The NFL Draft is just two weeks away, which means 32 teams are about to make some huge decisions…and big mistakes. Which players are safe bets? Which players should be avoided at all costs? Here are the seven riskiest prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.
7. Haason Reddick
Arguably no player has benefited more from the draft process than Haason Reddick. A defensive end in college, Reddick will have to move to linebacker in the NFL. Learning a brand new position is hard, and it’ll be hard for Reddick to shed the “workout warrior” label if he struggles early on. I like his talent if he finds the right home, but only a quarter of the league could probably find the correct use for his skills. Those odds aren’t good enough for me.
6. Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes is a project, and a risky one at that. Mahomes played in the furthest thing from a pro-style offense while at Texas Tech, so he’ll need time to adjust in the NFL. That’s the thing about this league – players rarely get the time they need to develop. There’s no denying Mahomes has outstanding physical gifts, but will he be given enough time to adjust to the speed of the NFL? I wouldn’t count on it, unless he lands in the perfect spot.
5. Quincy Wilson
We’ll get to the other Florida corner in a minute, but I’m no fan of Quincy Wilson either. Wilson has the strength to bull receivers at the line, but he showed off questionable long speed at the combine. On tape, he showed a lot of stiffness in coverage, which will make it hard for him to stick with NFL receivers. Constantly getting burned by speedy wide receivers is the quickest way to becoming a bust in the NFL.
4. Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook is certainly a dynamic play-maker, but he was never anywhere close to the level Leonard Fournette is on. Cook can make plays as a receiver and as a runner on the outside, but he lacks the ability to consistently run through the tackles with a smaller frame. He has already sustained multiple shoulder injuries, and it’s hard to see him staying healthy in the more-physical NFL. Cook also has some off-the-field issues that do him no favors, leaving his status as a safe pick shaky at best.
3. Jalen Tabor
Look, the draft process is a little stupid. A player’s ability to run in a straight line, (in their underwear no less,) has almost no impact on their ability to perform on the field. However, the process is important because it shows a player’s engagement to making it in the NFL. By running two abysmal 40 times, Jalen Tabor showed he doesn’t care. Tabor can make it work in a zone-heavy scheme, but his attitude definitely pushes him closer toward the “bust” label.
2. Cam Robinson
Cam Robinson is such an immense talent, which makes his performance last season even more disappointing. Robinson was on the same level as Fournette and Myles Garrett coming out of high school. Off-the-field trouble impacted him early on, and his inconsistent technique with his hands will lead to penalties in the NFL. The fact that Robinson regressed in 2016 points toward laziness, which is a bad sign. He could be a dominant left tackle, but the penalties could sink his career from a very early point.
1. Deshaun Watson
This has so much more to do with perception than talent. In reality, Deshaun Watson is a day-two prospect whose achievements have elevated his stock. Nobody can doubt his poise in big spots, but his inconsistent accuracy is troubling. Watson will probably go in the first round, which will massively elevate the expectations around him. He definitely has a shot to make it, but I don’t like his odds.