Go big or go home. That’s the philosophy some teams will run with early in the 2020 NFL Draft as they take risks on boom-or-bust prospects.
These players have extremely high ceilings and may end up becoming NFL superstars. But due to uncertainty surrounding how their skills might translate from college to the pro game, they could also be colossal busts.
These five players all have huge boom-or-bust potential.
Chase Claypool, wide receiver, Notre Dame
Prior to the 2019 season, Chase Claypool caught 84 passes for 1,122 yards and six touchdowns in his previous three seasons with the Fighting Irish. As a senior last year, he exploded onto the national scene, hauling in 66 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Adding to the intrigue, Claypool put on a stunning display of athleticism and speed during the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Was Claypool just a one-year wonder at Notre Dame, or has he barely begun to show what he’s capable of doing? That’s a question personnel evaluators will have to ask themselves while considering this potential superstar in the 2020 NFL Draft.
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
K’Lavon Chaisson is exceptionally quick and rockets off the line, often beating his man with exceptional agility and athleticism. He could become a pass-rushing dynamo at the NFL level.
Then again, there are concerns about Chaisson’s lack of functional strength, which oftentimes led to him being completely pushed out of plays in the run game. Additionally, he was often dominated by Andrew Thomas in the SEC Championship Game.
Will Chaisson be the next Von Miller, or will he end up following in the footsteps of fellow LSU product Barkevious Mingo as a first-round bust?
This is a valid question.
Bryce Hall, cornerback, Virginia
Talent isn’t something anyone is going to question when it comes to Bryce Hall. Though he is a scheme-specific player (will not excel in man coverage), teams that run zone have to be drooling about his potential to turn late, inaccurate passes into turnovers.
Hall is a tough, aggressive player who can do it all. He tallied five interceptions, four sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries at Virginia and could be an instant-impact player as a rookie.
Unfortunately, Hall has a couple things going against him. First, he’s not fast. Secondly, he’s coming off a season-ending ankle injury that required surgery, and there is some risk drafting him early because of that.
Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Alabama
With Tyreek Hill doing so many amazing things for the Kansas City Chiefs, every team is looking for a similar player to supercharge their offenses. Henry Ruggs III has game-breaking speed and was extremely productive during his tenure with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
With this in mind, it’s not shocking he’s being talked about as potentially the first receiver off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft.
However, it’s worth pointing out that the NFL historically hasn’t been kind to players who run a sub-4.3-second 40 time. For every Tyreek Hill, there’s a dozen guys who couldn’t cut it at the pro level — John Ross being the most recent significant example.
Ruggs could break the mold, to be sure. He has a lot more going for him than just pure speed. But nobody should be surprised if he ends up as a bust, either.
Jordan Love, quarterback, Utah State
In the immortal words of Mugatu, Jordan Love is “so hot right now.”
The Utah State product has recently been getting a ton of attention from NFL head coaches, as seven of them called his college coach in a five-day stretch this past week.
In fact, some have compared Love to the phenom Patrick Mahomes (no pressure, kid).
Every quarterback selected in the first round is a boom-or-bust gamble. Every. Single. One. But Love is a bit more of an unknown than some of the others like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. He’s exceptionally gifted with the physical tools to succeed and has the ability to make incredibly difficult throws look easy.
The big “but” here is that Love didn’t exactly light up the Mountain West Conference at Utah State and has a lot of inconsistencies to his game. So, any team that drafts him should do so knowing he’s a project. Thrust into the spotlight early, Love could easily join the long list of first-round bust quarterbacks.