2011 NFL Draft: 5 First-Round Players Most Likely to Be NFL Busts

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIApril 17, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 5 First-Round Players Most Likely to Be NFL Busts

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    Every year, a good number of players are hyped up and given great scouting reports despite injury concerns, inconsistency and many other factors that predispose a player to being a bust on the NFL level.

    In the upcoming draft, there is no shortage of these players. While players like Patrick Peterson and AJ Green are said to be safe bets to perform on the big stage, other prospects don't have such a consensus vote.

    Some of the players on this list may go on to have long, successful careers at the next level and make me look like a fool, but that's the beauty of pre-draft coverage.

    Without further ado, here are five players most likely to be the first round busts that cost GMs and coaches their jobs.

Da'Quan Bowers

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    Once considered to be the logical choice at No. 1, right in the Panthers' backyard at Clemson University, Bowers' draft stock has taken a huge hit.

    After an unimpressive pro day, questions about Bowers' knee arose; these questions still haven't been answered.

    Moreover, Bowers is a one-year wonder, and NFL teams wonder why he only began to perform so well in his final year.

    No team wants to spend first-round money on a defensive end who may be out of the league in five years due to an arthritic knee.

Blaine Gabbert

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    I don't know where all of the hype around this young quarterback began, but he doesn't look like a franchise guy to me.

    Typically, a franchise quarterback is one whom you build the team around. This guy will take over games and at times, single-handedly lead his team to victory.

    The franchise quarterback will have a signature ability that he does well, and there is none of that with Gabbert.

    Some team will buy the hype, though, and draft him in the hopes that he will lead their team to the promised land.

    This same team may be looking at Andrew Luck with the first pick in 2012.

Mark Ingram

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    After a Heisman honeymoon, it was back to work for Ingram in 2010, and he certainly disappointed those looking for a follow-up campaign to seal Ingram as a top-10 pick in this year's draft.

    Many of Ingram's highlight reel plays come on him breaking off big runs that he doesn't have the breakaway speed to do in the NFL.

    Also, Ingram's ability to break tackles isn't on par with what a typical first-round running back should be able to do.

    Lastly, Ingram suffered from the injury bug and, even when healthy, lost carries to Trent Richardson.

    NFL evaluators are beginning to notice the clear red flags around Ingram, and some teams have reportedly moved Mikel Leshoure above Ingram on their draft boards.

Nate Solder

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    At one point, Solder was the top offensive tackle prospect on many draft boards, but he has since fallen into late first-round obscurity.

    There are no clear answers as to why Solder's stock has slipped behind players like Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi and Tyron Smith, but it certainly raises a few red flags about how Solder has presented himself to NFL teams.

    The young tackle is certainly talented, but in a league where the quarterback's safety is the first priority, it's doubtful that Solder will ever be given the chance to develop.

    He may be too much of a project for teams with a young quarterback to protect, and after a slide down draft boards, he seems to have bust written all over him.

Aldon Smith

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    Smith is a raw, talented pass rusher who will need some coaching, but could one day make an impact.

    We've heard this mantra way too many times before. First it was Vernon Gholston, then it was Aaron Maybin, and you get the idea.

    Smith has the measurables and the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, but he has limited technique and will be stopped by bigger NFL tackles.

    Smith relied on hackneyed rush moves, succeeding with bull-rush moves against smaller, collegiate linemen.

    He is a raw project but doesn't have a solid enough foundation to have projectable success at the NFL level, and after the Jets and Bills, respectively, were burned by players with the same scouting report, no NFL team wants to make the mistake of bringing in a bust.