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11 potential draft busts to avoid in the 2019 NFL Draft

For The Win logo For The Win 4/23/2019 Henry McKenna

Let's get realistic.

Some of the first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft will be bad. It's unfortunate, but it's the truth. Some of them will disappoint. That's just how the draft works. After years of drafting players, teams have not figured out how to turn the process into a science. They continue to misestimate which players will succeed and which won't. Let's take a swing a which players could disappoint from this year's class.

You'll notice a pattern of which positions seem like they will bust: quarterback, receiver and pass-rusher. Because teams are hoping to find a standout player at those positions in the draft, largely because rookie salaries are price-controlled, they tend to reach on players at those positions. Here are players who have high bust potential in this year's class.

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: He finished his college career with a 56.9 completion percentage, but is potentially a top 10 selection. He may have improved steadily over the course of his career, but Lock looked like a mess against the SEC's best defenses in 2018. If Alabama, Georgia and even Kentucky proved too challenging for Lock, NFL defenses might do the same.

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma: Yes, shorter quarterbacks have excelled in the NFL in recent years. Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have made it work. But it's important to remember they are exceptions - and exceptional. Murray looks like an incredible playmaker, but his height may still be a problem in the NFL: he measured in at 5-foot-10, which is still really short for an NFL quarterback.

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke: Playing at a lower level of competition, Jones seemed like the type of player who might benefit from going in the second round, perhaps to a team that can give him some time on the bench. And now he's reportedly in the mix to go No. 6 overall to the Giants? That draft status would come with high expectations that Jones may struggle to meet.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss: He has NFL size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds). He has NFL speed (4.3-second 40-yard dash). But he hasn't proven he has NFL durability (neck injuries) or agility (7.3-second 3-cone drill).

Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State: The combine surely did wonders to boost his stock. McLaurin was tied for the fastest receiver in Indy in 2019. But there's a reason why he finished the 2018 season with just 35 receptions. He's a risky projection despite his incredible physical abilities.

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State: For The Win's Steven Ruiz has gone in depth to point out Butler's shortcomings as a route runner. He's a tempting prospect at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds with a 4.48-second 40-yard dash. He also put up 60 receptions for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns. But there's significant reason to wonder if he can separate at the NFL level.

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson: After an offseason when slot receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Adam Humphries and Cole Beasley received major paydays, teams may also inflate the value of slot receivers in the draft. South Carolina's Deebo Samuel and UMass' Andy Isabella will get major hype - but they seem capable of meeting expectations. Renfrow, meanwhile, may see his draft stock get a boost, but he will have a hard time overcoming his physical deficiencies.

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: He could be a day one selection, but there's some question as to whether a hulking run defender like Lawrence has an integral place in today's NFL. If he's just a run stopper on first and second down, then why select him in the first round? That seems like a waste.

Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State: This is the cold reality of pro football: injuries are a red flag. Simmons is thought to be one of the most talented prospects in this class, but he suffered an ACL injury in December, which could hold him out of some or all of the 2019 season. That's an entire year of a cost-controlled player lost, without any guarantee that he'll full recover all the explosiveness he needs to be effective. Simmons may end up a "bust" compared to his talent level purely because a fluke injury makes it more difficult for a team to give him a real chance.


Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech: He was insanely dominant at a lower level of competition (17.5 sacks in 2018), but it's always tricky to evaluate those inflated statistics. He was also disinvited from the combine after a background check revealed a simple battery charge.

Jachai Polite, DE, Florida: Here's hoping Polite proves the NFL world wrong, and upends the overhyped draft process. But we shouldn't turn a completely blind eye to some of the warning signs that have cropped up. He's less athletic than his game film showed, and he seems to lack maturity in the spotlight. His combine performance was one of the worst in Indy.


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