Boom-or-Bust Prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece on the safest picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Here is the flip side of that coin: the following are players with the potential to be elite starters in the NFL, but their style of play or unproven skills also gives them an increased chance of being busts. General Managers who select these players could be highly rewarded, or these could be the picks that cost them their jobs down the road.
QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)
Manziel is perhaps the most polarized figure of all the players entering the NFL this year. Some think his playmaking abilities will lead him to be a sensation at the next level. Others don’t think his skillset will translate at all to the NFL and label him as the next Tim Tebow.
The Tebow comparisons are not accurate. For one thing, Manziel has shown in college to have a better arm than Tebow, in both strength and accuracy. Like Tebow, Manziel picks up many yards on the ground, but Tebow runs like a fullback and Manziel runs like a scatback, which should carry over more successfully to the NFL.
One trait that needs to be coached out of Manziel is his propensity for lowering his shoulder into defenders instead of sliding down to avoid the hit. This may work in college, but in the pros it’s a sure way to prematurely end your season.
His will also need to learn how to tone down his thirst for heroics. Ace Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans bailed Manziel out on many passes that should not have been thrown. If Manziel can learn how to slide at the end of a run and throw the ball away when nothing is there, he may have a successful career.
WR Kelvin Benjamin (FSU)
Benjamin has many positives as a wide receiver prospect, but also many negatives. The positives are his size (6’ 5”, 240 lbs., 83” wingspan) and jumping ability, making him a valuable red zone threat. Negatives include his relative slowness (4.61 s forty yard dash) and a problem with dropping passes. Benjamin’s physical tools will intrigue many teams, but he is far from a complete player.
TE Jace Amaro (Texas Tech)
Amaro does not offer much in the blocking department and he lacks elite straight-line speed (4.74 forty yard dash). Despite these weaknesses, he is an excellent receiver. Amaro usually works from the slot and he easily racks up receptions using his route running skills and soft hands, and once he catches the ball his toughness and large frame (6’ 5”, 265 lbs.) made him near-impossible to tackle.
The question is will he remain hard to tackle when it is faster and stronger NFL defenders doing the tackling?
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