Every season, the NFL Draft brings hope to teams looking for players that will bring them present and future success. Campus stars are drafted to become franchise cornerstones.
College stardom does not ensure NFL success, however. Neither does size or athleticism.
For every player that makes a Pro Bowl, there will be many more that are viewed as a bust. These players have red flags that should concern any team selecting them in the first round of April's draft.
Ezekiel Ansah: DE/OLB, BYU
In the NFL Draft process, GMs, coaches and scouts are tasked with evaluating a player in the present and projecting what kind of player he will become. "Potential" and "upside" become two of the most used words by everyone involved in the draft process.
Ezekiel Ansah has become one of the players in this draft that represents how enamored everyone can become with potential. During his senior season at BYU, Ansah managed just 4.5 sacks, but scouts are in love with his size and athleticism.
While the draft process is still early, "raw" is the word most used to describe him. After the Senior Bowl, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com had this to say about Ansah:
Ansah is one of the most physically gifted players in this draft class, but he showed this week that he still has a lot of developing to do. During pass-rush periods, he repeatedly tried to work through the numbers of the offensive tackle, but his bull rush was rarely effective. He flashed one inside-spin move, but otherwise was predictable and unsuccessful in his pass-rushing attempts.
If Ansah tests well at the NFL Combine, he will likely be a mid-first round pick. However, he has a long way to go to become an elite NFL pass-rusher.
Keenan Allen: WR, Cal
There is no doubt that Cal's Keenan Allen looks the part of an elite wide receiver; he is listed at 6'3" and 210 pounds.
There are two concerns about Allen heading into the draft. First, scouts question his speed. ESPN Insider Todd McShay projects Allen as a late first-round pick, yet wrote "Allen lacks elite top end speed." If Allen doesn't have the speed to be a downfield threat, is he worthy of a first-round pick?
An even bigger concern about Allen should be his junior year production. He did miss the final three games of his junior year, but he still only managed 737 yards and six touchdowns receiving. His 12.1 yards per reception was only good for 24th in the Pac-12.
Allen had a great sophomore season, but his junior year should cast doubts on what he can do in the NFL
Matt Barkley: QB, USC
Last draft's quarterback class could become one of the best ever, with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson all looking like they could make multiple Pro Bowls.
This year the quarterback class looks less than stellar. One of the guys in the running to be the first quarterback selected is USC's Matt Barkley.
After an impressive junior campaign, Barkley returned to school to compete for a national championship. Barkley struggled by his standards and USC finished 7-6.
Barkley is definitely not to blame for all the problems with USC, but he definitely failed to meet expectations after his junior year. He threw for fewer yards and touchdowns, completed a lower percentage of passes and had eight more interceptions.
Add those issues to the fact that Barkley is only 6'2" and doesn't make plays with his feet, and there are several red flags for any team looking to draft him in the first round.