Reviewing the Biggest Disappointments of the 2012 Rookie Class

Alessandro Miglio@@AlexMiglioFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2013

Reviewing the Biggest Disappointments of the 2012 Rookie Class

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    The 2012 NFL draft class was special. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III led the charge on offense, while Luke Kuechly and Casey Hayward played foil on defense.

    But there were certainly disappointments—dim stars among the constellation of stud rookies. There were plenty of rookies whose rookie seasons were less than stellar.

    Who were the most disappointing rookies of 2012? Click through to find out.

Justin Blackmon

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    Picked by: Jacksonville Jaguars, No. 5 overall

    There was something amiss with Justin Blackmon through the first half of the 2012 season. The rookie receiver was not only on the fast track to earning the "Rookie Bust" merit badge; he simply looked disinterested at times.

    Perhaps having to deal with Blaine Gabbert was the issue because he turned things on when Chad Henne took over. Blackmon had amassed just 250 yards and one touchdown receiving through Week 9 before an unexpected supernova against the mighty Texans.

    Blackmon's second half salvaged what would have been a dismal rookie season for the top receiver taken in the draft. He nearly doubled his season total to that point in that Houston game, and he wound up with 865 yards and five touchdowns.

    Still, the fact that the Jaguars traded up to get him in the top five made him a disappointing rookie.

Brandon Weeden

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    Picked by: Cleveland Browns, No. 22 overall

    It's not that Brandon Weeden had a horrific rookie season. But it looks that way when you stack it up against what some of the other rookie quarterbacks did—including one that was taken 2.5 rounds after him.

    Well, actually, Pro Football Focus would say he had a rookie season straight out of Evil Dead, rating him the worst quarterback in the league last season. Despite settling into the middle of the pack in yardage and touchdowns, the 29-year-old rookie had the 33rd-ranked NFL rating at 72.6.

    And that is the real rub, the fact that he is 29 years old. However good he might have been coming out of college, Weeden needed to contribute right away to be worthwhile in the first round. To put it into perspective, Weeden is older Aaron Rodgers.

Shea McClellin

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    Picked by: Chicago Bears, No. 19 overall

    The Bears needed help along their offensive line—an annual event, it seems—but they chose to bolster their pass rush in the first round instead.

    McClellin couldn't get past 32-year-old Israel Idonije for significant playing time for much of the season. He logged just 2.5 sacks as a result.

Jonathan Martin

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    Picked by: Miami Dolphins, No. 42 overall

    Jonathan Martin was a borderline first-round pick heading into the 2012 draft.

    The left tackle out of Stanford was known as a finesse player, which might be why he fell into the second round. 

    Miami, meanwhile, had human turnstile Marc Colombo manning the right tackle position in 2011. Martin could slide over to the right side, right? 


    Martin was quite prossibly the worst rookie offensive lineman in the league last year. Indeed, Pro Football Focus rated him the fifth-worst tackle in the entire league. He allowed just six sacks but an eye-popping 57 total quarterback pressures on the season.

Michael Floyd

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    Picked by: Arizona Cardinals, No. 13 overall

    By the time the 2012 draft season ended, Michael Floyd was nipping at Justin Blackmon's heels for top receiver honors.

    He settled for second place, landing in the desert as Larry Fitzgerald's sidekick. Not a bad gig, unless you have Kevin Kolb, John Skelton or Ryan Lindley throwing the ball.

    Floyd's disappointing season was more a product of a poor offense than anything. Still, 562 yards and a pair of scores is rather low for the second receiver taken in the draft.

Coby Fleener

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    Picked by: Indianapolis Colts, No. 34 overall

    Indianapolis went into "rebuild mode" last year, and they started by overhauling the offense.

    After having Andrew Luck fall into their laps, the Colts took his college running mate, Coby Fleener in the second round. 

    Fleener was widely viewed as the top rookie tight end in the class despite deficiencies as a blocker. He was outshined by fellow rookie tight end Dwayne Allen, who was taken in the third round.

Nick Perry

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    Picked by: Green Bay Packers, No. 28 overall

    The Packers were woeful on defense in 2011, and that was reflected in their attempt to fill holes throughout the 2012 draft.

    Nick Perry was the first of many defenders taken in the draft, expected to bolster the pass rush for Green Bay.

    His rookie season was utterly eclipsed by fellow rookie Casey Hayward, who was in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Perry, meanwhile, appeared in just six games, amassing a paltry two sacks when he was healthy enough to play.

Stephen Hill

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    Picked by: New York Jets, No. 43 overall

    New York was abysmal on offense last season, and Stephen Hill did little to help.

    The rookie out of Georgia Tech lit the combine on fire when he blazed through the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at 6'4" and 215 pounds. His combination of size and speed—not to mention he hailed from Georgia Tech, which has produced Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas in recent years—strapped a rocket to his draft stock.

    It settled in the second round, where the Jets took him to pair with Santonio Holmes and give Mark Sanchez another weapon. Or so they thought.

    Hill caught just 21 passes for 252 yards on the year despite being healthy, and he was only a factor in a couple of games.

Isaiah Pead

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    Picked by: St. Louis Rams, No. 50 overall

    Much like A.J. Jenkins, Isaiah Pead's draft status was a bit surprising.

    Pead had an excellent Senior Bowl, which put him on the map in the draft community. Even then, he was largely considered a mid-round draft pick before the Rams took him in the middle of the second.

    The rookie out of Cincinnati rewarded their faith by catching fumblitis and having fellow late-round rookie Daryl Richardson pass him on the depth chart.

Michael Egnew

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    Picked by: Miami Dolphins, No. 78 overall

    Tight ends generally take some time to develop, but Michael Egnew took that to the extreme as a rookie.

    Utilizing one of the two picks Miami got in return for Brandon Marshall, Jeff Ireland attempted to bolster a weak position for the Dolphins by taking the former Missouri tight end. 

    Egnew was the butt of jokes after being eviscerated by coaches during Hard Knocks. He was so bad that he couldn't even make the active roster until the end of the season.

Mike Adams

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    Picked by: Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 56 overall

    One of the more polarizing figures of the 2012 draft was Mike Adams out of Ohio State.

    The big offensive lineman possesses incredible measurables at the offensive tackle position, but he was inconsistent during college. At one point, however, he was in the first-round discussion. He wound up falling all the way to the back of the second round.

    The Steelers seemed to have lucked into two great starters—David DeCastro fell into their laps in the first round—but it did not work out that way for them last season. DeCastro tore his ACL before the season started, and Adams was a disappointment.

    Adams came off the bench to start the season before becoming a starter in Week 5, allowing seven sacks at right tackle through eight real games of action before finishing the year on the injured list.

Melvin Ingram

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    Picked by: San Diego Chargers, No. 18 overall

    There is a bit of a theme here when it comes to disappointing rookies, in that they tend to hail from disappointing teams.

    San Diego finally jettisoned Norv Turner and A.J. Smith—a few years too late—after they fell to the depths of the AFC along with the rest of their division, save Denver. There were many disappointments on that team, and Melvin Ingram was certainly one of them.

    Drafted to bolster their pass rush, Ingram posted one sack on the season. Sacks are overrated as statistics go, but that is a rather low number for a guy who is supposed to get to the quarterback.

David Wilson

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    Picked by: New York Giants, No. 32 overall

    Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Giants seemingly had few holes to fill. One area of need was running back, where Ahmad Bradshaw and his balky foot remained the only viable option at the time.

    Perhaps armed with that knowledge, the Buccaneers hopped the Giants to grab Doug Martin, who went on to have a rather productive rookie season. Conversely, New York's consolation prize, David Wilson, spent much of the season in Tom Coughlin's doghouse.

A.J. Jenkins

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    Picked by: San Francisco 49ers, No. 30 overall

    San Francisco was a pair of fumbles away from getting to the Super Bowl in Jim Harbaugh's first year as head coach, and things looked even brighter during the offseason.

    The roster was loaded, to the point where the 49ers could afford A.J. Jenkins as a luxury pick. Though he rose through the draftnik ranks shortly before the draft, Jenkins was not commonly associated with the first round.

    The 49ers took him there, presumably to pair with Michael Crabtree over the years. Jenkins was targeted exactly once last season, dropping the pass. Chad Hall was even ahead of him on the depth chart during the playoffs.