Every team comes out of the draft feeling like winners for picking their top prospects. Experts will have their opinions on whether they made the right pick or not. NFL teams sometimes need to take risks on draft picks to try to put them over the top. Here is a list of five players that are considered risky picks.
Draft Risk: Jordan Love, QB, Packers
Anytime a team picks a quarterback in the first round of the draft when they already have a great quarterback is risky. The most obvious reason is Aaron Rodgers won’t be too happy to have his eventual replacement as his backup. Having that lack of trust and belief from the coaching staff has to be hard on the veteran. More so, the franchise could have used one of their early draft picks on a weapon for Rodgers, rather than his replacement. Then again, Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history so he won’t feel too threatened by Jordan Love.
This is an example of the Packers hoping to have found the next Patrick Mahomes. Love has a lot of potential with his arm strength on deep balls and athleticism when he scrambles. What has scared draft experts is how poorly he played in 2019 and how his production went down. Granted, he played on Utah State which is not a top school, but that would be enough to scare teams away.
The Packers are hoping for the best to have Love take over in about three to four years. It worked with Rodgers so they are hoping for the same this time around as well. Drafting a quarterback is always a risk. To have him replace a future hall of famer, that could be a multi-million dollar risk.
Draft Risk: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Raiders
Old habits die hard. The Raiders do what the Raiders have always done for decades: draft a player with speed. Henry Ruggs III ran a blazing 4.27 40 yard dash at the combine and can burn any corner in the NFL. There’s no doubt the Raiders got the deep threat they have been needing for Derek Carr. So why is this considered a risk if he was projected to be one of the top picks?
Las Vegas has done this in the past and the results have not turned out like they would have hoped. Darrius Heyward-Bey was picked in the first round in 2009 and played for the team for just four seasons. Amari Cooper was taken in the first round in 2015 and only played three and a half seasons. Not that either receiver was bad, but the team let them go for a reason. Heyward-Bey could not play consistently well for a top ten pick. As for Cooper, he dropped too many balls for the team, but is performing well in Dallas now.
Ruggs III will be facing a lot of corners who will be more physical than they were in college. That’s his biggest weakness to his game. If he can work through the physical part of coverage, Ruggs III has a chance to be a great receiver. Picking speed though for the Raiders can always be a risk for them. It might pay off for the long haul this time around though.
Draft Risk: Kyle Dugger, S, Patriots
The upside for Kyle Dugger was just too much for the Patriots to pass up on. His size, speed, and production on the field is rare to find for someone who played division two football. He’s a dominate tackler with great coverage skills. Dugger can go up against any tight end, running back, and receiver in coverage. He’s also a threat on special teams with six punt returns for touchdowns in his career. This is exactly the type of player Bill Belichick would love to have on his team.
The level of competition is what has everyone worried. Playing in division two football, Dugger never really had a chance to play against the top athletes in college football. There will be small things he will need to develop on such as reading the eyes of the quarterback or footwork. Those are things that can be fixed by the coaching staff in New England.
Dugger could end up being a defensive star in the NFL with his skill set. He also has a chance to be a bust due to playing up against the best of the best which he never did in college. Dugger will need time to adjust to a faster pace game with everyone playing at his level. It’s a boom or bust situation for Dugger in New England. Fans will find out this season if the potential is there for Dugger.
Draft Risk: Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles shocked the NFL by drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round of the draft. It was more of the fact that they drafted a quarterback so early with Carson Wentz still under a big contract with the team. The move makes sense for the team as they were of need for a backup quarterback. Wentz was notified that the team would pick a quarterback prior to the draft so he was in the loop. So why is this a risk?
Hurts played well throughout college and won time and time again. He’s durable and can be seen as a dual threat quarterback. Arm strength and rushing abilities is a plus for Hurts. He does have a problem with playing consistent with his passes and giving receivers time to develop their routes before running. Taking some time on the bench to learn would be a good thing for him.
It has been reported the Eagles are planning on using Hurts as a Taysom Hill type player. He’ll be on the field with Wentz at times during games. It works for the Saints, but most of the time, it doesn’t work for other teams. Hurts wants to be seen as a quarterback. If Wentz gets hurt and Hurts plays well, the Eagles might have just created a quarterback controversy they didn’t ask for. This could either go really well or really bad for the Eagles.
Draft Risk: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins
Last season, Tua Tagovailoa went into the 2019 college football year as one of the top picks in the NFL Draft. Injuries kept him from finishing the season. This is a common problem he faced in college. His skill set though still made him a top five pick in the NFL Draft.
Tagovailoa has so much upside with his mobility, arm strength, accuracy, and protection of the football. There are too many good things to say about Tagovailoa. No question in any expert’s mind that he is ready to play in the NFL from the moment he stepped onto the Alabama campus. Durability has been and will always be a concern. His college career consist of two ankle surgeries, hip surgery, a broken nose, and a concussion. That was enough for at least four teams to pass on him when it comes to their draft picks.
For Miami, the risk is well worth it because of his talent and abilities to be an NFL quarterback. Injuries will always be on the back of their minds when the play Tagovailoa on the field. The Dolphins are in need of a quarterback to turn the franchise around. If Tagovailoa can’t do it, Miami could be in the hole for longer. A move like this could make or break a franchise. At least Miami is giving it a shot with “tanking for Tua”.