Top 10 Busts of the 2013 NFL Draft
Top 10 Busts of the 2013 NFL Draft
The important caveat here is that rookies who look a bust in Week 15 could become late bloomers by the following December. Here's to hoping all the rough edges in their game are smoothed out over long and prolific careers.
However, it's silly to ignore nearly an entire regular season of evidence in evaluating how these young players are performing thus far. "Bust" in this sense isn't simply picking the 10 poorest performing rookies but instead measure what is expected, or even hoped for them, as far as immediate gains and comparing this to their rookie-season reality.
As Sheldon Richardson piled into the end zone and Star Lotulelei plowed through the trenches in the same game yesterday, we saw the heights of positive impact rookies can strike right off the bat. It's certainly much easier to do it as an interior lineman surrounded by elite talent on the defensive front, as opposed to EJ Manuel and Geno Smith hoping their one or two decent receivers stay healthy some of the time, and that will be accounted for. These two raw rookie quarterbacks were thrown into a pit of fire very quickly and have looked the part yet does that deserve the bust label?
Read through for the the top 10 busts of the 2013 NFL draft, through the admittedly small sample size of 15 weeks in the 2013 regular season. Again, this is not a projection of them as a bust but a reflection on their play compared to their overall pick number in the draft, position and immediate expectations.
Eric Fisher, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs' botched trade with Miami meant capable starting left tackle Branden Albert stuck around and Eric Fisherwould get his feet wet at right tackle. Alex Smith's blindside has certainly benefited while the right edge appears very green. Fisher has ranked around the bottom-10 in Pro Football Focus' offensive tackle grading, which is not what you typically see from an OT in Andy Reid's scheme..
Datone Jones, Green Bay Packers
Jones (26th overall pick) joins linemate B.J. Raji in the bottom-five of PFF's 3-4 end grades. If one of these two don't step up for this roadkill run unit then not even Aaron Rodgers is assured to save them. And Jones still needs to earn enough snaps to do so.
Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns
Mingo (sixth overall pick) ranks third from the bottom in PFF 3-4 outside backer grading as Cleveland's struggling pass rush has kept this defense from becoming elite. Mingo and Paul Kruger are two additions that needed to come through in that regard but have not for the most part in 2013.
Jon Bostic, Chicago Bears
Bostic (50th overall pick) will be the lowest-drafted selection on this list and it's almost unfair to expect one rookie inside linebacker to seriously alter what may be the worst run defense we've ever seen. However, it's one thing to get run over by Dallas until they relent, but when Cleveland's taking advantage of you on the ground it's hard to excuse.
Dee Milliner, New York Jets
Milliner (ninth overall pick) has been benched more than Geno Smith yet doesn't have miserable passing options to point to. Though his surrounding mates in the secondary might be just as bad, which make his benchings all the more brutal.
Bjoern Werner, Indianapolis Colts
Robert Mathis has officially seized throne as king of the strip-sack and it's all the more incredible given how nonexistent the threat of pass rush is across from him. In GM Ryan Grigson's defense, Werner (24th overall pick) was drafted to be that guy at outside linebacker and has dealt with injuries.
Sylvester Williams, Denver Broncos
The Broncos desperately need Williams (28th overall pick) to step up now that starting defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson's out. The most underrated part of this Broncos team has been their run defense and Williams has a great chance to more than salvage a poor rookie year.
Darius Slay, Detroit Lions
Detroit has whiffed on cornerbacks for so many years that it would be so brutal if Slay (36th overall pick) is the latest. Most of the pieces are in place on defense, and waiting on the Lions' oft-burner corner spot. No pressure.
D.J. Hayden, Oakland Raiders
I hate to pile on a guy with an incredible comeback story and a brutally early end to rookie season. However, the Raiders boasted a top-3 selection heading into draft day, traded down and still have not cashed in with a great bet to be a quality young cornerback. Hopefully Hayden (12th overall pick) returns healthy in 2014 and becomes that, as Oakland's defense desperately seeks it.
Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers
No one thought Jones (17th overall pick) would replace the peak James Harrison on day one, but holding PFF's second-worst pass-rush productivity of 3-4 outside linebackers leaves him on a far shore from that place.