Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil: all top picks, all early contributors. The high level of play of these rookies and more have many thinking that rookies are more ready to contribute than ever before.
Just because this year's draft was so successful, though, doesn't mean that there are no busts lurking out there. There are plenty of players in this year's draft that are risky.
These prospects, despite their immense talent, have serious bust potential. Buyer beware.
Barkevious Mingo, DE LSU
Taking a pass-rusher can be a risky proposition for any NFL team. Plenty of pass-rushers have gone bust in the NFL, but there are a few warning signs that can make taking a pass-rusher easier.
Perhaps the most obvious, teams should beware a player who relies solely on his athleticism, as most of these players struggle in the NFL. Think Jarvis Moss, a former first-round selection of the Denver Broncos who racked up just six sacks in his six-year career.
That description fits Mingo perfectly. There is a reason Mingo accumulated just four sacks this season. Watching his tape, you rarely see him make a play once he has been engaged. He lacks the strength to bull rush, which makes sense considering he is just 240 pounds, and his hand use is practically non-existent.
There are things to like about Mingo, of course. His intensity is impressive, and his burst off the line of scrimmage is stellar.
Unfortunately, that won't be enough for the wiry Mingo. He needs to add significant strength and technique to his game to succeed in the NFL. A prospect that requires that much work should probably not go in the top 15.
Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia
Alec Ogletree is a rapidly-ascending prospect, but there are plenty of red flags that signal a potential bust.
First and most glaring, Ogletree was suspended for four games this season due to a failed drug test and one game in 2010 for a misdemeanor theft incident. One suspension is bad enough, but two in a career is definitely concerning for NFL teams that care about character.
Second and probably more important is that Ogletree just isn't that impressive of a prospect. His stats are golden, as he's racked up double-digit tackles in seven of his nine games this season. Even with his impressive tackle totals though, Ogletree lacks ball skills and gets engulfed easily by offensive lines.
Ogletree is solid in coverage and is a tremendous athlete, but his game does not justify the hype surrounding him. He just does not look like an impact player in the NFL, and the character issues cement Ogletree as a prospect to be wary of on draft day.
Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas
Of all the prospects on this list, Tyler Wilson might be the one with the lowest floor, meaning he is the least likely to be a monumental bust. That having been said, Wilson also might lack upside, which is concerning for a likely first-round quarterback.
The biggest problem with Wilson is that he was simply not great in 2012. As a whole, Arkansas struggled badly this season, and Wilson certainly wasn't helped by a running game that ranked 108th in the nation. Still, shouldn't a first-round quarterback be able to produce more than four wins in his senior season?
Some of the Razorbacks' losses can be traced directly to Wilson's tendency to turn the ball over, especially later in the season. Wilson threw eight interceptions in his final five games, one of which was a 45-15 blowout loss at the hands of Mississippi State.
To be fair to Wilson, his offensive line was a joke at times, and he was tasked with leading a rudderless team in the wake of a massive scandal regarding former head coach Bobby Petrino.
In those terms, Wilson should be applauded for making the best of a bad situation, but that doesn't change the fact that he struggled in 2012. At this point, Wilson might be damaged goods.
Da'Rick Rogers, WR Tennessee Tech
Last year, it was Janoris Jenkins who was the hyper-talented, but troubled player who saved his draft stock by competing at a lower level. This season, it's Da'Rick Rogers.
Rogers is probably the most talented player on this list. He is tall, fast and electric after the catch. In terms of his play on the field, there is little not to like.
Off the field, though, Rogers is a big question mark. He was kicked off Tennessee's football program for drug violations, and he has long been viewed as a player who is into football for the paycheck. Players like that rarely succeed in the NFL.
The potential here is so enticing, but he might be too much of a headcase. Any team that takes Rogers needs to be sure to do plenty of research, but the upside here is enormous.
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