2013 NFL Draft: Predicting the Draft's 4 Biggest Busts
The NFL draft brings lots of stars and positively changes the futures of many teams, but it also brings unfortunate busts.
Many star college players, such as JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch and Matt Leinart, ended up as NFL busts. Sometimes their abilities don't translate to the NFL, some lack the work ethic, and others don't get the opportunity to play. There are a lot of good players in this draft class, but some will fail to live up to expectations.
Which players won't fulfill their lofty expectations? Here are predictions for the four biggest busts of the 2013 NFL draft.
Dion Jordan, OLB, Miami Dolphins
Dion Jordan is a gifted pass-rusher, but there are definitely concerns about the athletic outside linebacker.
Jordan registered five sacks in 2012, which isn't typically what you would see from the third pick in the draft. While Jordan only played in 42.5 percent of Oregon's snaps, he should have been able to register more sacks. The fact that a player as talented as Jordan played so little brings up durability concerns, which isn't good for Miami, who traded up nine spots to secure Jordan.
The pass-rusher failed to record a sack in the last four games he played for Oregon. There were lots of players picked in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds with far more sacks than Jordan, which is extremely concerning. Jordan is going to be able to get to the quarterback and make a difference, but only when he's in.
If Jordan was only able to play in less than half of the snaps in college football, imagine how much he'll have to sit out in the NFL when he'll go up against gigantic NFL linemen. Jordan is a gifted, versatile player, but his durability could limit the positions he plays; he might not be able to approach the line of scrimmage and will likely fail to become a three-down player.
Jordan is a high-risk prospect. If he can consistently make an impact on the field, he'll be a star. However, he could end up flaming out and wasting his athletic gifts. Jordan weighs 248 pounds and will have trouble in the trenches, and if he can't get to the quarterback, he won't be able to succeed.
EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills
EJ Manuel definitely has upside, but there are a lot of things not to like about the former Florida State quarterback.
Manuel is a mobile quarterback with good mechanics, and he was the first quarterback selected when the Buffalo Bills took Manuel with the 16th pick in the draft.
Manuel threw for 23 touchdowns and was intercepted 10 times in 2012, so he wasn't extremely conservative or explosive. Ten interceptions on just 263 throws is a lot, especially considering the average quarterback throws more than 26.3 times per game (meaning that if he threw at that rate and threw more than 26.3 times per game, he'd average more than one interception per game). His accuracy is even worse on deep balls.
Manuel doesn't give his receivers space to work with in the open field, forcing them to slow down or adjust to catch his passes. Manuel senses pressure early and often forces passes when he sees pressure, which isn't good. He will likely start his career with an abundance of interceptions, and if he can't adjust, he'll struggle to protect the ball throughout his career.
Manual is an inconsistent quarterback who will need a lot of work. While he has a lot of upside and the potential to be one of the league's better quarterbacks, his career could also turn out to be nothing.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Minnesota Vikings
Lots of people thought Sharrif Floyd could end up in Oakland with the third pick in the draft, but he ended up falling to 23rd.
Floyd is a player who needs to be in the right system to succeed and was overrated by the media. A lot of teams passed on Floyd because he isn't a great fit in a 3-4 and doesn't have a lot of experience in a 4-3. Minnesota runs a 4-3 defense, so Floyd, who is better off attacking the quarterback, will get a chance to gain experience and should fit in nicely. However, he still isn't going to be great.
The defensive tackle only registered three sacks in 2012, and he finished the year with a mere 46 tackles. Floyd is 6'3" and 297 pounds, and even though he is versatile, his size and lack of speed don't make him a great fit at any one position. Floyd isn't as big as the linemen in the trenches, and his 40-yard dash time of 4.92 seconds means that he can't blow by linemen with speed.
Floyd climbed draft boards in between the end of the 2012 season and the draft. He ran a 3-4 defense in college and wasn't bad, but a 4-3 is likely best for him. However, there could be some issues with the transition that would only make things worse for Floyd.
Aaron Rodgers is a notable example of a high-profile player who fell on draft day and came back to perform well, but Floyd isn't going to be that kind of player. His stock was unreasonably inflated, and while he has talent and athleticism, he is overrated. Floyd never produced much in college, and he won't produce much in the NFL in terms of stats. Floyd may be able to get some hurries on the quarterback, but it may be tough for him as well.
Floyd is going to go up against heavier linemen, so he will have to prove that he can handle some elite interior linemen. His versatility is a huge positive, but he doesn't have the speed to be a defensive end and may not have the strength to be a defensive tackle. Floyd, like all other draft prospects, is untested in the NFL, so it's yet to be seen whether he can produce at a high level against the best of the best.
Unless he is able to use his athleticism and get to the quarterback more often than expected, Floyd won't live up to expectations.
Manti Te'o, LB, San Diego Chargers
Manti Te'o was projected by many as a top-five pick before the BCS Championship Game. However, that doesn't make him a bona fide star.
The months in between the BCS Championship and the draft brought some interesting times for Te'o, and the result was Te'o's stock plummeting. Te'o still has talent and can put up respectable numbers, but his name is now linked to an unfortunate fake girlfriend scandal that brings lots of unnecessary attention.
Te'o intercepted seven passes in 2012, but that's not going to happen in the NFL. Te'o has good instincts, but he lacks speed with his below-average 4.71 40 time. In the NFL, where even the biggest players are fast, that's not a good sign.
The 225-pound middle linebacker only produced 55 solo tackles in 2012, as a lot of his tackles were assisted. While he intercepted seven passes in 2012, he also intercepted only seven passes over his four-year career. It's going to be difficult for Te'o, who isn't fast or extremely strong (he managed 21 reps on the 225-pound bench press), to chase down and tackle big running backs. Players who can break tackles and run with speed, such as Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles, will give Te'o a hard time.
Te'o will have the spotlight on him all season, and he's going to have lots of trouble in the NFL. He isn't big enough to deliver a hard hit, and he isn't fast enough to handle a slippery, speedy back. Te'o will intercept some passes and register some tackles, but he's not going to be the next Junior Seau.
Unless he exceeds expectations and proves he can handle the elite competition, Te'o won't be the next long-term starter in San Diego.