Rookies Missing in Action

Written by Will Spencer on September 28, 2009


Three weeks into the NFL season and some rookies are becoming standouts on their team. However, some first round draft picks have yet to make any kind of reasonable impact on their teams at all. Perhaps it’s too early to say that they won’t make an impact, but some certainly need to step it up…or at least get on the field.


Jason Smith – OT – Rams: #2 Overall
Smith missed the 3rd game of the season with an injury, but the Rams have been terrible on offense. After this week, they rank 28th overall in offense, have scored no rushing touchdowns and have allowed 5 total sacks.


Tyson Jackson – DE – Chiefs: #3 Overall
Jackson has registered just 2 total tackles in three games and the Chiefs have allowed 5 rushing touchdowns already this season.


Andre Smith – OT – Bengals: #6 Overall
After a bit of a holdout, Smith joined the team later than most rookies. The former Alabama standout continued his trend of odd behavior (remember his Pro-day?), coming into camp very overweight and out of shape. Smith has yet to play in a game due to an injury, and it’s not looking like he’ll be on the field any time soon.


Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR – Raiders: #7 Overall
Many were shocked that Heyward-Bey was the first wide receiver taken in the draft (especially Michael Crabtree), and he has yet to prove his worth. The former terp has recorded only 1 catch in three games for a total of 18 yards. DHB has been unable to get separation, considering his speed, and has also dropped several passes that should have been caught.


BJ Raji – DT – Packers: #9 Overall
Raji was picked to be the stud NT for the Packers as they switched to the 3-4 defense. So far, it hasn’t worked. Raji was inactive the first two games of the season after getting to the team late due to a contract dispute. Raji got his first action this week, but failed to make an impact.


Michael Crabtree – WR – 49ers: #10 Overall
Possibly being the most ridiculous man in football, Crabtree continues to holdout with the 49ers. Word is that there is a 20 million dollar contract offer on the table, but he expects to be paid more than Darrius Heyward-Bey did at the #7 spot. While I don’t dispute the fact that Crabtree is a better receiver, Heyward-Bey’s 1 catch for 18 yards is better than Crabtree’s NOTHING. Sign the contract Michael! Or better yet, re-enter the draft next year. It will give me plenty to write about.


Vontae Davis – CB – Dolphins: #25 Overall
Not only did Davis lose a starting job to second round CB, Sean Smith, Davis hasn’t even been able to make an impact on special teams. He’s recorded only 1 total tackle in 3 games of action. The Dolphins aren’t known to have a dominate secondary, and Davis was expected to be a day 1 starter.


Chris “Beanie” Wells – RB – Cardinals: #31 Overall
The Cardinals hoped that the former Buckeye could provide a running threat to compliment their already potent passing game. So far, Wells has been quite disappointing. Perhaps Arizona isn’t giving Wells enough touches (he only has 16 in 3 games), but Wells isn’t making the most of his opportunities. Beanie has rushed for a total of 71 yards, but has fumbled the ball twice in his 16 carries.


Ziggy Hood – DE – Steelers: #32 Overall
Hood has been unable to gain substantial playing time in Pittsburgh thus far, but has seen action in all 3 games. Hood has yet to record a single tackle or make any impact plays for the defending Super Bowl Champs.


Think I’m being too hard on these guys? Think a different first round pick belongs on this list instead? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.

Will Spencer

Will is the founder and President of Draft Breakdown & has been scouting draft prospects since 2002. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the USA Today Draft Preview Magazine, the official website of the Baltimore Ravens, Ravens Insider and The Orange and Brown Report. Will has previous playing experience as a defensive end in the AFA, is currently a member of the Football Writers Association of America and graduated from the SMWW Football Scouting course in 2009. See all posts by Will Spencer.