NFL Rookies Who Will Bust in 2011

J. Matthew nespoli@thebrokenauthorCorrespondent IIJuly 26, 2011

NFL Rookies Who Will Bust in 2011

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    Every NFL offseason, we are subjected to the NFL combine. During this event, it's always inevitable that some no-namer will rise up through the ranks because of an off the charts performance.

    More often than not, these guys turn out to be busts.

    It happens every year.

    JaMarcus Russell went to the NFL combine and threw the ball out of the stadium. The ball, moving at the speed of light, killed two birds in its flight and struck a man in the head in the parking lot outside the stadium, sending him to the hospital with a concussion.

    Al Davis went bananas and drafted the guy with the first pick.

    And we all know how that turned out.

    We've seen GM's and owners make similar mistakes with guys like Ryan Leaf and Vince Young.

    And again, in 2011, we saw more GM's make the same mistakes.

    "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    Wise words that every NFL GM should live by.

    At the NFL combine, they run 40-yard dashes and do bench presses, leg presses and all kinds of other drills.

    What they do not do is line up for a single play from scrimmage.

    I don't care how fast you run a 40-yard dash. If they insist on having this combine, they should at least replicate some game situations.

    Before a draft, I want to see how fast a running back can recognize a hole and hit it.

    Show me how fast a cornerback can back peddle 10 yards and then change direction when needed.

    I don't care if my QB can throw it 80 yards on a rope; show me if he can recognize a blitz and hit the hot route.

    Regardless of my suggestions, and the poor results of drafting based on combine results, NFL teams continue to do it.

    This year, we're bound to see more than a few rookies bust as a result.

    Here's a list of a few whom I think will struggle.

Jordan Cameron, Tight End, 3rd Round, Cleveland Browns

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    Jordan Cameron will be a bust for three reasons:

    No. 1: He played for USC, and their stars are always over-hyped

    No. 2:  Blake Griffin promoted the heck out of this guy, which, for no understandable reason, raised his stock

    No. 3: His stock soared during the combined when he posted the second fastest 40 time for all tight ends at 4.59. He also led tight ends with a 4.03 shuttle time.

    In combine drills, he presented as one of the best pass catchers, and he showed good body control in his breaks.

    What Jordan did not do was perform well at USC. In fact, he barely performed at all.

    In three seasons, he caught only 16 total passes.

    What has he shown NFL GM's, other than being big and fast and being able to catch the ball with nobody  playing defense?

    I could understand taking a seventh round flier on the guy, but a third round pick?

    Seems wasteful to me.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons, 1st Round

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    Julio Jones was drafted way too high, at sixth overall.  He may end up being a decent performer for Atlanta because, lucky for him, he went to an up and coming franchise with a good young QB, a great WR starting opposite of him, a great tight end and a top notch running game.

    With all that in place, Jones should produce a 1,000 yard season...but he won't.

    He ran the 40, at the combine, in 4.39, reportedly with a broken foot.

    And while that is impressive, I don't think it gives much of any indicator of what kind of receiver he will be.

    Julio Jones is big and fast, which are nice qualities for a receiver, but it's not the whole package.

    Jones lacks solid route running skills, good decision making and understanding of the game. His drive has also been called into question.  And without those four things, you can have all the speed and size in the world, and you aren't going to amount to anything in the NFL.

    Jones will have a productive year because of the system he is in; however, I predict he'll cost the Falcons at least one game with mental errors, and that could be all it takes to keep them from winning the division.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, Second Round, 49ers

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    Colin Kaepernick will be a huge bust. The 49ers drafted him in the second round of this year's draft, and there is the possibility they may make him their starting QB.

    Kaepernick shot up the draft board because of his 4.53, 40 time.

    Unless you are Michael Vick, is 40-time for a QB relative?

    Big Ben Rothlisberger did not have an impressive 40, and he is one of the most mobile QB's in the league.  He may not scramble for a lot of yardage, but he's probably the hardest QB to bring down.

    When I'm drafting a QB, here's what I'm looking at, in this order:

    1. accuracy

    2. arm strength

    3. ability to read a defense

    4. intelligence

    5. throwing motion and quick delivery

    6. leadership ability

    7. size

    8. speed.

    For Kaepernick, he has the speed and he has the size. He's got a strong arm, but his accuracy is questionable. He has a poor throwing motion, a slow delivery and his ability to read defenses has not been very good.

    Especially for a team like the 49ers, a West Coast offense, reading defenses may be No. 1 or No. 2 on the list when drafting a QB.

    Kaepernick may have stood a chance going to a team like the Jets, Ravens, Steelers or Eagles, but with the 49ers, he will be a colossal bust.

Tyron Smith, OT, First Round, Dallas Cowboys

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    Tyron Smith was another player who's stock soared at the combine. He was picked ninth, overall, by the Cowboys.

    He ran an extremely fast 4.88, 40 (when does an OT ever run 40 yards), he's got good size (6'5", 310) and he's strong. 

    So why will he be a bust?

    Four reasons:

    1. He can't pick up a blitz.  Watch him at USC. I did; I'm a huge SC fan. He missed the blitz time and again. And picking up the blitz is the most important thing an OT does. If you can't sniff it out and hit the right guy, then you're offense is going nowhere in the NFL on 3rd down, and James Harrison is going to eat your quarterback.

    2. He's from USC, and again, their players, in recent years, have been drafted higher than they should've been, as evidenced by their performance in the NFL.

    3. He was picked by the Cowboys. The Cowboys are going to find themselves in a lot of 3rd and longs because their running game is going to be average at best. They need an OT who won't have any blitz issues.

    4. He is injury prone.

    Tyron may end up being a solid starter, but he is not worthy of a No. 9 overall pick. Those guys should be Pro Bowlers; Tyron will not be.

Robert Quinn, Defensive End, First Round, St. Louis Rams.

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    Robert Quinn was taken with the 14th overall pick in the 2011 draft, by the St. Louis Rams.

    Quinn did not play football in 2010.


    He was suspended for taking money from an agent.

    Then, Quinn shows up at the combine and puts his athleticism on display, wowing the meat-head GM's of the NFL who get dizzy with excitement when they see a big, strong, fast man running around with his shirt off.

    Quinn is 6'4", 265 and quick. He looks mean and he runs smoothly, and I can understand why GM's got excited.

    However, the dude is an idiot, and he's proven this. He's a guy of poor character, no brains and he's got a history of injuries.

    And regardless of all that stuff, you can't take a guy who didn't play football for an entire year and make him your first round pick.

    That's just not a smart move.