In the recent weeks there have been a lot of questions about which players to avoid in the 2017 NFL Draft class. Every draft has some players that are selected highly only to becoming massive disappointments in the NFL. Here we breakdown some potential busts in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
McKinley stands out to me as having bust potential as some are projecting him to the first round. First, he is undersized to be an NFL edge defender at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, though he is fast and explosive as a high-motor run-and-chase defender. However, I see a lot of flaws. One, he has no pass-rushing moves. Two, he is extremely tight and stiff as a rusher. Three, he can get destroyed as a run defender. Four, tackles with length give him problems and he will see bigger, longer offensive tackles in the NFL. Sources have also said that McKinley has a shoulder issue and is not a slam dunk on the character side, which is largely about being moody and slow to trust. Thus, I think there are a few potential issues that could lead to McKinley being a bust.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
A team could reach on McMillan as some draft analysts have projected him to go fairly high in the top-50-or-so picks. McMillan was well-suited for the Big Ten as he is a tough run defender at the point of attack, is a good tackler, and is a physical presence in the tackle box. However, he has limitations in pass coverage and never looked natural at dropping back. In the passing-driven NFL, he could be targeted for mismatches against running backs and tight ends in space. McMillan ran well at the combine in terms of speed and has good size, so he could develop pass-coverage skills in time. Of the early round picks, I think he has the highest bust potential because of his pass-coverage issues.
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
Around the NFL, Awuzie is a love/hate prospect. The 6-foot, 205-pounder has good size, but he doesn't play up to it and big receives can make catches over him. He also routinely gives up separation. Awuzie got exposed late in his senior year as he struggled in coverage. In his bowl game, Oklahoma State's James Washington dominated Awuzie, burning him downfield for big plays. Midway through the game, Awuzie was switched off of Washington and teammate Akhello Witherspoon did much better defending Washington. I think Awuzie is going to struggle to run with NFL receivers and could be a corner who gets torched regularly. He would be best in a zone scheme. Some projections have him as a first-round, even top-20, pick. I think he has real bust potential.
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
This was a tough decision because no safety stood out to me with serious bust potential. I chose Peppers because he could be selected in the top-60 picks, but I see some issues to his game when studying him. Peppers has issues in pass coverage as he gets caught flat-footed because he is so aggressive at trying to attack the run game. He looks a little slow to react in off-man coverage to flip his hips and run. There were times when slot receivers and tight ends achieved some separation because of that even though they shouldn't because they aren't as athletic or fast as Peppers. In college, Peppers had only one interception, and that came on a deflected pass. After playing close to the line of scrimmage, I have doubts about Peppers going deep and having the vision to be a free safety. The lack of ball skills could also hurt him back there. Peppers is a great athlete, but as a defensive football player, I'm not sure he will live up to the hype. Additionally, there is now the spectre of off-the-field issues with his diluted test.
Out of sheer boredom and the upcoming NBA draft has gotten me itching to make a new mock draft. Of course the NFL draft is a whole lot less predictable than the NBA draft, but also provides more success stories than the NBA draft. Again, I used schedules to determine each team's records and if you get upset with me just remember it's June and a whole lot can change by next April.