Courtesy of its varied depth of prospects, the 2013 NFL draft has created an interesting set of risky players.
Typically, quarterbacks and receivers rule the draft and rightfully so, given pro football's pass-oriented approach. By the same token, though, the incredible talent in the trenches this year has put more pressure on those expected to impact the passing game (on both sides).
Whether it's a signal-caller or electric playmaker, failing to impress as rookies will keep them off the field as patience runs low. Defensively, every team needs that standout rusher or No. 1 corner to lock away half the secondary.
But not disrupting behind the line or generating turnovers becomes a strong cause for concern. That said, the following prospects have more risk than anticipated, but do offer the overall talent worth the investment.
Logan Ryan: CB, Rutgers
Logan Ryan had one productive career for Rutgers by defending 38 passes and recording 161 tackles between 2011 and 2012. What that also means, however, is that quarterbacks consistently challenged Ryan despite his ability to make plays.
There are times where he'll get caught peeking in the backfield, which causes Ryan to get initially beat after the snap. Fortunately, he does bring the explosive acceleration and lateral quickness to catch up.
At the combine he clocked 6.69 seconds on the three-cone drill and 4.06 on the 20-yard shuttle. This athleticism alone makes him valuable as a nickel or dimeback in Cover 1 or 3.
Provided Ryan improves at getting off blocks and reacting to the run quicker, he'll develop as a No. 2 corner. The ball skills and field awareness exist. It's simply a matter of getting more physical and winning jams at the line to isolate better in man-to-man.
Da'Rick Rogers: WR, Tennessee Tech
Da’Rick Rogers said Tuesday that failed drug tests led to his suspension from the Tennessee football team and transfer to Tennessee Tech.
“There were a couple of drugs tests,” said Rogers, a 6-foot-2, 206-pound junior from Calhoun, Ga. “It wasn’t anything too crazy. It was about me being a young, immature guy, and those are things I’ve got to work on. I plan to do that.”
To that end, Rogers entered Tennessee Tech after catching 67 passes for 1,040 yards in 2011 for the Volunteers. Throughout 2012 he followed that performance up nicely with 893 yards on 61 receptions and 10 scores.
Possessing the size and incredible explosiveness to defeat single coverage and accumulate yards after the catch, Rogers will make an impact. During the combine he dominated the competition with 6.71 seconds on the three-cone drill, 4.06 on the 20-yard shuttle and a 132 inch-broad jump.
His natural talent and solid production is simply too tough to pass up.
Mike Glennon: QB, North Carolina State
Measured at 6'7" and 225 pounds, North Carolina State's Mike Glennon features the size and strength to make every NFL throw.
The downside, though, are his 29 interceptions over the past two seasons and a combined 60.5 completion percentage. So, Glennon's accuracy and immediate decision-making must get more consistent to show pro development.
On the bright side he did toss for 7,085 yards and 62 touchdowns between 2011 and 2012. And although Glennon spent plenty of time from shotgun, he has sound mechanics and is better under center than at first glance.
Improving his pre-snap reads will make him productive in the NFL. Plus, he wasn't given the best pocket protection either—he was sacked 67 times over the previous 26 games.
Michael Buchanan: DE/LB, Illinois
The versatility of Michael Buchanan is what makes him most appealing.
It's also that dynamic athleticism that helped him record 20.5 tackles for loss and defend seven passes for Illinois between 2011 and 2012. As for risk, Buchanan's size at 6'5" and 255 pounds could limit him to being a 3-4 rush linebacker in the NFL.
He wasn't an extensively dominant rusher and must develop a greater jump at the snap. Reacting quicker to the run and maintaining assignment discipline is also required to see the field in pro football.
Still, Buchanan's short-area quickness (6.91-second three-cone drill) makes him capable of tracking from the backside and getting pressure. Not to mention he has the strength that will develop as well.
In short, taking advantage of one-on-one situations constricting the running lanes will make Buchanan's impact much greater.