Some NFL draft prospects end up performing at a high level during their careers. Others turn out to be combine superstars who couldn’t hack it on the big stage. It’s impossible to tell which will be which on draft day. What’s inevitable is that some prospects will see their stock fall for one reason or another, and they won’t get picked as high as they thought they would. Let’s look at six prospects who might slide a long way during the NFL draft.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
There’s been a buzz surrounding Jones due to him playing for David Cutcliffe in college. Cutcliffe is the offensive genius who tutored both Peyton and Eli Manning. Get past Cutcliffe’s pedigree, however, and you’re left with a QB in Jones without the ability to get the ball downfield as well as other prospects in this draft.
Jones’ college performance was average at best, and if enough teams look past his coach, they may not want to take a chance on an unspectacular performer with only upside to offer.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Some early mock drafts had Haskins going to the Giants at No. 6. According to NBC Sports football writer Peter King, that may no longer be the case. He’s heard reports that Haskins’ draft stock is sinking, which may lead him to be the fourth QB taken after Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, and Drew Lock.
Haskins seems like a great fit in New York. He’s a stereotypical drop back passer who doesn’t like going out of the pocket, much like Eli Manning. While it would be surprising if the G-Men don’t take him in the first round, if they don’t Haskins may fall considerably.
DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker’s competitiveness and ability to perform are his trademarks. He had a great senior season at Georgia. His coverage technique is also unparalleled.
The main issue with Baker is his speed, or lack of it. Corners at the pro level need elite speed, and Baker falls short of that. He may excel in zone coverage or as a nickel cover but may have issues keeping up with teams’ No. 1 or even No. 2 receivers. That may hurt his draft status and cause him to fall out of the first round.
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Gary is a physical freak who performed well at the combine. He has all the physical gifts needed to be an excellent pass rusher. The issue is his performance in college. His production in college failed to meet his traits and talent, according to his NFL draft profile.
Gary represents the classic philosophical struggle of the draft: Should you draft on performance or potential? If teams think his underwhelming college career is indicative of what he’ll do in the NFL, his physical skills may not be enough to save him from sliding on draft day.
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence was a key cog for one of college football’s best defenses and overall teams last season. He has several shortcomings, however, including an inability to find the edges as a rusher and declining production since a stellar freshman season.
There’s also the matter of Lawrence’s positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs before the 2019 college football playoffs. While it’s impossible to debate how much these may have factored into Lawrence’s performance, the mere taint of the positive tests may be enough to scare teams off during the draft.
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Allen had an impressive college career, but he’s seen as something of a tweener defensively. He’s not a great fit for either the 3-4 or 4-3 defensive schemes. He gives superior effort and has a high football IQ, but he’s seen as having below average athleticism. That may not cut it at the pro level. Teams in the first round of the NFL draft may take a pass on Allen if they find a player with more perceived upside.