First Round Busts
By FBG Staff
August 17th, 2010

While a first round pick is usually awesome, there are occasional busts. Yep - sometimes, that highly-touted player just falls flat. We asked the Footballguys.com staff to pick their 2010 First Round Bust among these players:

  • RB Chris Johnson, Ten
  • RB Adrian Peterson, Min
  • RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac
  • RB Ray Rice, Bal
  • RB Frank Gore, SF
  • WR Andre Johnson, Hou
  • RB Michael Turner, Atl
  • QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
  • QB Drew Brees, NO
  • RB Steven Jackson, StL
  • WR Randy Moss, NE
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald, Ari
  • WR Reggie Wayne, Ind
  • RB DeAngelo Williams, Car
  • QB Peyton Manning, Ind
  • Here are their answers:

    Jene Bramel

    Steven Jackson will be a popular pick, but the rest of the first round potentials seem relatively safe this year. Barring injury, the floor of the other potentials on the list shouldn't kill you. Since the Rams offense will lean heavily on Jackson, his floor is also reassuring, but he comes with more concerns than everyone else on the list. Health is the biggest concern. In six years in the league, he's played all 16 games just once and missed two or more games three times. Though he's proclaimed himself fit after spine surgery, his running style and workload will continue to put his health in jeopardy. Add in offensive line concerns and what could be another season with relatively few red zone opportunities and Jackson is an extreme risk at his mid-late first round ADP.

    David Dodds

    Reggie Wayne, Ind - I know only what my eyes tell me and they tell me that Reggie Wayne has lost at least a step or two. He is 32 years old and although some WRs can play much later than that, many start fading very fast around this age. I think Wayne is one of those players that is fading in front of our eyes. He still runs great routes and has Peyton Manning throwing him the ball, but expecting him to be a top 2 or 3 WR this year seems to discount all of the other receiving options the Colts have on offense (a top TE, two RBs who can catch, and three young capable WRs). In the first round, I want an elite talent and a threat to be top player at his position. I don't think Wayne offers anything close to that. In fact, I think his upside is closer to WR 5-10 than WR 2.

    Colin Dowling

    Randy Moss - I know everyone hates those guys that say, "If not for this game or that game, player X wouldn't have been nearly as good!" That logic is silly because every game counts. That said, Randy Moss compiled 310 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Colts and Titans. Remove those two games and he has less than 1,000 yards receiving and only 8 touchdowns among the other 14 games. I like Randy Moss and expect he'll be a solid receiver this season, but I don't think he is consistent enough anymore to warrant a first round pick.

    Clayton Gray

    If the question was "Which 1st round pick is most likely to fall short of producing 1st round numbers?" then Steven Jackson would be the way to go. However, picking a 1st Round Bust is more akin to predicting the player that will completely disappoint. Let's face it, seeing Jackson finish as RB9 (which is about where everyone expects him to finish) wouldn't fill his owners will joy, but it's still pretty sweet to own the 9th-best running back. Picking Larry Fitzgerald is tempting as the quarterback situation there is horrible, but it still wouldn't be a surprise to see him catch 90+ balls and accumulate solid end-of-season stats. All things considered, my 1st Round Bust is Reggie Wayne. If you dig into his 2009 season, you see a guy that (despite 100 receptions on the season) faded down the stretch (only a single game over 50 yards receiving after Week 11). Further, Peyton Manning doesn't have to go to Wayne as there is a litany of other options in the passing game. The offense is truly loaded with TE Dallas Clark, RB Joseph Addai, WR Anthony Gonzalez, WR Pierre Garcon, and WR Austin Collie each capable of catching 50 balls (and Clark can hit the century mark). The young receivers, now with a season of action under their belts, could easily eat into Wayne's projected numbers. With Manning's propensity to go to the open receiver, Wayne could quickly turn into nothing more than a serviceable fantasy starter. That would make him a bust.

    Jeff Haseley

    Larry Fitzgerald - When looking at the Top 12 overall players for 2010, it is very difficult to predict a bust year for any of them. However, if I were to be wary about one such player, it would be Larry Fitzgerald. There are too many question marks that still need to be answered in order to be fully convinced that he will once again be an elite WR in the league. It is looking like the Cardinals opening day starting QB will be Matt Leinart. The last season Fitzgerald played when Matt Leinart took the majority of the snaps was 2006. That year, Fitzgerald was a preseason Top 3 WR, but finished 24th. His six TDs that year was a career low. Matt Leinart was a rookie back then and now he is entering his fifth year in the league. Is he one of the league's best QBs? Hardly. Looking back to the Top 10 WRs last year, all but two came from teams with above average or elite QBs. The two WRs in the Top 10 that did not have an above average QB were Brandon Marshall (Orton) and Roddy White (Ryan). 80% of the Top 10 WRs had a QB that produced solid numbers across the board. The likelihood of Matt Leinart, or any current Cardinals QB, reaching those heights this year is slim. As a result, the odds are stacked against Fitzgerald to meet his preseason Top 10 ranking. Unless you foresee Matt Leinart making a huge leap this year, you have to expect lesser production from Fitzgerald.

    Jeff Pasquino

    Steven Jackson, RB, STL - I just cannot get on board with Steven Jackson this year. I know, I see that he is the featured back once again for the Rams and that there is next to nothing on the depth chart behind him - but that same depth chart is also what scares me. St. Louis will be throwing a rookie (Sam Bradford) out there to learn this year and grow with a very young and inexperienced group of wide receivers and tight ends - almost none of which are easily named by non-Dynasty fantasy players. After Donnie Avery the list of targets is thin (Laurent Robinson? Danny Amendola? Daniel Fells? Who? Exactly) and the offensive line is still developing. Expect teams to stack the box against Steven Jackson, a fantasy stud in years' past but also a player who is coming off of a significant neck injury and who has taken a beating throughout his career. I firmly believe that Jackson's upside is at about RB8-10 for fantasy purposes and his downside is around RB25 or lower (possibly with several games missed due to injury). Even if he does play all 16 games this year I would not count on a Top 10 RB finish for Jackson so count me out on taking him in Round 1.

    Chris Smith

    RB Steven Jackson - I love what Jackson brings to the table but I have a few caveats in regards to his 2010 campaign and would hesitate to pick him in round one. Jackson has averaged over 20 carries per game over the last five years and the damage to his body has to be catching up to him. With 1420 carries over five seasons, he may break down this year. The next reason is a lack of rushing touchdowns over three seasons. He has just 16 rushing touchdowns over three years. Lastly, the Rams offense is in flux. It is at least one season away from putting up good statistics. Jackson may continue his solid play from the last five years but he is the first round player I am most worried about.

    Jeff Tefertiller

    There is no doubting the talent of Steven Jackson. He is big, physical and fast for a man of his size. But, there is cause for concern. He has finished inside the Top 9 players at the position just once in his six-year career. He must finish in Top 9 in order to be worthy of a first round pick. Add in the history of missing a few games and it is difficult to buy into Jackson as a first rounder. His 375 touches last year are a worry considering the injury history. The Rams may have incrementally improved their offensive line, but not enough to make a difference. With either rookie Sam Bradford or journeyman A.J. Feeley under center, opposing defenses will be focused on stopping the run. Also, the team is unlikely to get their tailback into enough scoring situations to help his fantasy owners. Jackson is a longshot to finish among the Top 12 players overall this season.

    Matt Waldman

    Steven Jackson: Only 13 backs in the past 20 years have produced more than five straight seasons as fantasy starters. Jackson is a special enough talent to be the 14th back, but I believe his injury history, carry count, and punishing style works against him. Jackson has the highest cumulative attempts of active backs during the past five years, but minor injuries have forced him to miss time over the years. I believe his quickly approaching the end of peak production for a runner, which is about a 6.2-year peak for the more consistent RBs I researched over a 20-year period. If I had to pick a player from the first round to bust, I think these factors are some of the more compelling for a case to make against Jackson's potential success.

    Mark Wimer

    Steven Jackson is an extraordinary running back with elite skills - when healthy. Unfortunately, the offense surrounding him is flaccid. The Rams will start a rookie QB, Sam Bradford, this year. The wide receiving corps is undistinguished and was ineffective last year. The OL is not among the league's top units. Jackson gets a lot of touches, but not many scoring opportunities, and that's why he's finished 14th, 13th, and 10th among all fantasy backs over the past three years (with six, eight, and four TDs to his credit during that time span - rushing and receiving combined). The news that Jackson required back surgery to repair herniated disks is yet another reason to be skeptical about his 2010 prospects. I have seen little improvement on the offensive team surrounding him to sway my opinion thus far during preseason - Bradford looked rattled and amateurish vs. Minnesota during preseason week 1. Be prepared to be disappointed, Steven Jackson owners.

    Jason Wood

    Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts - No one can question Reggie Wayne's talents or his role. He's the clear #1 receiver on one of the league's most consistent and prolific passing offenses. That said, I would never spend a 1st round pick on him. He's had two 100-catch seasons in the last three years, and yet finished WR4 and WR6 in those seasons. Wayne has never finished higher than WR3, and that was in 2006. Basically if I'm going to use a 1st round pick on a WR, I want the possibility he'll be the top guy at his position, and Wayne has never achieved that. At 32 years old, with a cadre of viable young WR options looming, an All Pro TE, and a re-commitment to the ground game, I think Wayne will disappoint those who expect him to earn a 1st round value.

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