Tuesday, March 15th, 2005 7:52 PM EST
2005 NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS (OR SUSPECTS) THAT SCARE ME
Bill Wunkle - Staff Writer - Cleveland
Every year you hear about this or that draft prospect that 'just can not miss'. Then three or four years later, you find out that they are out of the sport completely. Some are because of injury and others, for whatever reason, just did not work out. Unfortunately this enigmatic problem is not only found in professional football, but in other sports as well - but for the sake of keeping the subject matter pertaining to football, we'll focus on the upcoming NFL draft. I call these select few people 'draft prospects (or suspects) that scare me', and if you will allow me, I will be glad to expound on some of them. These may not necessarily be in the order listed.
1. Alex Smith - QB - Utah: Remember several years ago when a hot-shot QB out of the University of Houston named David Klingler lit up the scoreboard with the run-and-shoot offense? He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and shortly thereafter became shell-shocked from being sacked so many times. Smith reminds me of Klingler, but lighter in the pants and with mobility. Now, does this mean that I think Smith will not be a good pro? No, but I am not willing to spend a top ten pick on him. I realistically see him as a mid to late first round selection. Huge red flag for the top ten.
2. Aaron Rodgers - QB - California: Coached by the same man who coached Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and Kyle Boller. Smith has gone from Cincinnati to Green Bay to out of football to an NFL Europe designate for Tampa Bay. Both Harrington's and Boller's progress has been slow to this point, so I am not sure that his resume is as glowing as others (Mel Kiper) may think. Another huge red flag for the top ten.
3. Cedric Benson - RB - Texas: This kid is has been a battering ram for Texas over his four years there, carrying a substantial load for his team in the process. My concern is the fact that a running back has only so many carries in him before he begins to break down. The more he carries the ball, the shorter the lifespan for the player. Benson has already logged a significant amount of miles for a player his age, so my biggest concern with him is durability at the next level. Big red flag.
4. Adam 'Pac-Man' Jones - CB - West Virginia: Typically I am not into drafting a defensive back that's only 5'-9" tall in the first round in general and particularly in the top twenty. This is not Jones' fault, his height is what it is. Compound that with his aparent lack of disciplined play in that he frequently holds the opposing receiver - something for which he will get flagged at the next level time and time again. Yellow flag.
5. Dan Cody - DE - Oklahoma State: I remember a young and talented defensive tackle from Penn State University Named Mike Reid that was drafted in 1970 by the Cincinnati Bengals with the seventh overall pick. Reid played five standout years with the club, then suddenly retired because of 'burn-out'. Why do I bring this analogy with Cody? Well, not to be mean or cruel, but this kid has admitted to be suffering from clinical depression. Although he has been treated for it, I do not want to take the chance on him having a relapse. If he ends up having a Mike Reid type of career, is it worth speding a top twenty pick on him? I am not sure that I have a good answer for that at this time, and I have been known to be wrong from time to time. Orange flag.
6. Braylon Edwards - WR - Michigan: But Wunkle, he made your top ten players list. You are right, he did. This kid for me is like Jeckyl and Hyde. One day I love the kid and the next day he scares the living daylights out of me. Is he talented? Yes! Is he athletic? Incredibly! So what's the problem with him? Two picture phrases . . . Desmond Howard and David Terrell. Both were very highly touted coming out of 'That School Up North' and never lived up to the pub and the hype. I hope that I am wrong for the sake of the team that drafts Edwards early in the first round, but I just have a feeling about this one. Red flag.
7. Erasmus James - DE - Wisconsin: Incredible talent, but can not he seem to shake the injury bug. His college career reminds me of what Courtney Brown's NFL career has been thus far, but to a lerrer extent. Again, I hope I am wrong with this kid and I hope that James has an outstanding pro career, but he has got to get healthy and stay that way. Big red flag.
8. Elton Brown - OG - Virginia: Three words . . . lower back injury. They are quite debilitating and can often re-occur, costing a team substantial down time. This is another kid with a lot of talent. Some still question his heart and desire though, and that is a red flag in my book. Orange flag.
9. Chris Canty - DE - Virginia: Outstanding talent on the field. Off the field this kid has some serious issues. Whether it is self-inflicted or a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I think that Canty is perhaps not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Another huge red flag.
10. T.A. McClendon - RB - N.C. State: One word . . . fumble! This kid needs to learn how to hold onto the pigskin if he is going to have any success in the NFL. Dark orange flag.
11. Andrew Walter - QB - Arizona State: I look at this kid and I see Tim Couch, but not as mobile. His late season shoulder injury certainly did not help his stock in the draft either. I only take him if he slides into the fourth round. Dark yellow flag.
12. Michael Munoz - LOT - Tennessee Wesley Britt - LOT - Alabama: These guys are neck and neck because they are both middle of the draft picks who have been snakebitten by serious injuries. They just can not seem to shake them. Big red flag.
13. Maurice Clarett - RB - Ohio State: There are a few reasons why Clarett makes the list.
A) He only played one year of college football
B) He missed palying time with a shoulder injury
C) He lacks maturity
D) He quit at the combine after running two sub-par forty yard dashes
If I am a GM, I don't want to worry about when will be the next time he quits. I do not under any circumstances use a draft pick on this kid. I know this sounds harsh, but the NFL draft isn't about making people feel good - it is about getting dependable playmakers that will make a positive impact for your team.
14. J.J. Arrington - RB - California: Accumulated big yardage in a wide open spread offense, but I am not convinced that he has what it takes to perform in more confined quarters. I guess you could say that he does not scare me, but the question is still there. Light yellow flag.
One of the reasons why there are so many draft busts is because there is no real way to measure someone's heart, determination, desire and teachability. This year will be like all the others in the fact that there will be draft booms and draft busts. Just who will turn out to be which one remains to be seen, and it often takes a few years before we find out.
Well, that is all for now. Let me know what you think. Are there any players available in this year's NFL draft that just scare you for some reason? If so, please tell me who they are and why. Another thought, are there any players on my list that you think are absolute studs? Tell me that to and why.