NFL Draft 2012: 10 Draft Prospects Who Are Fool's Gold
Every year there are busts. Quarterback busts are the most notorious; recent history has given us the enormous bust of JaMarcus Russell along with Brady Quinn in the same year.
Every position produces busts, some more than others, but no position is bust-proof.
So, which top draft prospects this season are bound to fail? Here are 10 players from the 2012 class that I think teams need to stay away from in May.
1. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
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Janoris Jenkins' draft stock took a hit when he was dismissed from Florida for his repeated off-the-field problems (he was arrested twice on drug-related charges and once for assault and resisting arrest).
Jenkins will probably get picked by a team who thinks he's fallen too far to pass up. While he is undeniably talented, the 2012 cornerback class is phenomenal. With Dre Kirkpatrick, Morris Clayborne, Alfonzo Denard, Stephen Gilmore, Cliff Harris and Casey Hayward all looking like they could be first-rounders, there's no reason any team should take the huge risk that is Jenkins.
Janoris Jenkins reminds me of "Pacman" Jones, the first-round pick by the Titans in 2005. Jones was a great corner for years, but missed the bulk of his first two seasons on suspension by the league before the Titans cut him.
Teams with a need at corner should go to a high-character guy like Casey Hayward before even considering someone like Jenkins.
2. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
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Worthy is considered the top defensive tackle prospect in the country right now. However, it might be worth noting that 2012's class of defensive tackles is not the same as 2011's.
2011 had studs like Nick Fairley, Muhammad Wilkerson and Marcell Dareus who were top-10 talents, along with less talented guys like Corey Liuget who were still great. Worthy is not Fairley; he is not Dareus; he's not even Liuget.
The 2012 defensive tackle class is pretty poor, but because of needs, someone will reach for Jerel Worthy too early in the first round.
While his talent is undeniable, Jerel is not Worthy (get it?) of any higher than a top-25 spot, but he'll probably go in the top 15.
A better move for teams needing a defensive tackle would be to wait until the second or third round to pick up Clemson's Brandon Thompson or Texas's Kheeston Randall. Worthy isn't much better than either of them and they'd provide much better value.
3. Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
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Much like Jerel Worthy, Chapman is definitely talented, but he will end up being a reach because of the high value placed on nose tackles.
With more and more teams switching to a 3-4 defense, nose tackles are in high demand. The Texans need one and both the Steelers and the Chiefs need one to replace aging veterans.
While Washington's Alamada Ta'amu is worth a first-round grade, the drop-off between him and consensus No. 2 NT Chapman is large. Once Ta'amu is off the board, one of the other teams in need of a 0-technique will likely pick Chapman with their next selection or even trade up to acquire him.
Besides, it's easy to look like a great defensive player when you're surrounded by the talent that Alabama has on its defense. Chapman will have a lot of good tape and teams will be misinformed about his talent level.
I don't think Chapman will be a "bust" per se, but his output will never match how high he'll be selected. A better strategy would be to wait and take Memphis's Dontari Poe in the late third or fourth round.
4. Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
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Ryan Lindley was looking like this year's Andy Dalton and San Diego State was expected to be a BCS buster.
Now however, San Diego State has already suffered a big loss to Michigan, where former SDSU head coach Brady Hoke is now coaching. Lindley is only completing a little more than 50 percent of his passes, and that's against the low-level Mountain West competition.
If San Diego State rallies to beat TCU and Air Force (their toughest remaining opponents outside of Boise State), Lindley will get a lot of looks as an early round pick.
However, he is a four-year starter who still has difficulties with accuracy and it is unlikely that he'll ever fix those problems. Teams would do well to stay away from Lindley unless they intend for him to be no more than a backup.
5. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
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Nick Foles is considered a top-five quarterback this year. While I wouldn't necessarily dismiss him as a top-five guy, I would never rank him higher than fifth among this class of quarterbacks.
Foles put up impressive numbers in 2010 and hasn't been bad in 2011 either, but since he came back from a knee injury in 2010, the only game he's won was against FCS opponent Northern Arizona.
Foles is still putting up big numbers (1,872 yards and 14 touchdowns), but he gets to throw the ball to Juron Criner and Dan Buckner, so that isn't too difficult.
Six teams drafted a quarterback in the first two rounds last year and I'd be willing to bet that four teams will do so this season. That's a third of the league that will be playing with a new quarterback.
That means that in 2013, there will be fewer teams that are willing to take a quarterback early on, so a team might benefit from sitting around for a year and taking a top 2013 prospect rather than hoping a second-rounder like Foles works out.
6. Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
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2012's outside linebacker class is talented and deep. Amongst those talented players is Travis Lewis.
Lewis is still riding high from his out-of-this-world freshman performance. He racked up 144 tackles as a true freshman. He was still good in 2009 and 2010, but he's been out most of this season with a broken foot. To make matters worse, Lewis is a prima donna and will be a nightmare in the locker room for whoever drafts him if they pick him high.
A combination of injury, bad attitude and falling production screams "bust" to me. A team looking for a 4-3 outside linebacker would do better to select North Carolina's Zack Brown, TCU's Tank Carder, Kentucky's Danny Trevathan or even Travis Lewis's younger teammate Ronnell Lewis over Travis Lewis.
7. Donte Paige-Moss, OLB/DE, North Carolina
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Donte Paige-Moss is one of many great hybrid defensive end/outside linebackers in the 2012 class.
He started turning heads last season when he started playing in place of the several suspended UNC players. He did not disappoint, garnering 49 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
This year, he started out by losing his starting spot to sophomore Kareem Martin. He got it back, but he only sees limited time on the field as coaches rotate him in with Quinton Coples and Kareem Martin.
With so many great rush linebackers available (Stanford's Shane Skov, Florida State's Brandon Jenkins and South Carolina's Devin Taylor for starters), teams might want to stay away from a player who may look better than he is because of the defensive talent around him.
8. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
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Is Trent Richardson great? Yes.
Is he a better pro prospect than Mark Ingram? Yes.
Is he worth the top-10 pick he's being mocked at? Not even close.
As the NFL leans more and more on the pass, every-down running backs are becoming a thing of the past. Almost every team has a running-back-by-committee approach to the running game now because that's what works.
Minnesota has the best running back in the league and he can do it all—he can run in the open field, power through defenders and catch the ball. Incidentally, the Vikings are 0-4.
Taking any running back in the first 10 picks is a huge reach these days, but that won't stop someone from taking Richardson in the first 10 picks, then regretting it forever.
9. and 10. Georgia's Interior Linemen
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Both guard Cordy Glenn and center Ben Jones were considered second-rounders at the beginning of the season. Their stock took a plummet when the defensive lines of Boise State and South Carolina had their way with the two of them, but the two are starting to rise again.
They've played better recently, but that was against the powerhouse defenses of Coastal Carolina, Mississippi State and Ole Miss (that's sarcasm).
Their stock will rise more since they don't have to play the tough-as-nails defenses of Alabama, Arkansas and LSU, but don't be misled. Florida's tough front seven will beat them again later in the season, but until then they'll continue to be overrated.
When they step up to play the bigger, stronger defensive linemen of the NFL, they'll be exposed.
Also, if anyone could tell me why there are so many pictures online of Ben Jones eating mud, or more specifically, why he's eating mud, I'd be very appreciative.