Johnny Manziel and 6 2014 Draft Prospects Destined for NFL Failure
With just a few weeks to go until the NFL regular season and the college football season end, scouting reports will be picking up and teams will be evaluating players almost nonstop over the next few months.
NFL teams will be looking at highly touted players in particular, as a team's selection on day one of the draft can change the course of the team for better or for worse if the selection ends up being a bust.
This year, the draft class is loaded with quarterbacks, and that position has a comparatively high likelihood of causing a team disappointment even if the player isn't a flat-out bust.
The following six players may not necessarily be busts in the NFL, and they all have talent, but they will not perform to what is expected out of them.
6. Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Earlier in the year, I scouted Loucheiz Purifoy and thought that he could be a first-round selection in the draft, as did others. After evaluating his film more closely over the past season, however, my tune has changed.
Purifoy has the shutdown-cornerback label, yet he tends to make a lot of simple mistakes. There are times where he won't run the route just right, allowing a wide receiver to make an easy catch, and awareness issues could be a major problem going forward.
Two interceptions and a handful of pass deflections do not instill any confidence either. He has talent, but when he does make an error on a play, it's a simple one that a top draft prospect should not still be making.
If I were looking for a cornerback, I'd take teammate Marcus Roberson first, who is a lot less flashy but is more of a ball hawk, so he can at least make plays without costing a team any yards.
5. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Tajh Boyd seemed to be an automatic first-rounder when the season started, and despite having a very good senior year, he has fallen off draft boards somewhat. In his case, there's a reason for that.
His lack of height is not an issue to me, although being 6'1" when you are closer to a pocket passer than a scrambler can be concerning. What is a concern is a relatively easy playbook and an abundance of talent.
On the first point, at Clemson he has generally not had to make tough throws, with his throws being mainly screens and routes up the middle. It makes his 67 percent completion percentage look a bit less impressive.
As for the talent, Boyd has had DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins to throw to for most of his career. In the NFL, he probably isn't going to have top talent like that to throw to, so he becomes a risk to take.
4. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
Will Sutton has been the anchor of the Arizona State defense throughout his career. He had 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss his junior year and put himself on the map for his senior year.
This year, however, he has regressed, finishing the year with three sacks. He had some good games and some where he disappeared, a troubling issue that could extend to the NFL.
Aside from that, Sutton is not only a bit undersized for the NFL level at barely 6'0", but he has short arms as well, and as a result, he will struggle in anything outside of a situational role.
He was back-to-back Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. The only other player to win the award twice in his career? Steve Emtman, per ArizonaSports.com, who was a first overall pick and a major draft bust in his own right.
3. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
In recent weeks, Bradley Roby has started to tumble down draft boards, and now that he is a day-two projection, it keeps him out of the No. 1 spot, which I considered giving him with the year he's had.
I already stated my case on him being a bust a month prior, and it remains true. He is beaten regularly in coverage, and while he has great speed, so do NFL receivers.
The stats for Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, Ohio State's last three games? 353 yards passing, with eight touchdowns, two picks and a 64.7 completion percentage. That's primarily on Roby, and it shows that his skill set as it stands now is not going to translate well to the NFL.
2. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Marqise Lee is one of the reasons you can't look at just one season of play in college football. In 2012, he dominated with 1,721 receiving yards, but he had under 700 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Lee plays more like a No. 1 receiver than his 6'0" frame would indicate, which is a double-edged sword. He has great speed and can make plays, but he has been susceptible to injury while at USC.
His main issue is mastering route running and getting open when being closely covered. He was able to work around those issues in college, but that will not be the case in the NFL.
He's someone who should be drafted near his teammate, Robert Woods, who went in the second round. A first-round wide receiver is someone who has to take the reins, either immediately or down the road.
While Lee can make plays at times, he's the boom-bust receiver this year, and the further the season went, the more I saw him moving toward the bust side of that equation.
1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Despite him topping the list, I'm not a critic of Johnny Manziel. I find him to be a phenomenal college football player and one who is a joy to watch week in and week out.
Being a great dual threat in college football does not always translate to the NFL, however. Pat White was great for four years at West Virginia, and Troy Smith was one of college football's best dual threats and a Heisman Trophy winner as well. Neither amounted to much in the NFL, though they were later draft picks than Manziel is projected to be.
Manziel's issues as a draft pick are fairly clear. He is undersized for a QB, his attitude issues are well-known, and he does take risks with the football at times that he may not be able to get away with.
What convinces me to top him on this list, however, is Marcus Mariota's return to Oregon, per Paul Myerberg of USA Today. This leaves Manziel as the primary dual threat quarterback at the top of the draft, and this increases the already-astronomical pressure on him.
Anything short of an All-Pro career would be a disappointment with the hype Manziel has, and with the many obstacles he has to overcome, I just do not see that happening.