In the recent weeks there have been a lot of questions about which players to avoid in the 2017 NFL Draft class. Every draft has some players that are selected highly only to becoming massive disappointments in the NFL. Here we breakdown some potential busts in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I think Watson has good arm strength, a pretty release, and excellent intangibles that could lead to him overcoming some of his shortcomings, similar to Dak Prescott. On the other hand, Watson has accuracy and ball-placement issues. I can't think of any inaccurate college quarterback who became an accurate passer in the NFL. I have graded Watson as a third-round pick for the 2017 NFL Draft, but he is likely to be a first-round pick.
Watson was off with his accuracy for a lot of his final year, displaying poor ball placement, especially when going downfield. He missed a lot of potential big plays as a result. Watson has major room for improvement with his field vision, ball placement, and accuracy. He did finish the regular season playing significantly better, but that doesn't make up for the inaccuracy over the first two-thirds of the season. He also threw way too many interceptions (17). In comparison, Prescott threw only five interceptions as a senior and 16 over his final two seasons.
On top of accuracy and interception issues, Watson played in a college spread offense that doesn't correlate well to the NFL. Thus, he's going to need to learn working under center, operating the huddle, footwork, not having coaching boards predetermine his plays, calling audibles, calling line checks, and not being a running quarterback. I think there are a lot of developmental issues that could be too much to overcome. Watson was a great college quarterback who was a winner, and I think he could be the latest in the line of great, winning college quarterbacks who don't pan out in the NFL, e.g. Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, etc.
Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Gallman could be a second- or third-round pick, so the team that drafts him will probably expect him to be a three-down starter in time. Gallman is a quality runner and receiver, however, he is a jack-of-all-trades master-of-none. He isn't overly fast, big or physical. He also seemed worn down in 2016 and wasn't the same runner he was during the 2015 season. It wouldn't surprise me if Gallman turns into more of a backup and rotational back rather than being a three-down starter.
Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
This wasn't an easy decision. I considered going with Cooper Kupp because I think he will struggle to separate from NFL cornerbacks, but Kupp makes up for it with quickness, route-running, size, great hands, and intelligence. I think Dede Westbrook could also disappoint.
I chose Gibson because he is a one-trick pony as a speed receiver who needs development as a route-runner and should improve his hands. In speaking with scouts, Gibson is a love-hate prospect who some teams project to the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft and others have him as a mid-rounder. I think Gibson (5-11, 191) could struggle to get free of defensive backs at the top of routes because of a lack of strength, plus defenses will be prepared for his one trick. It wouldn't surprise me if Gibson doesn't pan out.
Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Some project Roderick Johnson to go on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, but I think he should be a late-rounder. Johnson lacks strength and doesn't generate any push in the ground game. He ties up his blocker, but is not a force at the point of attack to push a defender out of his gap. In pass protection, Johnson has the athleticism to protect against speed rushers, but he is weak to block inside moves and gets bull rushed too easily. Even undersized speed rushers have success bull rushing him. Johnson is a finesse player, and I think he is going to get pushed around in the NFL.