The Seattle Seahawks traded former first-round pick Kelly Jennings to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, sending the cornerback in exchange for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. After sticking with Jennings since drafting him with the 31st pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Seahawks had finally had enough and sent the Miami product packing.
Jennings has been struggling with injuries during the preseason, and he didn't play in Seattle's latest contest against the Denver Broncos on Saturday. Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond had both likely passed him on the depth chart anyway, and rookie draft picks Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell both have much more upside than Jennings. So this trade makes perfect sense.
Jennings never lived up to his billing as a first-rounder in Seattle, as many fans repeatedly voiced their displeasure with him over the years. Still, the Seahawks re-signed him this offseason to an affordable one-year, $1.835 million deal, probably hoping that he would step up and fulfill his potential. Apparently, after three preseason games, Seattle has given up on the Kelly Jennings era.
Jennings certainly qualifies as a bust if you take a quick glance at his numbers. He has played in 78 games in his five years in the league, starting just 44. In that time, he has two interceptions and 48 passes defensed. You expect much more than that from a guy when you take him with a first-round pick.
While Jennings has adequate size and speed for an NFL corner, what he lacks is toughness. He's not strong in press coverage and often gets pushed around by stronger receivers. He also has a tendency to gamble on routes too much and guess wrong, which results in blown assignments. On top of that, he's not a particularly strong tackler.
After five years Jennings is no better than a third or fourth corner. That certainly qualifies him as another first round bust.