AFC South Preview: Top Five Rookies Who May Disappoint in 2010

Following up on the top 10 impact rookies, this list covers the other side of the aisle—five rookies from the AFC South who may disappoint.

While it’s no secret it that often takes more than one season for a star to rise to fame and a failure to plummet to shame, the first year is often extremely crucial.

Bear in mind that just because a player is listed to disappoint in their rookie year, doesn’t mean they can’t redeem themselves later on and breakout a few years down the road.

Also note that none of these players were previously selected in the top impact rookies from the division (see here).  So without further adieu, here are the five first-year players who may disappoint.


Verse of this Piece

"My children, listen to your father’s teaching; pay attention so you will understand.  What I am telling you is good, so do not forget what I teach you.  When I was a young boy in my father’s house and like an only child to my mother..." —Proverbs 4:1-3 (Proverbs 4:4-27 are expected to follow in groups of three.)

I have written a verse of my own choosing (unless one was requested) with every new article I’ve presented since I began with after my 50th piece on Bleacher Report.

This is just something small to glorify my Lord and Savior.  I hope this will inspire someone to step out, to speak without fear, and perhaps one day start somewhat of a trend.  If you’d like to request a verse, toss a message over via inbox.  God Bless!


No. 5 Larry Hart, DE/OLB, Jaguars

Many Jaguars fans were unhappy with the selection of Larry Hart, an undersized Division II defensive end in the fifth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft last April.

It was recently reported mid-week that Hart is the first drafted player to sign with Jacksonville this summer.

Hart will earn an estimated $192,800 signing bonus along with the current minimum salary ($320,000), worth over half a million in his first year, according to Florida Times reporter Vito Stellino.

After transferring from Holmes Community College, the 6-0, 248 lb lineman had two extremely productive seasons at Central Arkansas, and became the highest-drafted player in school history.

Time will tell, but many believe the pick could have been put to better use in another area, considering the first three picks from the team were also defensive lineman.


No. 4 Earl Mitchell, DT, Texans

Earl Mitchell came to the University of Arizona as a 250 lb fullback and tight end.  After his sophomore season, Mitchell trusted the coaching staff and moved to defense tackle.

It was a wise career move, at least on paper.  Mitchell racked up over 80 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, and eight sacks in his two seasons on the defensive front.

The Houston native also has a great reputation off the field, highly respected by fans, teammates, and coaches alike, and was voted a team captain in 2008.

However, despite his great athleticism, work ethic versatility, and intangibles, it appears he’ll follow down the same path of disappointment set before him by fellow undersized defensive tackles within the Texans organization.


No. 3 Rennie Curran, OLB, Titans

I was very pleased to hear the Titans followed my prediction (see here) when they picked up outside linebacker Rennie Curran in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Rennie Curran possesses great speed, tenacious ball hawk ability, solid tackling skills, and very good instincts.  Curran had an excellent collegiate career, is a true leader on and off the field, and is a great fit with Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.

While a great career looks to be on the horizon for Curran, he’s not expected to start at all this season, even without Keith Bulluck.


No. 2 Garrett Graham, TE, Texans

Fourth-round tight end Garrett Graham joins the Texans to help secure the TE position with occurring injuries to Owen Daniels and James Casey.

However, TEs Head Coach Brian Pariani believes the team would have reeled him in regardless of pre-existing injuries to the front-runners.

"I think anytime you can add a tight end of that caliber that can catch the ball and block, you’re only adding to what we already have at that position," Pariani told the Houston Chronicle.  "We value this player, and I think we can never have enough tight ends."

Stuck behind Owen Daniels, James Casey, and Joel Dreessen, with Michael Gains and Anthony Hill hovering behind, this 2009 first team All-Big Ten Wisconsin tight end must provide a quick impression if he looks forward to real playing time come September.


No. 1 Kevin Thomas, CB, Colts

Reported in early May, newly added Colts rookie third-round cornerback Kevin Thomas injured his knee in practice and could miss the entire 2010 season.

Kevin Thomas joins the likes of Marlin Jackson (who tore ACL in his right knee in October 2008, forcing him to miss the rest of the season, before tearing other ACL in left knee last November), Kelvin Hayden (who missed seven games due to injuries in ’09), and 2007 Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders as the most recent loss to the Colts’ secondary that has struggled to stay healthy in recent years.

Colts president Bill Polian thought Thomas would follow the trend.

"He [Kevin Thomas] plays a lot like [Jacob] Lacey, similar in style, although he’s taller and has good, long arms," Polian said on the second day of the draft according to ESPN.  "He’s a really good pass defender…. Again, another need we felt that we had to fill, in terms of depth on the defensive side of the ball and felt good about doing it."

Instead, the second team All-Pac 10 will now have to focus on rehabilitating his knee.

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