We are now about halfway into the NFL season and there have been tons of surprises. Injuries have plagued the league as we have lost some of the biggest names for the season. Free agency can work out well for teams at times or can be an absolute disaster (looking at you 2011 Eagles). Some teams like the Packers rarely make any big signings, but always seem to be successful (provided Aaron Rodgers is healthy). That can be accredited to good drafting. On the other hand, you have teams who continuously fail in drafts. Sorry Cleveland fans, at least you have LeBron right?
One thing we all tend to do is judge players harshly sooner than we should. This is true of big free agents not producing for their new teams or big name rookies that haven’t translated to the NFL smoothly. Now, half a season is not nearly enough time to judge a guy, right? Wrong! Six minutes is! If we don’t like the tie he wears at his introduction presser or something he tweeted when he was 17 then we immediately write him off. Here are eight free agent signings and seven draft picks from this year that already look like busts.
15 Free Agent: Mike Glennon
The former third round pick was signed by the Bears on a three year deal worth $45 million this season prior to drafting Mitchell Trubisky 2nd overall. The idea behind this was that Glennon would play the 2017 season to give Trubisky time to develop. No one was expecting Glennon to be in MVP talks, but through four games Glennon was atrocious. He threw for just 833 yards. The stat that sticks out, however, was the pitiful 6 yards per attempt.
Granted, the supporting cast in Chicago isn’t ideal for any quarterback, let alone an average at best one like him. The Bears benched Glennon in favor of their rookie far earlier than they planned. With the money involved in this contract, this has been one of the bigger free agency busts.
14 Draft Pick: Adoree' Jackson
The Titans selected Jackson 18th overall in the 2017 NFL draft. He showed off ridiculous athleticism during his collegiate career at USC. He was viewed as a prospect with a very high ceiling, but sure to stumble upon some rough patches along the way. This has been true for the most part thus far. He has had an up and down season. He has made some nice special teams plays, but has ultimately struggled in pass coverage with coverage break downs and penalties. The Titans pass defense ranks toward the bottom and that shouldn’t be the case after selecting a corner in the first round. Injuries to the Titans' secondary forced Jackson to take on a bigger role than expected, but drafting a corner that high in the first round usually is supposed to mean he's ready to start.
13 Free Agent: Stephon Gilmore
Gilmore was the top corner available and the Patriots were the team to end up snagging him. Initially, it looked like the Pats were on their way to a perfect season with the additions they made. Well it took no longer than opening night for that to be proved wrong. The Kansas City Chiefs came to Foxborough and dominated the defending champs. Kareem Hunt became a star, Alex Smith was dropping bombs, and the Patriots defense gave up the most points in the Belechick era. Gilmore has struggled thus far to adjust to a new scheme and the $65 million the Pats are paying him isn’t looking like such a hot deal so far. There's still time for him to turn it around, but clearly, the Pats expected more.
12 Draft Pick: DeShone Kizer
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Cleveland Browns look to have missed on another quarterback selection. Kizer should have stayed at Notre Dame another year, period. He needed more reps and big time game experience before making the leap to the NFL. How was we rewarded for leaving school early? He was selected in the second round by the worst franchise in the NFL. Combing a not ready quarterback with a terrible team is just asking for problems. Sure enough Kizer has not enjoyed a good start and has even been benched for Kevin Hogan once. Through 5 games, Kizer has a pedestrian 50.9 completion percentage to go with only three touchdowns and nine picks. Browns fans are watching the other Deshaun, Watson, take the league by storm for the Texans and continue to wonder when they’ll find a franchise quarterback.
11 Free Agent: Adrian Peterson
This was it. AP finally had a viable quarterback. There was no way teams could stack the box on him anymore. He was going to rush for 2,000 yards once again in 2017. Well, unfortunately none of that happened. The Saints backfield was simply too crowded with established veteran Mark Ingram and new rookie phenom Alvin Kamara. AP is the type of ball carrier that needs 15 or so carries to get going. However, he never received more than nine in a game and had no more than 33 yards.
He has been traded to the Cardinals where he hopes he can get back to his old ways. He came up a hair shy of 2,000 yards with Drew Brees and company as he ended his Saints career with 21 attempts for 81 yards.
10 Draft Pick: Jonathan Allen
The Washington Redskins selected the former Alabama star 17th overall in the draft. Once upon a time, Allen was viewed as the most dominating defensive linemen in the draft and a for sure top 10 pick. However, a concerning knee issue caused him to fall a bit on some teams’ boards. It seemed like the Redskins got great value on a talented player when they decided 17th overall was a big enough slide for him and grabbed him. He has had a couple nagging injuries thus far, but has stayed on the field. His numbers are nothing spectacular though, and he's yet to really stand out in Washington's front seven. Hopefully Allen can stay healthy and begin to produce more, but for now he seems a little questionable to live up to expectations.
9 Free Agent: Brandon Marshall
This signing was similar to the AP deal. With Odell Beckham already being a threat to score every time he touches the ball, the addition of Marshall was supposed to make the Giants offense unstoppable through the air. The New York Giants have instead been the most disappointing team this season. Now this entirely fall on the shoulders of Marshall obviously, but he played a part in it.
Through five games he had 18 catches for 154 yards and no touchdowns. Marshall has had better numbers than that in single games in his career. He is now going to miss the entire season due to injury, but it didn’t look like he was going to make much of an impact anyway. With both him and Odell Beckham out for the year, it's been a nightmare scenario for the Giants.
8 Draft Pick: Derek Barnett
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Barnett out of Tennessee 14th overall. In 3 years with the Volunteers, Barnett tallied 33 sacks so you can see where the Eagles saw potential. The pace of 11 sacks a year looks to be in jeopardy, however.
It took Barnett six games to register his first NFL sack. In a division with Dak Prescott, Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins, the need to put pressure on quarterbacks is high. It is still way too early to write off Barnett and maybe his first sack will lead to more coming in bunches, but for now he hasn’t turned any heads. The Eagles have looked like one of the best teams in the NFL, so a late season boost from Barnett would be a huge plus.
7 Free Agent: DeSean Jackson
Action Jackson was brought to Tampa Bay with the hopes of adding a deep threat to an already dynamic offense. With Jameis Winston looking to grow on a promising start to his career this year he looks to have all the weapons he needs. Mike Evans is already a superstar number one receiver, so Jackson was supposed to be the speedster that would rarely see double teams because of it.
Well he hasn’t seen many double teams, but hasn’t done much either. He's known for making a big play at opportune times, even when he's being shut down most of the game, but the big plays have been very few and far between. Being a no.2 receiver to Mike Evans seemed like a dream scenario, but it hasn't panned out thus far in Tampa.
6 Draft Pick: Jabrill Peppers
The Browns make the bust list again! In other news, grass is green and water is still wet. They selected Peppers 25th overall in the draft. He played just about every position on the field for Michigan minus the line. Seeing as the Browns more or less had a need at every position, why not draft a guy who can play them all? On paper it seemed like a great fit. The problem is that the Browns have not been able to get the most out of the athletic playmaker. It’s still early, but they need to start to figure out a way to put him in better situations to succeed. Then again, that's difficult to do in Cleveland.
Considering how Kizer has looked, maybe Peppers can find some time at quarterback.
5 Free Agent: Martellus Bennett
One day Martellus Bennett will have suited up for every single NFL franchise. The Packers chose not to resign 2016 divisional round hero Jared Cook so they decided to bring in Bennett as the new primary tight end. The deal is for three years worth $20.25 million. Some believed he would thrive in an offense already boasting receiving weapons like Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Having Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball makes things much easier as well.
However, Bennett has not gotten off to a hot start. He has struggled with drops and despite having Rodgers as his QB, he only caught 22 passes through six games for 216 yards and no touchdowns under A-Rod.
With Rodgers possibly missing the rest of the season with a broken collarbone, who knows what to expect from Bennett moving forward.
4 Draft Pick: O.J. Howard
The former Alabama star tight end was selected 19th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Some analysts had Howard as their highest rated player in the draft. After running a 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine people were all in on Howard being a dominant tight end from day one. Well, things haven’t exactly turned out that way. Howard has spent the season behind veteran Cameron Brate on the depth chart. Rookie or not, for a guy that was as highly talked about as Howard, he should be seeing the field more. Through five games, he only has 5 catches for 107 yards and one touchdown. We’ll have to see if anything changes as the season moves on. The Bucs are counting on him to bring their offense to the next level.
3 Free Agent: Robert Woods
Woods was signed by the Los Angeles Rams on a five year deal worth $39 million. He has not been terrible thus far, but has not earned that type of money either. The issue is that he has not found the end zone yet. The addition of Sammy Watkins this season to go along with rookie stand out Cooper Kupp, may be the reason Woods has not been a central piece to the offense like people thought after he signed. However that shouldn't be a big surprise, as Woods was never really a no.1 receiver in Buffalo either and it was unrealistic to think Woods could walk into Los Angeles and suddenly be the featured wideout. Considering the Rams have a lot of young players, perhaps they don't see how bad the contract is yet, but it's unlikely Woods will end up playing all five years of his deal in L.A.
2 Draft Pick: Taco Charlton
The Dallas Cowboys desperately needed to add pass rushing to their defense so they decided to draft Taco Charlton out of Michigan 28th overall. He wasn’t viewed as an explosive pass rusher off the edge, but the Cowboys thought he would fit nicely in Rod Marinelli’s defense. Unfortunately for them, taco has been seemingly invisible. He has played more snaps without a QB hit than any other edge in the NFL.. His playing time is beginning to shorten due to his lack of production as well. The Cowboys need to find someone to tackle the likes of Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins eventually and Taco is not looking like that guy thus far. With their shaky secondary, it's imperative that their pass rush improves.
1 Free Agent: Matt Kalil
Matt Kalil was awful for the 2016 Vikings so what did the Carolina Panthers decide to do? Pay him $55 million to come and be awful for them of course! The Panthers offensive line was atrocious in 2016 so the idea here was obviously bring in someone who could keep cam newton upright. Kalil has simply not lived up to the lucrative deal he signed. Earlier in the season, he surrendered seven pressures to the Buffalo Bills. The rest of the entire offensive line only gave up three. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Well Kalil is looking like trash to both the Vikings and Panthers. How did the Panthers think Josh Norman was asking for too much money a year ago, yet they didn't mind forking over all that dough for Kalil?!
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