Drafting players for an NFL team has never been an exact science. Coaches and personnel staffs pore over mounds of data, conduct interviews, and watch hours of film in an attempt to determine which athletes they should add to their rosters.
Despite their best efforts, some of the picks never pan out. That may happen with the 2020 NFL draft. Time will tell, but there are a few players that could potentially become draft busts.
Fans in Philadelphia are still trying to catch their breath after hearing their team’s first-round draft pick – TCU’s Reagor. At TCU, Reagor had a 1,000-yard season as a junior in 2018, but last year his production fell way off as he caught just 43 passes for 611 yards and five touchdowns. Plus, he ran a rather average 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
What makes the pick hard to swallow for Eagles fans is that LSU’s Justin Jefferson and his 111 receptions, 1,540 yards, and 18 touchdowns in 2019 was still available. Yes, Reagor is a playmaker, but the Eagles have had issues in developing wide receiver talent over the years. If Reagor doesn’t pan out, he will be a huge bust.
Henry Ruggs III
The NFL loves speed at the wide receiver position and Ruggs has plenty of it. His 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the combine resulted in Ruggs being the very first wide receiver taken in the 2020 draft. Most experts believed Ruggs’ teammate Jerry Jeudy or Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb would be the first off the board.
While Ruggs is fast, he was not nearly as productive as Jeudy, Lamb, or any of the other receivers taken in the first round. He never had a season at Alabama with more than 800 yards receiving. Jeudy, who was selected three picks after Ruggs, had back-to-back 1,100-yard-plus seasons for the Crimson Tide.
The last time a team took a risk on a speedy wide receiver the Cincinnati Bengals drafted John Ross at No. 9 in 2017. Ross’s career totals? Forty-nine receptions, 716 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Yes, Ruggs has the potential to be a big-play threat for the Raiders, but he also has the potential to be a bust.
When the Miami Dolphins started the 2019 NFL season 0-7, “Tank for Tua” became a favored mantra among fans of the team. While Miami didn’t completely tank the season, they did end up with the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft. There was no question about where the team was going with their first pick – Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.
It’s always a risk drafting a quarterback in the first round, but head coach Brian Flores and his staff studied enough of Tagovailoa to know that he can be the face of the franchise. Or can he?
Tagovailoa is just 6-foot-1 and weighs 215 pounds. He has battled numerous ankle injuries at Alabama, which led to a surgery done last October. His 2019 season was ended when he suffered a dislocated hip. Of course, the Dolphins and the rest of the league did their due diligence and believe that he is completely healed.
Last year before the hip injury, Tagovailoa had thrown 33 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. There is no doubting his talent, but his injury history makes him a potential bust candidate.
Many thought Herbert would have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft had he decided to forego his senior season at Oregon. Herbert, of course, stayed and had an outstanding season for the Ducks. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 3,471 yards and 32 touchdowns.
The Chargers selected Herbert with the No. 6 pick and if veteran Tyrod Taylor doesn’t perform well the starting job will likely be turned over to Herbert. That could prove disastrous. Herbert is the type of individual that needs a year or two in a system to become a quality NFL starter.
While there is no doubting his physical characteristics and ability, there were concerns heading into the draft about Herbert’s personality. An admitted introvert, Herbert was not named the Oregon starter in 2017 because then-Head Coach Willie Taggart didn’t believe Herbert could get his teammates to rally around him.
Don’t forget, some of the biggest quarterback draft busts in NFL history have come from Oregon. Both Joey Harrington and Akili Smith were the No. 3 overall picks in their respective drafts (2002, 1999). Both were huge flops.
Jon Gruden was in desperate need of help at cornerback, so when the Raiders selected one with the 19th pick of this year’s first round it was no surprise. What was a surprise was the Raiders drafting of Ohio State CB Damon Arnette.
Arnette (6-0, 195) was projected as a third round selection by most NFL talent evaluators. Jeff Gladney of TCU, who would be picked by Minnesota at No. 31 was still on the board at the time. Gladney was viewed as a first-rounder. Arnette was not.
With the rookie salary pool, Arnette will be entitled to a contract worth roughly $13.4 million, of which $7.3 million will be in the form of a bonus. Arnette was a solid player at Ohio State, but it’s going to take a lot to live up to that $13.4 million.