The Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to a player that was selected in the fourth round, 135th overall pick of this draft. That is how much talent was in this draft, that no one knew. The league leading rusher and the second place running back in yards were both selected in this draft. And the 9th in receiving yards this season, was from this NFL draft. The #1 pick in this NFL draft, started only 7 games.
This draft didn’t seem to have a lot of depth, but once the season came, many people were shocked. Rookies were the stars of the season, dominating against veterans that have been in the league for years.
This draft will affect many drafts in the future for fans, reporters, and teams. This draft showed that even a guy drafted in the fourth round, can make an immediate impact. The 2016 NFL Draft and the outcomes of the players made fans and teams so excited for this past draft. Knowing that players in the later rounds can shine too gives everyone more of a reason to pay attention even to the guys drafted on the last day.
Along with the stars of the draft, there are many players that already seem to be busts or will be looked back at as a bust. Players drafted in the early rounds have very high expectations, and many players don’t meet those expectations. The NFL is a different ball game, and that is why many players don’t succeed due to the inability to transition to the league.
Here are the 8 2016 Draft Picks That Look Like Busts and 8 Draft Replacements For Those Players:
16 Bust: Robert Nkemdiche - Arizona Cardinals
Picked: 29th overall
Robert Nkemdiche was selected in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals. In 2014, the Cardinals ranked as one of the bottom half teams in sacks for the 2015 season. This making defensive end an obvious choice for the Cardinals. Even after drafting Nkemdiche, the Cardinals could not fix their problem. They went up three spots on the sacks list, but still ranked 20th in the league.
First round picks are supposed to help a team immediately. Unfortunately, Nkemdiche did not have the impact on his team that the Cardinals expected. In the 2016 season, he played 5 games recording not one tackle. For the Cardinals, it is very disappointing to use such a high draft pick on a player who could not even get their first tackle in their rookie season. With that being said, Nkemdiche seems like a bust. He was not able to perform up to first round standards, and because of that the Cardinals would have been better with a different selection.
15 Replacement: Emmanuel Ogbah - Cleveland Browns
It’s very rare to hear that a Cleveland Brown would be a good replacement for any player on any team, but with very poor play by Nkemdiche, it makes it easy to decide that Emmanuel Ogbah is a good replacement for the rookie from the University of Mississippi. The rookie from Nigeria was originally selected by the Browns as the first draft pick of the second round.
Ogbah played a decent year with the Browns finishing the season with 5.5 sacks and a total of 28 tackles. Compared to a first round pick with 0 tackles, Ogbah is a much better pick for a team in need of sacks. Ogbah would help improve the Cardinals defensive line and provide a scary nightmare having Ogbah on one side and Calais Campbell on the other.
Ogbah has an eye for the football, and seems to always be looking to make a big play. He has the ability to play both against the run and the pass and make an impact. Ogbah may be one of the more underrated rookie defensive lineman, as Ogbah could be a problem for AFC North quarterbacks in the future. For the Cardinals, 5.5 sacks would help a lot better than zero.
14 Bust: Roberto Aguayo - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Picked: 59th overall
Robert Aguayo was known to be one of the best college football kickers fans have seen in years. Aguayo finished his career at Florida State University with an 88.5 field goal percentage and finishing perfect in extra points. Aguayo was very at Florida State, but this pick turned some heads. Second round draft picks are important picks that a lot of times are expected to start immediately. As important as the kicker position can be to the sport, there are many other positions in the league that are more important. Especially with free agent kickers always floating around the NFL, there usually isn’t a need to draft a kicker.
Aguayo was rated a third-round talent going into this draft. The 2016 season, definitely proved he wasn't worth even that. Aguayo finished the season with a 71.0% field goals made during the year. The Buccaneers finished 23rd in the league in kicking after finishing 11th the season before. Aguayo is the highest drafted kicker in NFL history, but unfortunately could not live up to expectations.
13 Replacement: Jordan Howard - Chicago Bears
One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 NFL Draft, and no one even realized it was a surprise until mid-season when fans and reporters saw Howard climbing to the top of the rushing yards list. Jordan Howard was drafted in the 5th round of the NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears got a steal landing Jordan Howard, who finished second in the league in rushing in 2016 behind rook Ezekiel Elliott. Howard finished the season with 1,313 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Doug Martin had a great season in 2015, but has had a serious problem with injuries in the past. Only having two seasons where he rushed over 1,000 yards, it still would have been a better draft pick for the Bucs to stay safe and grab an extra running back. As more and more teams are developing a team of running backs, Howard could have help take the load off of Martin and added depth at the running back position. The Bucs would have gotten a backup plan, which would have worked due to the injury to Doug Martin in 2016. It may have not been the biggest need, but looking towards the future, grabbing running backs during drafts are always a good idea to help have a backup plan and help around the team.
12 Bust: Shaq Lawson - Buffalo Bills
Picked: 19th overall
Here comes another first round draft bust. Shaq Lawson was selected #19 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Lawson finished a dominant season at Clemson finishing with 12.5 sacks and 59 total tackles. Lawson played extremely aggressive at Clemson, making the highlights reels week after week.
Unfortunately, the highlight reels ended for him when he landed in the NFL. Lawson finished the season with two sacks and 13 total tackles. Only playing 10 games, it is disappointing for Bills fans to see their first-round draft pick not succeed. However, the Bills still managed to improve a lot in the 2016 season with the help of Lorenzo Alexander, Jerry Hughes, and Kyle Williams. Although Bills fans may be happy that they fixed their pass rush problem, they may be upset to know that their first-round draft pick could not help in the efforts against the pass rush. With the Patriots dominating the AFC East throughout the past century, the Bills would like to take back their pick and draft a player that may have more of an impact on their team.
11 Replacement: Sterling Shepard - New York Giants
Tyrod Taylor trying to keep his position at quarterback of the Bills, would love the addition of Sterling Shepard. Shepard coming out of Oklahoma was drafted by the New York Giants. Shepard finished the 2016 campaign with 8 touchdowns and 683 receiving yards. The addition of Shepard would help a team that has been in the bottom five of receiving the past two years. With the disappointment of Percy Harvin, the Bills need a man that can take the pressure off of Taylor and Sammy Watkins.
Shepard played a great rookie season with the Giants playing as the 3rd receiver on the team, behind Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. The damage Shepard could do to defenses would only increase getting more playing time and having a bigger role. Sterling Shepard is a future great receiver in the league, that would have been a much better draft pick than Shaq Lawson.
10 Bust: Darron Lee - New York Jets
Picked: 20th overall
A player from The Ohio State already looking like a bust? Not something you hear every day. The Ohio State linebacker a total of 146 tackles, 11 sacks, and 3 interceptions during his two-year college career. With such a great two years at Ohio State, the New York Jets selected Lee with high hopes for him as a linebacker in the NFL.
Throughout his rookie season, he combined for 73 tackles, which isn’t too bad. The problem was, he only accumulated for one sack and no interceptions. Quarterbacks had a 132.9 passing rating against Lee while he was in coverage. Lee did not seem as dominant as many would have expected. A player selected in the first round is supposed to stand out, but for Lee, he played as a below average player. With all the struggles the Jets have been facing, they would have liked to pick a player that would help benefit their future.
9 Replacement: Noah Spence - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a steal in this draft with Noah Spence in the second round. As a second-round player, you’re expected to perform, but usually not to the ability of a first rounder. You are expected to make an impact if you play, and help the future. That is exactly what Spence did. He finished the season with 5.5 sacks and 22 combined tackles.
The tackles number may seem low, but in 2016, Spence only started three games throughout the season.
Noah Spence has the ability to become one of the most explosive defensive ends in the league. He has the speed to come around the corner and beat offensive tackles. The speed he has gives him an immediate advantage against slower offensive lineman. Spence may still be a work in progress, but has a bright future. The Jets would have loved to add Spence after finishing the 2015 campaign with only 22 sacks.
8 Bust: William Jackson III - Cincinnati Bengals
Picked: 24th overall
Injuries are a huge part of the game, and unfortunately can completely ruin someone’s professional sports career. It may be unfair to call a player a bust that hasn’t touched the field, but having to adjust from college to the NFL and overcome an injury, it’s tough. For William Jackson III, his career doesn’t seem promising as a week before the season opener he suffered a torn pectoral and missed his whole rookie season.
When watching tape of the cornerback from the University of Houston, it always seemed that his highlights came from poor throws or drops. Unfortunately, in the NFL, that stuff doesn’t happen as much. There may not be many statistics to back up Jackson III, but from past experiences, many players who get hurt to start their career usually have problems throughout their career. Injuries are tough to deal with, but a rookie injury will lead the Bengals to be disappointed with their first round pick.
7 Replacement: Michael Thomas - New Orleans Saints
Andy Dalton needs more than just A.J. Green to help spread this offense and dominant defenses. In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bengals ended up actually filling the much-needed wide receiver spot. In the 2016 NFL Draft, it would have also been great to pick up a wide receiver to help compete for another AFC North Championship.
Michael Thomas was selected in the second round by the New Orleans Saints. Having Dree Brees as a quarterback, Thomas had a very good rookie campaign. Thomas finished his rookie season with 9 touchdowns and 1,137 receiving yards.
Michael Thomas could have helped taken this Bengals offense to the next level, giving Andy Dalton another weapon to throw to. In the NFL, it is hard to accomplish anything with just one great receiver, teams need many weapons around the offense to throw the ball around to. Michael Thomas would have eased the pressure on A.J. Green and helped add some pressure to himself. This may help release double teams on Green, eventually allowing Dalton to spread the ball out more on the field.
6 Bust: Josh Docston - Washington Redskins
Picked: 22nd overall
Like William Jackson III, Josh Doctson faces an Achilles problem that kept him from playing most of his rookie season. A rookie player to have multiple Achilles problems, does not seem good for the future of the young man.
Doctson was taken in the first round by the Washington Redskins in hope that Kirk Cousins would get another playmaker on the outside. Unfortunately, Doctson only put up two catches for 66 yards. In a game against the Dallas Cowboys, Doctson did have a 57-yard reception. However, he was targeted four other times in that game where he was not able to make the play.
As Doctson may have seemed impressive, injuries are always hard to get over, and Achilles injuries are tough especially for a position like wide receiver. All fans can do is hope the best for Doctson, but so far, Josh Docston seems like a draft bust.
5 Replacement: Tyreek Hill - Kansas City Chiefs
Day three of the 2016 NFL Draft came and went. Some fans watched, many stopped paying attention after the completion of the second day. The last few rounds didn’t matter to many, as they don’t make an impact, right? Wrong. Tyreek Hill was selected in round five as the #165 overall pick. Hill is a wide receiver that can play in the slot, special teams, and in the back field. That’s what made this young man so dynamic and so exciting to watch during the 2016 season. Throughout the season, Hill had a total of 12 touchdowns by playing multiple different positions. For many players, it’s tough to learn more than one position, Hill had no problem playing all around the field and dominating at it too. Hill would have been the perfect fit for the Washington Redskins.
With a team coming off a season without a 1,000-yard receiver, they would’ve loved to have Hill running around in the slot making plays. His speed makes it tougher on defensive coordinators having to have defensive backs line up on Hill opposed to linebackers. Hill’s presence would have helped have an effect on other teams that force them to be ready for any type of play. Also with Kirk Cousins as the quarterback, this would have been the perfect situation for both the Washington Redskins and Tyreek Hill.
4 Bust: Christian Hackenberg - New York Jets
Picked: 51st overall
Many say that you can’t claim a player to be a bust without proving themselves, but this situation seems like it could change things up. For what may now be known as the worst team in football, the second-round pick is still the back-up quarterback of the team. The New York Jets have had problems at almost every position on their team, and they still did not give their second round pick a shot at playing a game in the 2016 season.
Hackenberg did get some playing time in the preseason, and that is what may consider him a bust. In a preseason game against the Eagles, Hackenberg went 11 for 31 for 54 yards and one interception. Many would consider this performance horrendous. Hackenberg may not have that much help around him on a depleted New York Jets team, but that outing was awful. The Jets would love to go back in time and reconsider their selection on day two.
3 Replacement: Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys
The storyline of the 2016 season, Dak Prescott. Quarterback from Mississippi State, drafted as the #135 overall draft pick. Many will ask why so many teams passed up on Prescott, and many teams should do their homework better as they missed out on a future star of the league.
Dak Prescott came in to the starting quarterback role after both Tony Romo and Kellen Moore were injured before the start of the season. Dak was nothing short of greatness in his rookie campaign. He threw for 23 touchdowns and 3,667 yards, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Dak gave Cowboy fans something to get excited about, as his talent and poise helped the Cowboys go 13-3 and reaching back to the playoffs. Prescott would have been the perfect pick for the Jets. A lot of Prescott’s success may have come from his teammates, but his ability to stay focused and avoid distractions makes it his destiny to be successful in this league. If the New York Jets would have picked up Dak Prescott and put some weapons around him, Jets fans would have a reason to get excited about as the rising star could have been in green and white.
2 Bust: Jared Goff - Los Angeles Rams
We get it that Jared Goff came into a bad situation, playing his first NFL game mid-way through the season against the Miami Dolphins. We get it that Goff doesn’t have the best talent around him. We get it that many other players may not have cared to succeed at the end of the season after already being eliminated from playoff contention.
Bu there’s one thing, Jared Goff was the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Anything short of immediate success, is considered a failure. In his first season, he finished with throwing 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, not winning one football game that he played in.
The Los Angeles Rams were ranked 31st in passing in the NFL, even with selecting a quarterback as the top overall draft pick. There are not many excuses for Goff. Many may say that he needs time to develop, which is true, but when you have quarterbacks around the league that are already succeeding, people are going to start talking.
With a draft where rookies had so much success, it is sad that the #1 overall pick threw for more interceptions than touchdowns. It’s sad that Goff couldn’t get one win as a Ram in his first season. But the season moves on, and unfortunately the Rams will see a future where Goff is no longer season as an opportunity as a franchise quarterback.
1 Replacement: Carson Wentz - Philadelphia Eagles
In this first three games of the 2016 NFL season, Carson Wentz made fans believe that the Eagles for sure would be a playoff contender. Throwing for five touchdown passes, zero interceptions, and winning three games straight. Many fans were excited to see Wentz performing at a high level to start a season. What may have intrigued many people about Carson Wentz was in Week 3 when Carson Wentz and the Eagles blew out the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3. That game Wentz threw for two touchdown passes and 301 yards.
The winning eventually stopped for the Eagles, but the high level of quarterback play continued throughout Wentz’s rookie season. Wentz topped off his rook campaign with 16 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 3,782 yards.
With Wentz on the field, the Eagles always had a chance to win. Many games came very short with the Eagles losing including a loss to the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.
Wentz proved that he is one of the future stars of the NFL, and that he deserved to be the #1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Wentz has ability to make plays in the air as well as on the ground. Wentz may need to improve in certain areas, but is definitely set up for success in his future. The Los Angeles Rams may bite their nails the next few years while watching Goff fail, and Carson Wentz succeed.