2014 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense

2014 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense
2014 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Offense | 2014 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Defense
2014 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Offense | 2014 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense
2014 NFL Draft Sleepers

Published May 2, 2014
By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

In the recent weeks, there have been a lot of questions about which players to avoid in the 2014 NFL Draft class. Every draft has some players who are selected early only to becoming massive disappointments in the NFL. Here, we break down some potential busts in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Jernigan is a bit of a tweener. As a one-technique, he is a good run-defender, but is undersized for an NFL nose tackle. Jernigan also doesn’t have the pass-rush ability to consistently get the job done as a three-technique defensive tackle. He doesn’t fit in a 3-4 defense either. The 6-foot-2, 299-pounder’s frame is pretty much maxed out. He needs to develop his pass-rush skills for the next level, too. Jernigan could be solid rotational lineman, but he may not turn into a true difference-maker.

Dee Ford, Auburn
Ford is a one-trick pony who is just a pure speed rusher off the edge. He is weak in run support and will have to move to outside linebacker from defensive end because he’s very undersized. Ford (6-2, 243) needs more strength to shed blocks in the NFL and won’t be able to just run around blockers at the next level. Offenses are going to run at Ford, who looks like a liability as a run-defender.

Last season, Ford had only 29 tackles. If you take away his sacks, he had shocking low total of 18.5 tackles all season. That is alarming.

Sources have told WalterFootball.com they gave Ford a late second-round grade, but could see some team to reach for him in Round 1. He could be a good situational pass-rusher early in his NFL career, but if Ford doesn’t develop a more complete game, he could easily turn into a bust.

Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Borland is a favorite of a lot of the draft media, but I think he has some serious bust potential. I can explain it in three words: short and slow. If the NFL was the running-focused game of the 1980s and earlier eras, Borland would be tremendous. He’d be worth a first-round pick because he’s a fabulous run-defender. But the NFL is a passing-driven league now. Linebackers need to be able to match up against dangerous receiving tight ends and backs. Borland (5-11, 248) is too slow to run with the fast tight ends, plus he is very short, so even if he runs with a tight end, that player could just make the catch over him.

I think Borland’s limitations in the passing game could turn him into a situational player in the NFL, and thus, he may not validate his draft slot. As a pass-defender, Borland is basically the opposite of Luke Kuechly in terms of length and speed. Ergo, I think Borland has some legitimate bust potential.

Bradley Roby, Ohio State
A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought Roby as a potential bust, but he was torched routinely in 2013. I can’t get the bad tape out of my mind as Jared Abbrederis dominated the junior for over 200 yards through the air. It could have been even worse if the Badgers quarterback had been more accurate. It wasn’t just against Wisconsin as Roby was beaten badly against California and Northwestern. He also had some off-the-field issues in college. Roby has a great skill set, but he has to be coached up to fix some bad habits in eye discipline. If Roby can’t learn those coaching points, he could be a bust in the NFL.

Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
I have to pick an early-rounder, otherwise I would go with Stanford’s Ed Reynolds, but a mid- to late-round pick really can’t be considered a bust. Since I have to pick an early-round safety, I’ll go with Ward. It has nothing to do with his play. He’s a good player, but his height is a real issue. WalterFootball.com knows some safety-needy teams that won’t take Ward (5-11, 193) because he’s short. They feel that Ward can cover receivers, but that big receivers will just make catches over him. Ward will go in the second round, and some feel he could go in the first, but as a deep free safety, he could have mismatch problems with big receivers and receiving tight ends.

2014 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Offense | 2014 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Defense
2014 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Offense | 2014 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense
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