Five 2012 NFL Draft Early First-Round Disappointments
Five 2012 First-Rounders Who Have Disappointed So Far
As is expected with every single NFL draft class, there are going to be a few early disappointments that come out of the first round.
Whether they’re clear-cut busts or players who seemingly catch on at a slower pace than the rest of their peers, there is always going to be a group of youngsters each year who struggle to adjust to the jump in competition. That, however, is the risk that every NFL team takes when it spends a high-round pick on a college star.
So while several of the 2012 NFL Draft’s top picks are thriving under the league’s bright lights, others are yielding little results for their respective teams. Whether it’s due to injuries or a lack of opportunities to see the field, these first-year players have had a tough time making that critical adjustment to the reality that is the NFL.
Unfortunately for many of these struggling youngsters, that first year in the NFL can make or break a career. As the letdowns pile up throughout the season, confidence wanes and talent begins to dwindle. Although rookie hardships tend to effect quarterbacks the most, any player at any position can feel the negative effects of a slow start.
Here’s a breakdown of the five 2012 first-round picks who have been the biggest disappointments through the early part of the NFL regular season. And for those of you wondering where they are, New York Giants running back David Wilson and Houston Texans defensive end Whitney Mercilus narrowly missed making the list.
5. Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Cincinnati Bengals
When the Cincinnati Bengals used the No. 17 overall pick to take Dre Kirkpatrick, it was assumed that the former Alabama star would immediately upgrade their secondary. That, however, hasn’t been the case as a knee injury has kept Kirkpatrick sidelined for the first part of the 2012 campaign. The young cornerback just began practicing with the team a week and a half ago, but is already getting reps with the first-team defense. Not expected to play until Week 9, Kirkpatrick has been quite a disappointment for a first-round pick.
4. A.J. Jenkins, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Even the San Francisco 49ers were surprised when A.J. Jenkins’ name was called with the No. 30 pick this past April. A definite reach in the first round, the former Illinois standout immediately struggled to adjust to the speed and complexity of the NFL game. Throughout training camp and the preseason, Jenkins had issues with drops and playbook knowledge. Now that the regular season is under way, Jenkins has yet to see the field as he remains buried on the depth chart. Typically, first-round picks aren’t supposed to be long-term projects.
3. Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Detroit Lions
It seemed like a steal when Riley Reiff, one of the 2012 class’ best blockers, dropped all the way down to the Detroit Lions at No. 23. If only they would have known that Reiff would have been a nonfactor through the first part of the 2012 season. So far, the dominant tackle has seen a few random snaps while failing to assert himself as a significant presence along the Lions offensive line. With the way his rookie season is going, it could be quite a while before Reiff finds a role in Detroit.
2. Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals knew coming into the draft that Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd came with some baggage. They also assumed that playing alongside future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald would set the youngster straight. Unfortunately, Floyd hasn’t given the Cardinals the return they were hoping for when they drafted him at No. 13. Despite some playing time, he has made a minimal impact and is buried on a depth chart that consists of no-name players. For how much talent he possesses, Floyd has been a huge disappointment so far.
1. Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs had big things in mind when they spent the No. 11 overall pick on Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. After seeing the phenomenal performance that he put on during the 2012 NFL Combine, the Chiefs assumed that Poe would make an instant impact. Some critics, however, called him a workout warrior whose numbers wouldn’t translate to on-field production; they were right. So far, Poe has been a non-factor for the Chiefs. When he’s seen the field, Poe has looked average at best and is currently believed to be the third-best nose tackle on the team. That’s pathetic for the No. 11 pick.