Sink or Swim- Riskiest Prospects for Miami in the 2015 Draft
Assessing the Biggest Boom-or-Bust Players Miami Could be Considering Selecting on April 30th
Each year, analysts sift through hundreds of potential NFL players, examining their skill sets, careers, and histories. When evaluated, some players are labeled as “Boom or Bust” prospects, meaning that their ability is enormous, but some factor causes concern that they will never reach their full potential in the NFL. This is a list of the top 5 boom or bust players that could be on the Miami Dolphins’ radar heading into this year’s draft.
5. Shaq Thompson:
University of Washington’s Shaq Thompson is one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s draft. It has been almost impossible to place him into a specific position as he spent his time with the Huskies rotating around on the field. This creates an issue for talent evaluators looking into Thompson for their teams. Projections have him going anywhere from Top 15 to early second round.
While Shaq Thompson does come with uncertainty regarding scheme and positional fits, there are no questions regarding his athleticism. Thompson has elite size, speed, and strength, all of which make him attractive to NFL teams. The question with Thompson will be if there is a team that can find a place on the field where he will be able to showcase his immense ability. For Dolphins fans, this is a very reminiscent scenario to that of Dion Jordan (another freak athlete without a true position). After experiencing the problematic start to Dion Jordan’s career, fans in Miami can easily understand what makes Thompson such a risky prospect.
4. Ali Marpet:
Heading into draft season, very few people knew who Ali Marpet is. In actuality, most people probably STILL don’t know who Ali Marpet is. Marpet is an offensive lineman who played at Hobart, a Division-III college. At the Senior Bowl, he shined as one of the week’s best interior offensive lineman, and got the attention of scouts heading into the Combine. There, he appeared to be the most athletic of the guards, posting the best 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle times at his position.
The issue with Ali Marpet is undoubtedly the level of competition he faced at Hobart. D-III prospects come into the draft with insufficient experience against elite players, and usually have a long way to go before they can start in the NFL. Marpet is no different, and the biggest
question surrounding him is if he has the ability to face athletes with infinitely more ability than those he played against at Hobart. The Dolphins have a serious need at offensive guard, and Ali Marpet could be a serious candidate to fill that need in the second or third round. Overall, Marpet has all of the ability necessary to succeed in the NFL, it is just a matter of whether or not he can make the enormous leap from a D-III college to the NFL.
3. Marcus Peters:
NFL coaches often lack the patience to deal with players who do not respect them, or buy into their system. Marcus Peters was a problem child at Washington. He developed a reputation for clashing with coaches and allowing his emotions to run a bit too rampant. Peters’ talent is undeniable, and he is one of the top defensive backs in this year’s draft. The current crop of cornerbacks is fairly weak, so Marcus Peters’ issues might be overlooked by a team in need of a player at his position.
As I said previously in my previous draft profile on Peters, it seems unlikely that he will land in Miami given Joe Philbin’s preferences and history with problematic players. He lacks tolerance for attitude issues, and would not have much patience for the type of actions Peters engaged in at UW. If Peters is unable to be receptive and listen to the advice and teachings of his coaches, he will have trouble succeeding in the NFL early on. Marcus Peters’ ability as a defensive back is immense, and undeniable. The risk with Peters comes in his relationship with coaches, and if he can control his emotions enough to be a positive presence in the locker room for an entire season.
2. Todd Gurley:
When I evaluated different players for this list, I looked at the ratio of boom to bust (how good can they be at their best, and how likely is it that they never have a chance to get there). Todd Gurley tore his ACL in November, and has been rehabbing in preparation for the draft ever since. While Gurley might not have the biggest bust factor, the potential boom is enormous. His knee injury is the main concern for teams, as it is unknown whether or not he will be able to get back to his old levels of speed and strength. Nobody really knows how Gurley’s knee is healing (except for NFL teams who have gotten a chance to do an exam themselves), but drafting a running back that is still recovering from a major knee injury is a very risky proposition, regardless of the player’s talent level.
When a player has medical red flags, the question becomes if the reward is worth the risk. In Gurley’s case, most feel the reward far outweighs the potential risk. Todd Gurley is widely considered the best running backs to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson, with the strength to power through defenders, and the speed to get into the second level for big plays. Gurley’s acceleration is elite, and he was one of college football’s most exciting running backs due to his ability to shed blocks and produce huge yardage. When healthy, I believe he could be the best pound-for-pound football player in this year’s draft. Teams looking into selecting Gurley will have to hope that he returns to his old-form. If he is able to make a full comeback from the injury, Todd Gurley has the ability to become one of the most productive, dominant, and electrifying running backs in the NFL.
1. Dorial Green Beckham:
Ever since Calvin Johnson exploded onto the NFL scene dominating defenses with his elite size and speed, NFL teams have been looking for the next receiver who will terrorize defenses by creating similar matchup nightmares. Unfortunately, the trouble-plagued receiver Dorial Green-Beckham might be the closest thing to Megatron physically in years. Green-Beckham is 6’4, 237 lbs., and has elite speed. His size makes him incredibly difficult to cover, and allows him to gain yardage on short plays. He has the size to disrupt a cornerback’s coverage, and his wingspan gives him a ridiculous catch radius. This creates the first question about Green-Beckham: is he the stereotypical “pure athlete” without the actual technique and ability to translate to the NFL. His lack of playing time in college (due to conduct) gives NFL teams a shortage of evaluative tools. He is not the most refined receiver in this year’s class, and there are plenty of scouts who have voiced concerns regarding his ability to learn the actual technique required to play receiver professionally. While his physical ability will help him in the pros, Green-Beckham will have to improve his technique if he wants to succeed within an NFL offense.
Off the field issues have plagued Dorial Green-Beckham since entering college. He has been arrested twice for marijuana related incidents (once caught with 1lb in his car, and the next time caught smoking in a campus parking lot). He was kicked off of the Missouri team after two alleged incidents: one in which he pushed a female student down a set of stairs during an altercation, and the next related to his involvement in a burglary/assault investigation. Trouble has followed Green-Beckham everywhere he goes, and unfortunately he is entering the NFL at a time where these are hot button issues. Ray Rice was given an indefinite suspension for a domestic abuse incident, and Josh Gordon has been unable to get his career on track due to constant substance abuse issues. Teams are currently more careful than ever about the background of the players they select, and do not want the bad publicity that the Ravens and Browns have faced in recent years due to their players’ conduct off the field. Between his rawness as a player, conduct issues, and immense potential, Dorial Green-Beckham is the epitome of a boom-or-bust player, and will have to commit himself to his craft if he ever wants to have a chance to showcase his talents for an NFL team.