2020 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Boom-or-Bust Prospects

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIApril 2, 2020

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) passes against Texas A&M during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Sam Craft/Associated Press

In the NFL draft, there's always an element of risk-taking. And with some prospects, there could be a lot of downside. 

This year's draft class has some players who could be considered boom-or-bust prospects. They have the potential to be breakout stars in the NFL, but there's also a chance they could never live up to expectations and set back a franchise for years.

Along with a mock draft of the first round, here's a look at three such prospects in this year's class.

                            

2020 NFL Mock Draft, 1st Round

1. Cincinnati: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

3. Detroit: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

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4. N.Y. Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

5. Miami: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

6. L.A. Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

7. Carolina: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

8. Arizona: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

9. Jacksonville: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

10. Cleveland: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

11. N.Y. Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

12. Las Vegas: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

13. San Francisco (via Indianapolis): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

14. Tampa Bay: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

15. Denver: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

16. Atlanta: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

17. Dallas: K'Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

18. Miami (via Pittsburgh): Josh Jones, OT, Houston

19. Las Vegas (via Chicago): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

20. Jacksonville (via L.A. Rams): Antoine Winfield Jr., S/CB, Minnesota

21. Philadelphia: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

22. Minnesota (via Buffalo): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

23. New England: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

24. New Orleans: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

25. Minnesota: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

26. Miami (via Houston): D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

27. Seattle: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

28. Baltimore: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

29. Tennessee: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

30. Green Bay: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

31. San Francisco: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

32. Kansas City: Cesar Ruiz, C/G, Michigan

                    

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

There's no doubt Tua Tagovailoa is the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in this draft class.

Tagovailoa has the potential to be an electric quarterback with top-tier talent. He flashed that excellence throughout his career at Alabama, and especially once he became its starter in 2018. That season, he passed for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions and was a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Last year, Tagovailoa passed for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. His numbers were down because of a dislocated hip that required surgery and ended his season in November. And that's where the bust potential comes in.

If Tagovailoa can't stay healthy—or if his injury had a negative effect on his skill set—then there's a chance he won't live up to his potential. It probably won't prevent a team from drafting him early in the first round, likely within the first six picks, but there is a slight risk.

Tagovailoa will likely be drafted by either the Washington Redskins (No. 2), Miami Dolphins (No. 5) or Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6). It would be a surprise if he's available longer than that.

                        

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Henry Ruggs III has blazing speed. He proved that when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine, the best time of any player at the event. What's more, that was only 0.05 seconds off the record set by John Ross in 2017.

It helps to have elite speed if you're a wide receiver, but that doesn't always translate to success in the NFL, especially immediately. Ross was the No. 9 overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017, but he has only 716 receiving yards in 24 games over his first three seasons.

While there's some bust potential for Ruggs, he also could quickly become a top playmaker for a team. Although he never had more than 746 receiving yards in a season for Alabama, the Crimson Tide had a lot of talented players on their offense, such as fellow wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who is also going to be a first-round pick this year.

Ruggs won't be on the board for long because there are plenty of teams in the first half of the opening round that need to add a wide receiver. A good fit for Ruggs would be the Denver Broncos, with whom he could quickly become a deep-ball threat for young quarterback Drew Lock and get plenty of playing time to develop.

                   

Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

As one of the top tight ends in this draft class, Cole Kmet is likely to be drafted fairly early. The former Notre Dame standout may not get selected in the first round, but he shouldn't be available too long after the second round gets underway.

Last season, Kmet had 43 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns. At 6'6" and 262 pounds, he has the size to make a quick impact in the NFL for a team that is either weak at tight end or needs to add depth at the position.

However, there's also a chance Kmet doesn't post the same type of numbers in the pros. He is somewhat unproven, as entering the 2019 season (his junior year), he had only 17 receptions for 176 yards and no touchdowns over his first two years with the Fighting Irish.

Expect Kmet to get selected early on the second day of the draft and to get plenty of playing time during his rookie season. How he performs could give a good indication of how his professional career may go.