NFL Draft 2013: College Stars That Will Struggle at Next Level

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish warms up prior to playing against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Just because a player succeeds in college, it does not mean that he will be a good professional. That is the case for a number of players entering this year's NFL draft. 

While some players like Robert Griffin III can succeed in both college and in the NFL, there are many more players that peak before ever getting paid.

All of the following players had very impressive NCAA careers and will likely be drafted in the first few rounds. Unfortunately, they are likely to be busts at the next level.


Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Although Matt Barkley was in the top 10 in the country in touchdown passes, he was also in the top 10 in interceptions.

He was especially bad in the second half of the year, throwing nine interceptions in his last four games. His team was 1-3 in that stretch.

Barkley had as much talent around him as any quarterback in the country, but he was unable to turn that into wins when it mattered.

Before he can succeed in the NFL, he will need to prove that he can improve his accuracy and decision making. Based on his recent performance, that is unlikely to happen.


Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

This season, Le'Veon Bell proved that he could be a workhorse. Unfortunately, he did not prove that he could be an elite running back.

The senior finished fifth in the nation with 1,793 rushing yards, but he needed 382 carries to reach that mark. Only one player was able to top 1,100 yards by averaging fewer yards per carry than Bell's 4.7 mark. 

His 12 touchdowns were also fewer than the top players at his position.

Bell is a big running back that grinds his way to big yardage totals, but he does not have the speed or elusiveness to be a threat at the next level. He is too reliant on a good offensive line and he would not be worth an early draft pick.


Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Scouts love the size and speed of Barkevious Mingo, knowing that he has the talent to be an elite pass-rusher in the NFL.

However, he is still yet to prove he can put everything together on the field.

The defensive end was able to total eight sacks a year ago as a sophomore. However, he was only able to finish with 4.5 this year with offenses paying attention to him.

Mingo will not have the ability to sneak up on anyone as a high draft pick. He has the potential, but that will only matter for so long. He will need to turn that ability into production.

At this point, he simply does not have the technique to reach his expectations.


Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

It is important not to let one game overshadow a great career. That being said, the BCS National Championship was very revealing in the evaluation of Manti Te'o.

When facing the NFL-level offensive line of Alabama, the linebacker had a hard time shedding blockers and was often caught out of position. He also struggled to tackle the elusive Eddie Lacy, who is probably the best running back he faced all season.

In the NFL, it will be very important for Te'o to be on a team with a good defensive tackle. Louis Nix III did a great job for Notre Dame by taking up blockers and freeing up space for the rest of the defensive players.

Without this type of player in front of him, Te'o will struggle to make plays.

There is still a chance that the Heisman finalist will succeed, but it is apparent that his success is much more dependent on his situation than originally anticipated.