Despite all of the scouting, workouts and film study that talent evaluators have been devoting to college prospects in recent months (and years), the NFL Draft is famously a crapshoot. Some players look like sure things, but even at the top of the draft, there are some risks. Some rolls of the dice are riskier than others, even with a player that some mock drafts have going No. 1 overall.
Let’s take a look at the top NFL Draft prospects who are most high-risk/high-reward in 2018’s annual player selection meeting.
QB Josh Allen: At 6-foot-5, 233 pounds with an arm that can launch the ball 90 yards, the mobile Allen is a physical marvel. But he completed just 56.2 percent of his passes at Wyoming, of all places.
QB Lamar Jackson: Another physical marvel, Jackson completed just 57.0 percent of his passes at Louisville. He could become Deshaun Watson… or Vince Young.
WR Calvin Ridley: The Alabama product is polished, but he needs to fill out and prove that he can avoid bouts of the drops. His NFL career could go either way.
OT Orlando Brown: At 6-foot-8, 360 pounds, the big and long Oklahoma product is a tantalizing prospect. The problem is that his football is abysmal and he bombed at the NFL scouting combine.
DE Marcus Davenport: The UTSA stand-up pass-rusher is big (6-foot-5, 264 pounds) and explosive (sub-4.6 40-yard dash), but he’s incredibly raw and he had just 8.5 sacks as a senior.
DE Arden Key: The elite LSU product took a leave of absence last spring and followed that up with a down year. Can he push past the red flags and recapture the magic that saw him dominate as a first-team All-SEC defensive lineman in 2016?
DT Maurice Hurst: You don’t see a lot of interior defensive line prospects with Hurst’s level of explosiveness. But the Michigan product has to prove that he has the size and strength to deliver at the NFL level.
CB Josh Jackson: The Iowa defensive back led the nation with eight interceptions in 2017, but that was his only season as a starter and there are still questions about his speed.