Grading the Rookie Campaigns of the 2010 NFL Draft First Round Picks (22-32)

Editor's note: This was actually written by me, but again, thanks to seton hall steelers for all of his help collecting information.

Let's wrap up this short series of posts that looks back at the rookie campaigns of the 32 players selected in the first round of last year's NFL Draft.  In my opinion at least, the bottom third of the first round performed a lot better in 2010 than did the middle picks. Guys like Bryan Bulaga, Dez Bryant, and Devin McCourty all had great years, while others like Kyle Wilson, Jahvid Best and Patrick Robinson all held their own and chipped in with important contributions. Let's take a look.

Picks 1-10

Picks 11-21

2010 NFL Draft Picks 22-32

 

22. Denver Broncos (from Patriots) select Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

Stats: 10 games, 2 starts, 22 receptions, 283 yards, 12.9 yards/catch, 2 TDs; 16 kickoff returns, 25 yards/return 

Notes: Thomas' best game as a rookie came in his very first professional game when he hauled in 8 receptions for 97 yards and 1 TD. He would have just 14 more catches over his next nine outings before missing the final six games of the year with various leg injuries. Thomas may miss part or even all of the 2011 season after suffering an Achilles injury a few weeks ago while working out in Atlanta. Yikes.

'10 Performance GradeC

 

23. Green Bay Packers select Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

Stats: 16 games, 12 starts, 9 penalties, 60 yards, 11 sacks allowed.

Notes: After taking his cues from the sidelines in the Packers first four games, Bulaga was inserted into the starting lineup for the remaining 12 games of the season. He would also start all four postseason games for the Pack. Baluga gave up his fair share of sacks -- ~30% of the team's 38 total. But all things considered, Bulaga did a great job as a rookie. And come playoff time, he was at his best.

'10 Performance Grade: B+

 

24.Dallas Cowboys (from Eagles through Broncos and Patriots) select Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

Stats: 12 games, 45 receptions 561 yards, 12.5 yards/catch, 6 TDs; 15 punt returns, 14.3 yards/return, 2 TDs;

Notes: Bryant was the Cowboys best player for a large portion of the '10 season, particularly in the early stages when the Cowboys played themselves out of contention. He looked like a man possessed at times, a player that refused to be denied the ball before and after the catch. Interestingly enough, as the Cowboys started to get their act together and string together a few wins, Bryant's productivity declined. He then saw his rookie season come to an abrupt end when he shattered his ankle in Week 13. He was placed on IR and sat out the final four games of the year.

'10 Performance Grade: A

 

25. Denver Broncos (from Ravens) select Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

Stats: 9 games, 3 starts, 41-of-82 (50%), 654 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs, 82.1 QB rating; 43 rushes, 227 yards, 5.3 yards/rush

Notes: Tebow Mania is alive and well this offseason following the rookie's late-season showings in relief of Kyle Orton. Accuracy still remains the No. 1 question surrounding Tebow and his ability to succeed at a high level in the pros, but with a bit more experience, one can probably expect him to eliminate some of the poor decisions he made in his three starts. Tebow now says he's ready to compete for the starting job under new head coach John Fox. We'll see what transpires under the new Fox/John Elway regime, but Tebow at least made a strong case for himself as a rookie in '10.

'10 Performance Grade: B+

 

26. Arizona Cardinals select Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Stats: 15 games, 0 starts, 38 tackles, 2 passes defended

Notes: Williams' weight was the primary concern when trying to assess how he'd pan out as a pro. Early on in the year, Ken Whisenhunt benched Williams for being slightly too heavy during Friday weigh ins. Williams got the message and didn't exceed his limit again for the remainder of the season. It's too early to tell with Williams. It's probably good that he played behind 14-year veteran Bryan Robinson as a rookie, learning the ropes and what it takes to be a professional on a daily basis. Don't be surprised if Williams takes a couple of big steps forward this coming season.

'10 Performance Grade: C+

 

27. New England Patriots (from Cowboys) select Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

Stats:16 games, 16 starts, 1 sack, 7 INTs, 17 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 73 tackles

Notes: McCourty was outstanding as a rookie. His seven picks were the second most in the league, was nominated to the Pro Bowl, and was named as a 2nd Team All Pro. Very impressive stuff for a rookie. As McCourty elevated his play in the middle and later stages of the season, New England's defense really started to come on.

'10 Performance Grade: A+


28. Miami Dolphins (from Chargers) select Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

Stats: 1 game, 1 start, 1 tackle

Notes: Odrick played and started in Miami's first game of the '10 season, an uninspiring Week 1 win over the Bills. However, he would break his foot in practice shortly thereafter and not play for the remainder of the season. Too early to label him a bust, but the Dolphins certainly have to be disappointed that Odrick didn't at least gain much valuable experience during his rookie season.

'10 Performance Grade: D-

 

29. New York Jets select Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

Stats: 16 games, 6 starts, 21 tackles, 0 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 5 passes defended; 15 punt returns, 7.4 yards/return.

Notes: With the departure of Antonio Cromartie, Wilson should have increased opportunities to contribute in Rex Ryan's defense. For a late first round pick, Wilson contributed fairly well as a rookie.

'10 Performance Grade: B+

 

30. Detroit Lions (from Vikings) select Jahvid Best, RB, California

Stats: 16, 9, 171 carries, 555 yards, 3.2 yards/rush, 4 TDs; 58 receptions 487 yards, 8.4 yards/catch, 2 TDs

Notes:  Best stormed out of the gates, scoring five of his six touchdowns on the season in the Lions' first two outings. His combined 242 yards, 3 TD performance against the Eagles in Week 2 caught the attention of the league, and it looked like it was Best, not teammate Ndamukong Suh who might win Rookie of the Year honors. Best slowed down significantly though from that point on. The Cal product would not eclipse the 60 yard rushing plateau until Week 13 against the Bears. I imagine that as Best conditions his body to take the extreme physical pounding of an NFL running back, he'll become a more consistent contributor. That said, Best fell down so far in the Draft in large part because of his diminutive stature. He's just 5-9, 180 pounds.

'10 Performance Grade: B+

 

31. Indianapolis Colts select Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Stats: 12 games, 0 starts, 6 tackles

Notes: Not too much to say about Hughes' rookie campaign other than it was a disappointing one. Now, a guy like Hughes is a good example of the dangers of labeling guys a 'bust' after one unproductive season as a rookie. The transition to defensive lineman at the NFL level isn't an easy one, and of course, Hughes also found himself playing behind Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. There's also the question of whether he was deployed intelligently by the Colts, particularly on third down nickel type situations. Hughes wasn't much of a factor on special teams either though, which definitely is a bit of a disappointment for a guy whose speed was highly regarded coming out of TCU.

'10 Performance Grade: D-


32. New Orleans Saints select Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

Stats: 11 games, 4 starts, 28 tackles, 2 passes defended

Notes: A neither great nor poor debut for Robinson in '10. Injuries to teammates gave him the opportunity to play early on in the season, but an ankle injury of his own limited him later in the year. The Saints pass defense, despite not picking off any passes, was pretty darn solid against the pass. Robinson played a role in that, and the Saints have to feel somewhat encouraged that their defense should continue to play at a high enough level to compliment a championship caliber offense when it's not ravaged by injuries.

'10 PerformanceGrade: B-

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