It’s never nice to predict which of these kids will become a “bust.” It’s a harsh title to bequeath upon a youngster who has his entire future/career ahead of him, BUT – it happens. Some are noticeably horrendous like Jamarcus Russell, while others suffer injuries and personal setbacks like Brian Bosworth. Whatever happens in the future, let’s just make it clear – I’m not wishing for the worse, just predicting it.
DeForest Buckner, DE,49ers, Seventh Overall Pick:
This isn’t even Buckner’s fault as much as it where he came from (Oregon) and where he landed (San Francisco). There are only two names that come to mind when one thinks of successful Oregon Ducks selected in the first round, Haloti Ngata and Kyle Long (and Long, at the time, was a real reach for Chicago in the first round. . .). Dion Jordan proved to be a bust in Miami and the 49ers drafted Arik Armstead out of Oregon last year . . . it’s apparent they were so impressed by Armstead’s mediocrity that they decided to roll the dice on another Oregon Duck in DeForest Buckner. Buckner is a “stiff” player with very little fluidity in his game. He lacks that aggressive nature you’d want from the edge and his instincts are a second too slow or just wrong altogether. His potential will rot away on a team that is currently a sinking ship.
Eli Apple, CB, New York Giants, Tenth Pick Overall:
The Giants appeared to be a mess on the first day of the draft. They acted as if they didn’t have time to plan, or the date just “snuck up on them.” The Bears jumped in front of the Giants and took OLB Leonard Floyd from Georgia, who was someone the Giants had their eyes on and then something weird happened. The Giants decided to draft a corner back and instead of going for Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, they went with Ohio State’s Eli Apple. I get it, from a public relations standpoint it’s cute to say things like “Another Eli in the Big Apple” but in the football world, this was a confusing pick. Eli Apple was second-team all conference. He plays in the Big Ten. He went up against maybe 3 good quarterbacks all year and plays on one of the best defensive units in college football. . . and with all that, this first round pick was “second-team” all conference. He has slow reaction times, and gets beat a lot. He’ll have his hands full with the Redskins and Cowboys receiving cores — he’ll even struggle with the likes of Jordan Matthews of Philadelphia. This is a situation where the Giants went for need and not best player available. Although the best player available was probably Vernon Hargreaves who plays the same position. There is a good chance that on the night of the draft, general manager Jerry Reese was drunk.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams, First Pick Overall:
First pick overall Jared Goff has some interesting foot-notes on his resume: In the 2015 season he struggled against Washington, struggled against USC and looked pitiful against Utah. What do those three teams have in common? They all have athletic, talented defenses with NFL-ready guys on them. Something else that hits a nerve when looking at Goff’s resume – he never beat Stanford. Now, I’m far from the guy who puts wins and losses on a quarterback, but the bottom line is, Stanford is a very blue collar and aggressive team – and he couldn’t figure them out. He holds the ball for too long if you watch his tape; and he benefited from the world of college football where you can zip a pass right off the snap from the shotgun/pistol. He has “the look”, has the strong arm and talks a good game but the Rams didn’t draft their franchise quarterback this time around. They drafted a guy who can “fill in” at best – until a better option comes along. Having Todd Gurley in the backfield should help him out, but teams are going to stack the box all year and force him to come out from under center and deliver passes to, what is, a below average receiving core in Los Angeles. Truth be told, his best option may be fellow rookie Tyler Higabee out of Western Kentucky – but he’s a rookie, who’s off the field decision making is a huge question and will have to prove himself against veteran tight end Lance Hendricks.
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