This list may surprise a lot of you, but I have some simple criteria that I apply:
- Injury history, especially significant injuries.
- Off the field issues (legal, disciplinary, suspensions, drugs, fights, etc.)
- One year wonders.
- Players who need to be motivated.
Those are pretty obvious but each year there are first rounder’s who fall into that category. Not all of them are busts but that increases the odds; and considering how far back the wrong first selection can put your franchise I am amazed that people take so many chances. Not all of the players listed below will turn out to be busts but I would avoid trying to hit a home run with any of these players and take the base.
One last note. I am focusing on projected first round picks. If Joe Smith from Podunk State, who’s a marginal 6th round pick to begin with, has character issues then shame on you for wasting your pick on the stiff to begin with.
Here are five to avoid:
1. Cam Newtown. Unmatched athletically. No question. By my criteria he has two major strikes against him: 1) Only one year as the starter and 2) Off field questions regarding his fathers alleged dealing with recruiters are too specific to not cause concern.
2. Nick Fairley. Another one hit wonder. At times Fairley’s motor has been questioned, which is an automatic no-no for me. Again, it’s not a question of talent. He may be the most talented player in the draft, but I pass. The fact that both Newtown and Fairley come out of the same program makes me suspicious also.
3. Ryan Mallett. If you get the QB pick wrong just put a stake in your franchise for the next 3 years. Look at the Panthers. How many QB’s do they plan on drafting? Mallett has cannon; however, he runs like Nate Newton. Even more troubling, his leadership ability has been questioned and allegations of drug use should send the red flag warning up to all teams.
4. Jake Locker. Seemingly destined to be the top pick in the draft heading into his senior season, the versatile Locker really regressed in 2010. Not only did he have trouble throwing a catchable ball, but he also had trouble telling a Husky from a Bulldog.
5. Rahim Moore. In a year when the safety crop is weak at best, someone will reach for the athletic Moore. The two major concerns about Moore is that he has a slight build which kind of is a problem when you job is to hit people. Oh yeah, and he doesn’t like to tackle. Doesn’t quite sound like Ronnie Lott to me. Throw in the fact that he doesn’t show good instincts and you draft first round talent and a fifth round player.