 may go down as the best since 1983, led by Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. 

    One of the early surprises in that class was the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill, who helped lead the Dolphins to a surprising 4-3 start that could easily have been 6-1 with two overtime losses to the Jets and Cardinals.

    Tannehill earned his way into ROY discussion during the Fins' three-game-winning streak in which he did not turn over the ball once and trailed only RG3 in completion ratio and total QBR.

    But as the Dolphins' ground game began to struggle, so did Tannehill.

    More pressure meant less time to make sound decisions, and Tannehill's accuracy suffered as he began to force the ball into coverage and struggled to find his second and third receivers.

    Through 11 games, Tannehill has six touchdowns versus 11 interceptions and is completing 58 percent of his passes. He still looks like a quarterback of the future in Miami.

    Though he's fading down the stretch, it's no surprise given his lack of talent around him and Reggie Bush struggles. 

David Wilson

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    David Wilson's biggest problem is that he has yet to play himself out of head coach Tom Coughlin's doghouse after his opening-day fumble against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Another problem for Wilson? Well, for starters, he's not Doug Martin, who was taken one pick before him. 

    Martin has a 200-yard game to his credit and is already in the 1,000-yard club with five touchdowns and a 5.1 clip to boot.

    Wilson was 89 yards on the year—yes, the year—with a single touchdown.

    Meanwhile, Andre Brown, a player cut by five NFL teams in his career, including the Giants, has scored seven touchdowns and gained over 300 yards on the ground.

    Wilson has nowhere to go but up, and part of the problem rests with Coughlin not giving him any carries. He's not fumbled since that opening day gaffe and is averaging over five yards per carry. 

    But, as the Giants come back after a week off, there's little reason to believe Coughlin's tact is going to change unless Wilson forces his hand by doing something incredible with the few carries he gets. 

Dontari Poe

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    When the Kansas City Chiefs selected defensive tackle Dontari Poe with the No. 11 overall pick in the draft, they expected an instant impact player.

    What they got for their millions is a player who's been a non-factor through 10 games.

    The Memphis standout, after an exceptional senior season, isn't even the best tackle on the team, let alone of the draft.

    Poe has 18 tackles in 10 games for the Chiefs this season. While Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel can spin that performance any way he wants, 18 tackles is 18 tackles.

    "I think he's making good progress ... Last week I think he made a pass rush move and got to the quarterback and was able to pressure him. He didn't get the sack but he was right on him. In a one-on-one situation I think that was a nice move by him and showed good improvement," Crennel said recently.

    On a team as bad as the Chiefs, a guy like Poe should be a shining star. So far, anyone not named Crennel knows he's a been a black hole of star power. 

Trent Richardson

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    File this under F for on the fence.

    Trent Richardson makes this list not so much because he started hot and is fading fast, but because he is not playing with the consistency expected of a running back drafted in the first round.

    Richardson has had his share of minor injuries, and defenses certainly have dared rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to beat them stuffing the box with eight defenders quite often.

    Nonetheless, Richardson's rookie season has to be considered a bit of a disappointment for the Cleveland Browns

    Richardson's best performance came against the Baltimore Ravens, who he battered for 105 yards on the ground and caught six passes against.

    But his 670 yards through 10 games is underwhelming despite three 100-yard efforts, and his yards per carry needs to improve dramatically for him to truly earn his first-round money. 

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