The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching (as if you needed me to tell you that). As we see in every draft, big names fall as the picks roll by, and we’re just left sitting there wondering why. Last year Laremy Tunsil went from a surefire top 5 pick to falling into the laps of the Miami Dolphins at pick 13 after the whole “gasmask incident”. To go back over a decade, Aaron Rodgers slipped all the way to #24 to the Green Bay Packers despite him being in contention to go #1 to the San Francisco 49ers as he was considered to be of the same caliber as Alex Smith in the 2005 NFL Draft.
It won’t be any different this year, we’ll see some big names fall down the draft board, and there may be more to slip than we’re accustomed to seeing. Whether it’s based on off field concerns, poor interviews, lingering injuries, or the plain unknown, it’s inevitable. Below I compiled a list of some players who’s draft stock has took a hit as of late, and included a couple of my own theories as well.
Comment below with some players I didn’t include that you think will fall on draft day as well.
QB DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame)
Recently a conundrum has erupted, labeling DeShone Kizer a “diva“, according to an anonymous AFC head coach. While I can’t recount any evidence of that claim, perhaps this will shy teams away. With Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson leading the charge of this QB class, it looks as if Pat Mahomes has passed up Kizer as well. While Kizer still looks to be a 1st round pick, he could slip to the final picks on day one.
With the recent Davis Webb love going around (why?), we may even see Webb go off the board before Kizer – which would be absolute criminal. With that in mind, there’s a slim chance Kizer even falls to the 2nd round.
RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)
If I had the choice of any of the “big 4” in this RB class, Dalvin Cook would be my guy. With that being said, there is risk involved as he brings some baggage with him including some mild off field concerns from years back, an extended injury history and a case of fumblitis. Compound those factors with what many consider to be a “poor Combine performance”, Cook has seen his draft stock descend a bit since.
Over the past couple weeks, we’ve seen Cook fall in mock drafts, in some as far as the 2nd round and it seems as if Christian McCaffrey is now the higher rated prospect. Before the Combine, if someone we’re to tell you that Cook would fall out of the 1st round, that would warrant a block on Twitter. Now at this point in the process, Cook not being selected on Day One of the draft isn’t too farfetched.
WR Corey Davis (Western Michigan)
Throughout the season leading into the draft process, Corey Davis and Mike Williams were neck and neck as the top WR in the draft class. In offseason workouts, Williams has seemingly slid above Davis a bit as the latter has been sidelined during both the Combine and Pro Day due to an ankle injury.
With no evidence or athletic recordings, some teams may shy away from spending a 1st round pick on a guy who benefitted from playing against lower competition in the MAC. At one point cited to be in play for the Titans at #5, he may slide to their second pick at #18 due to the combination of the ankle injury and the fact that he hasn’t worked out for team reps throughout the draft process.
DL Jonathan Allen (Alabama)
At one point considered to be a unanimous top 5 pick and even closely rated to the consensus #1 player in this year’s draft class, Myles Garrett, the draft process hasn’t been kind to Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. Whether the cause is because of deeper medical evaluations into his arthritic shoulders, or a digging into his film, that remains to be seen.
As the draft approaches, Allen’s draft vicinity is an anomaly. He could go as high as #4 to Jacksonville, or slip into the late teens to a team like Washington. I, for one, never bought into the top 5 pick status he garnered early in the process. With that being said, Allen still projects as a solid player who can serve as a staple on a team’s defensive line like he did in Tuscaloosa.
LB Reuben Foster (Alabama)
Between the Combine incident and scouts’ concerns over his ability to learn the Xs and Os of an NFL defense, Reuben Foster could see a slip in this year’s draft. Dubbed the top LB throughout the entire draft process, late riser Haason Reddick may be giving Foster a run for his money.
Even if he struggles to learn a playbook at the next level, just remember that not everyone is “book smart”. Luckily for Foster, his tape is pure gold and he makes up for his (reported) lack of smarts with instincts on the field. Whether he falls or not, I don’t believe it’s justified and he certainly deserves to go in the top 10.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Lattimore isn’t the first corner off the board. A lot of flavor to choose from. Hamstring issues are pretty big.
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) April 5, 2017
CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State)
While the most recent mock drafts still have Marshon Lattimore slated in the top 5, going as high as #3 to Chicago, his lingering hamstring injuries bring major concern. As I said on Twitter about a week ago, “Drafting Lattimore in the top 5 is like paying full price for a 1969 Dodge Charger with transmission issues.”
There’s no denying Lattimore’s ability to develop into an elite cornerback in the NFL, but in order to do so he must stay healthy, and his recent track record isn’t too promising. He’s certainly the crown jewel in a deep corner class, but it wouldn’t surprise me the slightest bit if teams at the top of the draft approach his situation with caution, resulting in him falling outside the top 10.
S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)
Perhaps the most polarizing prospect in this entire draft class, Jabrill Peppers is just that, and for good reason. Question marks have been surrounding Peppers as he is without a clear role at the next level. Early in the draft process we saw Peppers mocked as high as #6 to the New York Jets, now we see him falling to the tail-end of the 1st round as he’s has been recently mocked at #30 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There’s no doubt that Peppers’ role, or lack thereof, at the next level hurts his value. It just comes down to the “if”. If a team feels they can utilize him and his elite athleticism, he’ll find a home, but who or when that team picks is up in the air.