By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: Every year prospects are taken in the 1st round with high expectations, only to falter and not live up to their college success. The history of the NFL is full of such notable prospects such as: quarterbacks Matt Leinart, David Carr, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel. Running Backs Trent Richardson and Curtis Enis. Wide Receivers Charles Rodgers and Peter Warrick. The boom or bust on prospects will never end as this will always be a yearly occurrence as there are no guarantees when selecting in the 1st round. Below are my top 5 candidates who could be a boom or bust in the 2019 draft.
- Kyler Murray (QB) Oklahoma: Murray had an outstanding season in 2018 for the Sooners, winning the Heisman Trophy and projected to be the 1st player taken in the 2019 draft. The reason why Murray is on this list is that his physical traits remind many scouts of another gifted quarterback taken 2nd overall in the 2012 draft by the name of Robert Griffin III. Murray like Griffin was extremely athletic and can hurt a defense with his arm and his legs. The only problem here was that Griffin couldn’t translate that same production into the NFL as injuries began to pile up due to the physical punishment he endured in his first couple of years. The same scenario could affect Murray at the next level if he runs too much and takes on hits. At 5’10 and weighing under 200 lbs, Murray will not be able to endure the physical element of the NFL for an extended period of time and must avoid it as much as possible. If not, he will most definitely make this list.
- Greg Little (OT) Ole Miss: Little has the size (6’6/325) and had a good career at Ole Miss, however; a closer look at his attributes could show some red flags that could translate a possible bust at the next level. Little performed badly during the Senior Week against many of the elite prospects projected to go in the early rounds in the draft. Little followed his poor showing at the Senior Week with an equally disappointing combine where he ran a 5.33 40 yard dash (second worse) and a poor vertical leap of only 25 inches (3rd worse). Now, these results don’t always guarantee a player becoming a bust, but in Little’s case, it highlights some red flags that many NFL scouts should be aware of. The game tape on Little, reflects more evidence of his ineffectiveness against top edge rushers and his inability to move well in space. Little is still considered by many teams as a 1st round talent and if he is taken in the 1st round and translates these red flags at the next level; he will definitely be added to this list as a boom or bust prospect in the 2019 draft.
- Clelin Ferrell (DE) Clemson: Ferrell had an impressive college career at Clemson; which resulted in two National Championships during his college career. However; when you dig a little deeper into Ferrell’s career and production; there are some concerns. Ferrell played along with two other 1st round talents in Defensive Tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. Also, 2nd round picks Defensive End in Austin Bryant. This helped Ferrell avoid double teams; which is an extreme advantage. Another factor was that Ferrell totaled 27 sacks during his career at Clemson with 20 of them coming in the last two seasons. The problem here is that many of those sacks came against weaker opponents; such as Duke, Furman and Georgia Southern in 2018. Ferrell is projected to go in the top 15 and if so, he needs to go to the right system that already has talent along the defensive line, so he is not expected to carry the load. If not, Ferrell could struggle to transition into the NFL.
Dwayne Haskins (B) Ohio State: Haskins currently projected to be a top 10 pick in the 2019 draft, based on his outstanding season in 2018 at Ohio State. In just one full season of experience, Haskins threw for an amazing 50 touchdowns, 4831 passing yards, and only 8 interceptions. Stats wise a very impressive accomplishment, however; looking closer at his career at Ohio State there are concerns. Haskins only has one full season under his belt as a starter and that should be a major red flag when you’re considering drafting him in the top 10.
Haskins stats were padded against weaker teams as Ohio State would often throw the ball late in games with Ohio State having commanding leads. There have been many quarterback prospects who have put up numbers equal to Haskins with much more experiences and failing to succeed in the NFL. Another factor is that historically, many former quarterbacks playing under Urban Meyers system at either Florida or Ohio State were unable to make a successful transition to the NFL. Therefore; if Haskins should go in the 1st round to a team expecting instant success, he will fall victim to the one year wonder, Urban Meyer curse; he will also be considered a bust in the 2019 NFL draft.
- Jachai Polite (DE) Florida: Polite is a gifted prospect with high athletic ability, however; when you watch him on tape there are concerns. The biggest concern I have is his lack of playing to the whistle. Polite throughout the 2018 season gave up on plays and showed a lack of hustle that was not evident in 2017 when he played hard and made plays 20 to 30 yards downfield. Now throw in his poor performance at the combine, running a 4.84 in the 40-yard dash (second slowest) and only having a 32-inch vertical jump (fourth worse) and his pro day was even more disturbing when he ran a 5.04 in the forty. Polite attributed hamstring issues for his poor performance, however; his overall play in 2018 indicates that if a team still believes he’s a 1st round talent and decides to draft him in the 1st round and all these poor performances were not isolated incidents. Then Polite’s will fall victim as a boom or bust prospect in the 2019 draft.
Final Thoughts: This list could be debatable as other prospects might have been more worthy, however; these are the top 5 prospects on my list that I believe qualify the most and could be forever remembered as a boom or a bust in the 2019 NFL draft.