5. Jon Baldwin
The Chiefs selected wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin out of Pittsburgh with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. This particular draft was not very strong, especially considering where the Chiefs picked. However, the Chiefs could have grabbed either Torrey Smith or Randall Cobb, both chosen later on in the second, but Baldwin was a tantalizing athletic prospect.
Baldwin was a productive receiver in college playing in 39 games, catching 128 passes, amassing 2,337 yards and 18 touchdowns. He did not win any specific awards, but was always near the top of the Big East in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
Baldwin is the stereotypical player who you draft on potential. Yes, his college career wasn’t fantastic but he was an enormous receiver with good athleticism. In fact, at the 2011 NFL Combine he was a top performer, running a 4.50 second forty-yard dash, with a 42″ vertical, a 7.07 second three-cone drill, and a 4.34 second 20-yard shuttle. A player with his size and that athleticism would naturally have had scouts salivating at the thought of his potential.
How incredibly wrong they were. Baldwin would never even come close to being a consistently productive player in the NFL. In his two years with the Chiefs, he started 10 games, caught 41 passes, amassed 579 yards and and two touchdowns. It was extremely clear early on that he would not be able to, or didn’t have the drive to, translate his incredible size and athleticism to the NFL level. Following his second year with the team, the Chiefs traded Baldwin to the San Francisco 49ers.
Based on these factors, here’s how Baldwin scored according to my criteria:
Baldwin checking in at number five on the Chiefs’ list of draft busts is an enigma. He seemed to have all of the athletic talent in the world, but wasn’t able to put it all together. His level of inability at the pro ranks isn’t uncommon across the board, but is for players drafted so highly.
CRITERIA SCORE: 4