By Brian Kalchik @BrianKalchik on May 16, 2014
Every year, teams hope that most of their top draft choices become quality or star players, but in some cases, these highly touted players just don't pan out. Last year, players like Dee Milliner and Dion Jordan were highly touted top-10 picks who became disappointments. While these players have this year to redeem themselves, the 2014 rookie class will produce the same number of disappointing players. Here are the 10 likeliest to disappoint.
While Anthony Barr may have the most upside of any player in this year's draft, he is also one of the rawest prospects. With just two years at defensive end under his belt, the former UCLA Bruin can expect a steep learning curve this upcoming season. Barr will also be stuck behind a deep defensive end unit in Minnesota with Everson Griffen, Brian Robison and Corey Wooton in the fold.
While I fully expect Watkins to have a successful career, I think he will struggle as a rookie. After the Bills traded up for Watkins, the team traded the only proven veteran receiver on the roster in Stevie Johnson to the 49ers. Not only will Watkins be asked to learn the system without any veterans like Johnson, but Watkins will be catching passes from second-year QB E.J. Manuel, who couldn't stay healthy last season and is injury prone.
This is not an indictment toward Fuller, as again I think he will be a quality player in the NFL, but Fuller is the third corner right now. Fuller is stuck behind proven veterans like Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, who have both made Pro Bowls in the past. Fuller could see some action this year, but learning from both Tillman and Jennings will help the young corner once he replaces one or both of them eventually.
Given the depth of the Denver Broncos' receiving corps, even without Eric Decker, I don't expect Latimer to see much action this year. Latimer does have probably the most upside of any receiver in this year's draft, but playing with QB Peyton Manning requires not making any rookie mistakes.
The Panthers got a steal in the second round when they selected Kony Ealy, but the Panthers are so stacked at the position that Ealy won't contribute much his rookie year. Ealy sits behind All-Pros Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, as well as solid backups in Mario Addison and Frank Alexander. Ealy may get some opportunities if Hardy gets suspended after his most recent off-field incident.
Second-Round pick Cyrus Kouandjio will most likely start at right tackle this season, but given his injury history, I can't be sold on him being a productive player in his rookie campaign. While it is clear that Kouandjio is way better than Erik Pears, the knee issue and his struggles in the Sugar Bowl give me reservations about his production this year.
The Chiefs drafted Dee Ford with their No. 1 pick to have an insurance policy in case either Justin Houston or Tamba Hali would get hurt for a significant time, but Ford might not get many opportunities his first year. With a full off-season to recover, Houston and Hali will get back to form and while Ford is a solid pass rusher, he was a one-year wonder at Auburn and could afford to sit awhile.
Much like Dre Kirkpatrick in 2011, I could see a situation where Dennard wouldn't see much action because of the players ahead of him. The Bengals have three solid corners in Terence Newman, Leon Hall and Adam Jones as well as Kirkpatrick. It isn't a guarantee that Dennard would be a starter right away.
A lot of things could happen next year for Johnny Manziel. For starters, there is no guarantee that Manziel will be the starter in week one as he has to beat out Brian Hoyer. Secondly, Manziel's dynamic running ability, while effective, has led to injuries to him and durability issues have plagued Manziel. Finally, Manziel would be better off sitting at least half the season to acclimate to the speed of the game.
Again, this is nothing against a certain draft prospect, but for Taylor Lewan, he was drafted to a team that already had two solid tackles. Both Michael Roos and Michael Oher are solid offensive tackles and unless the Titans move Lewan inside to guard, the former Michigan Wolverine will have to beat out either Roos or Oher to start, which wouldn't be a guarantee.
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