NFL Draft 2013: Prospects with Biggest Boom or Bust Potential

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 6, 2013

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Barkevious Mingo #49 of the LSU Tigers celebrates a tackle for a loss of yards against the North Texas Mean Green at Tiger Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  LSU would win 41-14.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is always littered with borderline prospects that can either be devastating and cost many people many jobs or paint front office personnel as franchise saviors.

2013 is no exception, as a plethora of prospects have tons of upside but do come with their own set of risks. Of those that are more than likely to be selected in the first round, several stand out as potential boom or bust bets.

Here is a breakdown of two players from each side of the ball, and why they are and will continue to be so polarizing.

Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Mingo played on an absolutely stacked defense with the Tigers and lined up as a defensive end without producing very many sacks. He had just 4.5 sacks as a junior and only 60 solo tackles over his three-year career, according to Pro Football Reference.

B/R's resident draft expert Matt Miller talked to an NFL scout who was worried about Mingo's lackluster production at LSU:

Given the unique speed and agility that Mingo possesses at 6'5" and 240 pounds, there is no reason he can't thrive as a shifty situational pass-rusher or a playmaking outside linebacker in a 3-4 outfit.

But Mingo has to prove it.

What would help him immensely is packing on 10 to 15 extra pounds. Combining that added strength with his tremendous natural instincts would justify selecting him in the top five of the draft, which is where he ranks on Scouts Inc.'s big board (via ESPN).

The returns on a leap of faith with Mingo seem boundless, yet there is still some hesitation based on his lack of gaudy numbers in Baton Rouge.

Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State

The former Wolfpack signal-caller could go as high as the top 10 or as low as the third round. A lot is still yet to be determined, and further dissection of his combine display (if he throws) and his pro day will ultimately decide where he winds up being taken in April.

What is certain is that Glennon has all the tools to succeed as a pocket passer in the NFL. He arguably has the most enticing skill set of all the prospects, particularly with regard to arm strength.

Mechanics and consistent footwork are a problem, and that was on display during the Senior Bowl. Glennon did show good touch on the deep ball, though, and flashed very strong velocity and adequate accuracy when he was properly set.

Lack of mobility is somewhat of a concern, but Glennon does stand at 6'7" and will have no problem seeing over the defense. He just needs to be more consistent with his release point and add more thickness to his frame in order to absorb hits.

In 2012, the Wolfpack were just 111th in the nation in rushing offense, which required Glennon to produce in obvious passing situations. The defense wasn't outstanding, either, and that's partially to explain for the lackluster 7-6 record.

Glennon must sharpen his fundamentals and be judicious with the football in the pros. If he can do that, he has all the makings of an NFL franchise quarterback.

At this point, though, he is a developmental prospect and should be given time to learn behind a veteran before taking the reins.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

At 6'6" and over 270 pounds, with freakish speed and quickness for his size, there is nothing not to like about Ansah's physical tools. His showing at the Senior Bowl was also very stellar.

Unfortunately, a limited background on the gridiron and a resultant raw technique make him a bit of a liability to be selected high in the draft.

Plenty of teams will be intrigued based on his upside alone, yet it is worth noting that Ansah—despite his incredible athleticism—registered only 4.5 sacks as a senior with the Cougars. That's not going to blow anyone away, particularly if he is meant to be a pass-rushing expert at the next level.

Comparisons have been drawn to Jason Pierre-Paul (h/t CBS Sports), and quite frankly, Ansah may have an even higher ceiling than the New York Giants' star defensive end.

Then again, he might never even come close to getting there if he's not in the right system. Ansah played the 3-4 in college, which is actually encouraging considering he might be best suited as a 4-3 defensive end in the pros.

Whichever team selects him must have a plan on where to play him. Should that plan be executed properly, Ansah has as much talent as anyone to break out as one of the top rookies in the class.

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Given his uncanny ability to make plays and be dangerous with the ball in his hands at just 5'9" and 174 pounds, Austin naturally draws comparisons to DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles.

As successful as Jackson has been at times in his pro career, though, he has been plagued by injuries. That same concern could surface for NFL teams when evaluating the undersized Austin.

The other factor to consider is that Austin played in a spread offense with the Mountaineers and had Geno Smith running the show. Now, catching 100-plus balls in two consecutive seasons proves that Austin is no fluke.

But how will he adjust against better, more physical corners at the line of scrimmage? It may be a steep learning curve, yet with more spread concepts being introduced in the pro game and Austin's returning ability, he becomes an attractive first-round option.

Unlike the others on this list for the most part, there is no questioning Austin's accomplishments as a collegian.

Should he simply continue to do what he's always done and be electric in the open field, the team that selects him will have gotten a steal. However, it is definitely a risk to spend a first-round choice on Austin despite the excitement he brings to the table.


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