This article is not declaring teams’ draft classes as busts with just a one-season sample size, but merely evaluating which teams received the least immediate impact in 2012. As the 2013 NFL Draft approaches, let’s take a look at the squads that got the least out of their rookie draft class during last regular season.
Denver Broncos: John Elway traded down twice to pick up extra picks and move from 25th overall to 36th overall before selecting defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, who would go on to finish 54th of 62 qualifying ends according to Pro Football Focus grading. Brock Osweiler (second round) waits in the wings behind Peyton Manning while Ronnie Hillman (third) was kept to backup duties even when the other option was Knowshon Moreno.
More NFL Draft at Rant Sports: I analyzed which teams got the most and least out of their draft classes from 2012 (most, least), 2011 (most, least), 2010 (most, least) and 2009 (most, least), along with the kings of the draft over that span.
New Orleans Saints: With their first-round pick traded to the New England Patriots and their second-rounder forfeited by Bountygate, the Saints front office didn’t have a ton to work with and didn’t find instant contributors in later rounds. The result: Only defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (third) and defensive back Corey White (fifth) took snaps last year, combining for less than the average starter.
Houston Texans: Top pick Whitney Mercilus played in every game last season and started four, but has yet to consistently impress. The edge rusher ranked 29th out of 34 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers last year. Multiple receiver and offensive line selections failed to fill other weak spots on the Texans.
Atlanta Falcons: Thomas Dimitroff is beginning to look (even more) savvy thanks to the Julio Jones trade, but it cost them last April’s first- and fourth-rounders among the deal’s five picks sent to the Cleveland Browns. Only right guard Peter Konz made a significant impact, but struggled in transitioning from his college position at center. Offensive tackle Lamar Holmes only took seven snaps in 2012, but the release of right tackle Tyson Clabo could imply that the Falcons think Holmes has shown them enough to take over.
More NFL Draft at Rant Sports: I analyzed which teams got the most and least out of their draft classes from 2011 (most, least), 2010 (most, least) and 2009 (most, least), along with the kings of the draft over that span.