2016 NFL Draft: 4 Stars Destined to Fall Out of Round One
Yesterday we took a look at some interesting prospects that may be headed for day two or three of the 2016 NFL Draft, but could still be appealing options in round one.
Talent and necessity can change things greatly on day one of the league’s draft, but player stock can shift the exact opposite, as well. For every player that sneaks into round one when they probably shouldn’t have, there is another player that the experts figured was a borderline lock to be among the first 31 picks (sorry, Patriots).
We can safely assume Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will go in the first two picks. From there, the likes of Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley and a few others are sure fire locks to go in round one. However, there are some big name prospects that are seen as locks or likely first round picks, yet there remains the very real possibility they could experience a free fall.
Let’s take a look at a few guys widely expected to be taken when the draft begins on Thursday night, but may end up waiting to hear their name called later on in the draft process:
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Jack’s future is hinged to a troublesome knee injury that has many teams wondering about his future. Is he going to be ready to go in 2016? Will he need microfracture surgery? Will he ever be the same elite linebacker again that he was in college?
Myles Jack: His Injury and Impact on Draft https://t.co/s3PwDlrgGK
— Gang Green Nation (@GangGreenNation) April 28, 2016
These are all valid questions, plus you have the pain of spending a first rounder, as well as the natural bust potential that goes with any player being selected. Jack was a total stud at UCLA and has the makings of a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker at the next level, but the concerns over his knee and future are very real.
Some think Jack is too talented to fall out of the top-10 or even the top-5, while others are prepared to see a dramatic free fall. Will a fall extend into day two? It’s doubtful, but at this point it certainly wouldn’t be overly shocking.
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
This isn’t really about Lynch or need. He’s a terrific quarterback prospect, was a winner at Memphis and is really the total package. A lot of teams need quality passing talent, too, so there isn’t a ton of logic to support a fall out of round one.
There are even teams like the Cardinals and Saints that currently have starting quarterbacks, but they should be looking to the future. That being said, it’s possible not every team is totally sold on Lynch, or that they have a bigger need at a different position. Teams also tend to stick to their big boards, and if another stud talent is sliding or is merely ranked ahead of Lynch, he could keep falling.
QB Paxton Lynch fading, others emerging on Jets’ draft board https://t.co/tX56cfwzDi
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 28, 2016
The biggest factor, however, may be some other quarterback names that will be tempting NFL heads after Wentz and Goff are off the board. Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg stand out the most, as some draft experts have deemed them the top pure talents at the position or borderline locks to go in round one. Their stock has fallen for very different reasons, but based on sheer talent and upside, it’s fair to wonder if they’re better than Lynch. Because of all of that, Lynch could tumble into day two.
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Draft guru Tony Pauline admitted that Lawson is a first round prospect in a recent report, but he also noted that not every team in round one is sold that he’s 100% after shoulder surgery. He’s a tantalizing pass rushing prospect, but should his shoulder issue be degenerative, as some may fear, he could have serious issues down the road.
Shoulder issues can be a major red flag for any NFL player, but it’s especially alarming for a player jamming the line with his arms and trying to work through and around big offensive linemen. Lawson needs his strength and power, and if his shoulders are already ailing, NFL teams may see if they can get him for a cheaper price later in the draft.
There are not a lot of elite pass rushers looking to go in round one, so a major fall isn’t overly likely for Lawson. He even made it known to all 32 teams that his shoulder isn’t a real concern.
— Ben Rogers (@BenRogers) April 25, 2016
It may come down to whether or not prospective teams believe him or fear that the shoulder could become an issue again in the near future.
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Spence is one of the few stud pass rushers slated to go in round one, but that’s really no lock. Spence was a real problem for offenses on the field in college and also proved his worth again at this year’s Senior Bowl, but he also had some serious issues away from the field.
Not only did Spence get banned from the Big 10, but he also dealt with serious drug issues. It looks like he has changed his ways and he battled back to get himself back into the conversation to be a first round pick, but trust could be the real problem here.
Will teams be afraid that he’s only playing it cool temporarily, or that a drug issue is easy to come back to haunt a person? It’s anyone’s guess, but as talented as Spence is, there’s undoubtedly cause for concern for anyone thinking about taking him in round one.
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