NFL teams bank on the first round of the draft providing them with an impact starter. In a five-year span from 2013-17, an average of only 12 players taken in the first round have made at least one Pro Bowl appearance. There are ways to minimize the risk but, sometimes, the potential reward outweighs it.
Here are some of the prospects that teams need to be cautious of in the 2020 NFL Draft:
From 2013-17, 6 of 11 quarterbacks taken in the first round would have been considered a success. Jameis Winston and Teddy Bridgewater were counted in the success category although an argument could be made in either direction. There is a level of risk that comes with taking any quarterback in the first round.
The 2020 NFL Draft has no shortage of flawed quarterback prospects. Utah State's Jordan Love provides several moments of frustration. When the game is going sour, he is prone to making additional mistakes. Oregon's Justin Herbert has shown that he needs to be in an offense that is going to accentuate his strengths. He is not going to be able to step in to any offensive system and find success. The concerns regarding Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa are obvious. He is coming off a devastating injury and teams have not been as exposed as they normally would to his medical results this offseason.
Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton
Becton has not fully realized his potential. There are a lot of ways in which he can improve. The saving grace is that he moves well and his sheer size will present problems to opposing edge rushers until he does figure it all out. Becton is included among the top offensive tackle prospects in this class along with Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, Georgia's Andrew Thomas and Alabama's Jedrick Wills. His ceiling is rumored to be as high as No. 4 overall to the New York Giants. His floor would likely be No. 14 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A trio of Tigers
Edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson, cornerback Kristian Fulton and safety Grant Delpit all carry a certain level of risk.
Chaisson has shown his talents in spades. He is pliable around the edge and adept in coverage. However, his production does not match other elite pass rushers that we have seen recently. Kentucky's Josh Allen had 17 sacks as a senior. Ohio State's Chase Young had 10.5 sacks despite missing some action in 2019.
Fulton gets a bit handsy downfield and that will be a problem in the NFL. The league is protecting wide receivers more than ever, which could lead to several penalties. His draft stock has fluctuated throughout the process similar to what his teammate, Greedy Williams, went through a year ago. Williams was ultimately taken in the second round.
Delpit was a stud in 2018 and a surefire top-10 prospect entering the 2019 season. He regressed as a tackler and did not reflect the elite talent that evaluators had seen a year earlier. At the NFL combine, he opened up about a high ankle sprain that hampered him during his final collegiate season. What did the medical check tell NFL teams? Are they buying that his ankle injury was the reason for his regression?
LSU will have a large presence in this year's draft. Quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire all appear to be clean prospects.
USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson
Jackson donated bone marrow to his sister ahead of the 2019 season. He told CBS Sports at the NFL combine that it took him four games into the season before he could lift with his back. The potential is obvious but the potential is also known as production unrealized. The Arizona native offers high upside but certainly presents a gamble as well. He is projected to be taken in the latter half of the first round. Several teams are lining up with a need for an offensive tackle.