With the NFL Draft only a few weeks away, there is a lot of speculation of which prospects will live up to their given hype. Can Joe Mixon remain to be viewed as elite? Will the Browns pass on Myles Garrett at #1? Will any quarterback be a justified starter in the NFL? Here are the booms and busts of this years draft class:
Boom: Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett is (or should be) just about everyone’s #1 prospect heading into the draft, and the reasoning is valid. With 31 sacks in 34 games during his three years at Texas A&M, Garrett has the potential to be one of the better defensive ends taken in the first round of NFL Drafts.
As long as Cleveland doesn’t throw a curveball and draft Mitchell Trubisky at #1 this year, it’s looking as though Garrett will be part of the rebuilding process with the Browns. The only slice of doubt with Garrett is, as we all know, the talent at a college-level doesn’t necessarily correlate with how much you succeed in the NFL.
With that, it’s my firm belief that Garrett will live up to the already-high expectations he has been given by NFL scouts. Likely going to a franchise like Cleveland, he won’t be the piece that turns the Browns around, but he will be a step in the right direction.
Bust: O.J. Howard
Since the year 2000, only two tight ends have been selected within the top fifteen and thrived: Jeremy Shockey (2002) and Vernon Davis (2006). Howard is projected as the clear-cut top tight end prospect, but is he really worth the grab?
The pro to Howard is that he is physically gifted enough to thrive at an NFL-level. With both the size and physicality to block and receive, Howard has set himself to be a huge wild card going into the draft.
On the other hand, measuring how well tight ends will do after their college career is one of the trickiest aspects of scouting in the NFL. With difficulty in creating separation from defenders, as well as being someone who doesn’t particularly “stand out” on paper (according to college stats), I believe Howard is a product of how well he has done at the combine.
I believe Howard should be selected in the later half of the first round by a team that is seeking an offensive weapon within time, but my prediction is that he will go somewhere within the top fifteen, and won’t be worth the hype he has been given.
Boom: Leonard Fournette
Under the appropriate system, I think Fournette has the opportunity to be a great first-year starter in the NFL. What system deems to be “appropriate”? I would go with a franchise such as the Carolina Panthers.
If the LSU-alumni gets drafted by the favorite to get him, the Jacksonville Jaguars, he then turns into quite the wild card. The Jags ranked 22nd in rushing yards per game in 2016 with 101.9 yards per game. The team found themselves splitting the carries last season amongst T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory, and it ultimately was a factor in their finishing record of 3-13.
I could see the Jaguars selecting Fournette at four, depending on what side of the ball they choose to focus on within the draft. With Carolina, Fournette is obviously in a much better spot in terms of potential, and likely won’t need to worry about the possibility of sharing carries as much.
Either way, Fournette is the best running back in the 2017 NFL Draft, and while he won’t turn out to be an Ezekiel Elliot, he will be just fine for any franchise that selects him.
Bust: Jabrill Peppers
Peppers can be seen as one of the most diverse defensive prospects coming into 2017, or he can be simply looked at as someone who won’t thrive at one position. With the ability to play strong safety, free safety, outside linebacker, or cornerback, Peppers stock has risen for franchises that seek a player capable of playing multiple positions.
With teams such as the Redskins and Buccaneers peeking interest in Peppers, I hate to admit that this would be a huge mistake. I guarantee that a club will select Peppers based on the sole fact that he can play multiple defensive positions, and for that, he will be seen as someone who has the potential to shift in multiple matchups.
On the other hand, with just one interception and ten defended passes at Michigan, Peppers (for me) is a prospect that’ll thrive on special teams, as well as provide a few big hits here and there. I don’t think Peppers is all that special (compared to other prospects), but he will be selected based on the hype the media has granted him.
Boom: Christian McCaffery
After declining all private workout requests, McCaffery is still someone viewed as a top-fifteen pick in this upcoming draft. Although white athletes have predominately failed to thrive at the running back position, I believe McCaffery’s talent is something franchises should not pass up.
I would compare his style of play to Danny Woodhead, as both have similar styles in terms of running the ball, and obviously, both see the most success when it comes to receiving out of the backfield. On a franchise such as the Saints or Broncos, McCaffery could see a decent amount of long-term success.
Bust: Every. Single. Upcoming. Quarterback.
With Mitchell Trubisky leading the way, it’s my personal belief that none of the upcoming quarterback prospects will be viewed as “franchise” players. For me, this upcoming draftt has one of the weakest quarterback classes since the 2013 draft, as Geno Smith and EJ Manuel were viewed as the headliners.
Deshaun Watson has potential to be decent (somewhat), as long as he isn’t thrown into the fire within his first season. It’s likely that at least one of the upcoming quarterbacks will be viewed as an immediate starter, but based on the history of the NFL, it’s often better to sit behind a proven veteran for at least a season.
Which prospects do you view as a boom or a bust in the upcoming NFL Draft? Voice your opinion and let us know!
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