Tuesday, May 14, 2013Shield your eyes from the 2011 draft
By Kevin Seiferthttp://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_ ... 2011-draft
Gabe Carimi, Titus Young and Derek Sherrod are a few of the 2011 NFL draft picks who haven't quite panned out as planned for three NFC North teams.
A mere two years later, the 2011 draft is crumbling for most of the NFC North. At a time when it should be forming the nucleus of our respective teams, the class of '11 is instead causing some of our most gaping holes.
The futures of two first-round picks are in serious doubt, a second-round pick has already been waived amid a disastrous meltdown, and only eight of the 30 players selected appear to have a reasonable chance to start in 2013.
Mistakes, bad luck and injuries have all contributed to this disaster, which we will detail below.
Total picks: 5
Picks remaining with team: 4
2013 projected starters: 2
Catastrophe: Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi (Round 1, No. 29 overall)
On the fence: Defensive tackle Stephen Paea (2-53)
Potential gem: Safety Chris Conte (3-93)
Final analysis: Carimi suffered a season-ending knee injury in his second game as a rookie and didn't appear fully recovered last season. He was benched after 11 starts at right tackle and moved to guard as an emergency measure. New Bears coach Marc Trestman indicated last month that his staff views Carimi as a guard, and Carimi has been working out on his own in Arizona ever since. Neither Trestman nor general manager Phil Emery were with the team when Carimi was selected, so there is no reason to think he is guaranteed a roster spot because of his draft status. Paea started 14 games last season but has ceded any interior playmaking role to Henry Melton, whom the Bears franchised. Paea has 4.5 sacks and a total of 21 tackles in two seasons. You would hope for more from a second-round pick. Conte has been more than competent in 24 starts but has had trouble keeping his 6-foot-2 frame healthy. No matter how you look at it, the Bears didn't get a single impact player from this draft.
Total picks: 5
Picks remaining with team: 2
2013 projected starters: 1
Catastrophe: Receiver Titus Young (Round 2, No. 44 overall)
On the fence: Running back Mikel Leshoure (2-57)
Potential gem: Defensive tackle Nick Fairley (1-13)
Final analysis: Drafting Young is the biggest mistake general manager Martin Mayhew has made in his tenure. Young had a history of behavioral problems at Boise State and flamed out midway through his second season, at the cost of about $2.6 million in salary and bonuses -- and not to mention a continuing hole at receiver. Leshoure lost his rookie year to a torn Achilles tendon and was suspended for two games last season because of two drug-related arrests. When he did play, Leshoure was the least explosive running back in the NFL. He'll almost certainly cede playing time to newcomer Reggie Bush in 2013. Fairley demonstrated how dominant he could be during a limited stretch late last season, notching four sacks in five starts, but he needs to provide that kind of performance more consistently.
Green Bay Packers
Total picks: 10
Picks remaining with team: 6
2013 projected starters: 1
Catastrophe: Offensive lineman Derek Sherrod (Round 1, No. 32 overall)
On the fence: Running back Alex Green (3-96)
Potential gem: Receiver Randall Cobb (2-64)
Final analysis: The Packers hadn't found a position for Sherrod by the time he suffered a massive leg injury in Week 15 of his rookie season. Multiple fractures cost him the entire 2012 season and required additional surgery this spring. The Packers are hoping he can compete for their right tackle spot, but if he can't get back on the field 18 months after this injury, it will be fair to wonder if he ever will. Green tore his ACL midway through his rookie season and failed in an extended audition to be the Packers' No. 1 back last season. The drafting of Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin suggests Green will need some good fortune to get anything close to that kind of opportunity again. A shoulder injury cost cornerback Davon House (4-131) a chance to win a starting job last summer, and he is now behind Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward on the depth chart. Cobb, on the other hand, led the Packers with 80 receptions for 954 yards last season and is developing into one of the NFL's most electric receivers. The Lions' choice of Young over Cobb will go down as one of the all-time draft gaffes in this division or elsewhere.
Total picks: 10
Picks remaining with team: 9
2013 projected starters: 4
Potential catastrophe: Quarterback Christian Ponder (Round 1, No. 12 overall)
On the fence: Safety Mistral Raymond (6-170)
Potential gem: Tight end Kyle Rudolph (2-43)
Final analysis: Ponder had a poor rookie year and was terribly inconsistent in his second season until pulling it together for a sharp four-game stretch to end it. He hasn't fallen to the level of Carimi, Sherrod or Young, but 2013 is still a make-or-break year for him. If Ponder falls short and needs to be replaced, the Vikings will have wasted three years developing their team around him. That qualifies as an unmitigated catastrophe. Although there are nine players remaining on the roster from this draft, Raymond and guard Brandon Fusco are the only other likely starters/contributors. Raymond seems to have the interest of coaches even after an injury-shortened season. Rudolph caught half of the Vikings' total touchdown passes last season (nine of 18) and was named MVP of the Pro Bowl. Ponder's development could make Rudolph into a dominant threat.