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Five first-round NFL rookies with the biggest bust potential

Chris Gharagozlo
Tua Tagovailoa NFL Draft Dolphins
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, the first round of the NFL draft is filled with so much promise and hope. Every team thinks they have the next rising star. However, the harsh reality is that very few of these players actually turn out to superstars.

Usually, most first-round picks become decent starters in the NFL while some become every athlete’s worst nightmare — a “bust.”

Here are five first-round 2020 picks who will not live up to their hype.

5. Damon Arnette, cornerback, Las Vegas Raiders

In the 2019 draft, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock reached big-time with selecting Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick. He finished his rookie season with 4.5 sacks, and it is yet to be seen if he will live up to the hype.

Arnette seems like another reach for the Raiders. Prior to the draft, he was projected to be picked in the second or third round. The Raiders most likely could have waited and got him in the second or third round. Yet, they selected him with the No. 19 pick.

Arnette put up a solid season in 2019 for Ohio State. However, he was a part of team that featured Chase Young and Jeff Okudah. He will not have the pleasure of playing with such elite talent in Las Vegas. The Raiders are also in the AFC West where they will have to play Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs twice, and the up-and-coming Broncos offense.

Arnette might have a very solid career in the NFL, but the Raiders picked him in the first round. The high level of offense in that division yields more chance of him being a bust rather than a true superstar

4. A.J. Terrell, cornerback, Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons were another team to reach at the cornerback position. They went into the draft looking to bolster up their secondary that finished in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed a game. They addressed that need selecting A.J. Terrell with the No. 16 pick.

Terrell was one of the best corners in the ACC in 2019. However, that does not mean much. Clemson notoriously did not play a hard schedule, and when they did play a talented team (LSU), Terrell crumpled. Ja’Marr Chase exposed his coverage skills, and it left scouts wondering how he would face against elite competition.

Terrell is apt to bite on double moves allowing for big plays. He has to play against Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin twice a year, and he might struggle against this elite competition.

3. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have hit big in the NFL draft selecting defensive talent. However, they seem to be on a severe decline in 2020, and they are one of the teams favored to finish with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021.

Chaisson is entering a situation where the defense is undergoing an extreme makeover, and their star pass-rusher is demanding to be traded. He is also a product of being a part of the best team in college football history. He was one of 14 LSU players selected in the NFL draft. He finished the season with 6.5 sacks, and in his whole collegiate career he only had 9.5 sacks.

The potential is there for Chaisson, but the numbers are not. He will be on a team that is looking to completely rebuild, and that might not help his growth.

2. Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Las Vegas Raiders

Every year, there is a player whose draft stock skyrockets after a stellar combine performance. In 2017, it was John Ross who broke the record for the fastest 40-yard dash. In 2019, it was D.K. Metcalf who displayed his absurd physical talents.

In 2020, it was Henry Ruggs III whose draft stock skyrocketed after recording one of the fastest 40-yard dashes. He ran a 4.27, however, speed does not always translate to success to the NFL. John Ross, Marquise Goodwin, and J.J Nelson recorded similar 40-yard dash times, and simply, they have not panned out.

This is why Ruggs is one of the biggest boom-or-bust players in this year’s draft. He has the speed to take the top off, but he was not fully utilized at Alabama, so the Raiders are banking on his potential.

1. Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Miami Dolphins

When a franchise drafts its quarterback of the future in the top five, the expectations are going to be sky-high. This is exactly what Tagovailoa will face with the Dolphins.

There is no denying he is one of the most talented players in the draft. However, there are concerns.

Tua Tagovailoa suffered a serious hip injury in his final season at Alabama, and no one really knows how he is going to recover from that. Furthermore, that is not the only injury Tua has suffered. He suffered a broken index finger, a sprained knee, ankle sprains on both ankles, and then finally the hip injury.

The physicality is only going to get worse on the NFL level, and his health will be a constant question mark. One of Tagovailoa’s best abilities is his ability to throw deep. However, most of his deep throws were to receivers who were wide open. He will be on a team that does not have the kind of skill at the position he had in Alabama.

Tagovailoa also had one of the best offensive lines in college football. Even though the Dolphins invested in the offensive line, there is no guarantee they will properly protect him.

Tua has the potential to be the best quarterback in this 2020 draft, however, he is the biggest boom-or-bust pick out of the top 32 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft