Some Potentially Risky Selections in the 2015 NFL Draft

Every year, there are players who have the physical traits to be drafted highly but have some degree of risk attached to them. The risk could be a character thing, a medical issue, or they haven’t played up to their potential. It’s the clubs that draft these players have to weigh the risk versus the reward of making the selection. It could turn out to be a home run or just a bunt. We won’t know the real answer until the player has a few years in the league. That said, the following are some players that carry a notable degree of risk. Todd Gurley – RB – Georgia As we all know, Gurley suffered a severe knee injury last fall. He had surgery to repair an ACL, and when at the Combine, he wouldn’t let team doctors examine his knee. He did have an MRI, and according to two different sources, he also had at least one other MRI on another part of his body. Tomorrow, he will return to Indianapolis for the medical rechecks. How his knee checks out will go a long way towards where he is drafted. Don’t look for any team to leak the results of the exam. Even when healthy, running backs have relatively short careers, so if the exam shows potential problems going forward, Gurley could drop on draft day. Things the doctors will be looking for are the strength and stability of the knee joint as well as checking if any arthritis has taken place. Arthritic conditions cannot be cured, only the pain can be monitored. When any player has an arthritic condition, it only gets worse over time and can shorten a player’s career. P.J. Williams – DC – Florida St Williams was recently charged with a DUI. To let that happen so close to the draft is not very smart on Williams’ part. Clubs will now look more closely at Williams's off field activities to see if this was a one-time situation or if he has a potential problem. The last thing a club wants is to lose a high draft choice to suspension because of an alcohol abuse problem. Randy Gregory – OLB/DE – Nebraska Gregory came out and publicly admitted that he tested positive for marijuana at the Combine. That alone puts up a red flag. Every player that goes to the Combine knows that he will be drug tested. If a person tests positive he is either stupid or has a problem. That said, sources have also told me that Gregory has been less than impressive in interviews and some question his focus and overall mindset. Gregory is a talented edge pass rusher and if he hadn’t tested positive, he would have definitely been a top 10 selection. Now I would just be guessing as to what area of the first round he gets selected. While I am sure he will still be a first round pick, the team that selects him has to be a bit nervous as Gregory begins his NFL career. Marcus Peters – DC – Washington Without question, Peters is one of the more talented corners in this draft. That said, there are two concerns about him going into the draft. The first is the question of whether he is coachable. He got kicked off the Washington team for arguing with coaches. If NFL people feel he is going to be a problem, his stock will drop. You can bet that many teams did an inordinate amount of research on Peters by checking with the current staff at Washington and the previous staff. They want all questions about character and coachability answered before they pull the trigger on drafting Peters. The other question about Peters is speed. At Indy he ran 4.53 and 4.57. That is hardly elite speed for a stop watch driven position. Usually when a player runs poorly at the Combine, they will run again at their pro day. Peters declined to run the 40 again, which tells us he knows he can’t run any faster than he did at the Combine. To draft a player with 4.55 speed at the corner position in the first round, a club has to be very sure of his coverage ability. Jameis Winston – QB – Florida St. I have already written plenty about Winston over the past few months. Winston obviously has the talent to become a very good NFL quarterback. What could hold him back is the off field issues. I understand that people say it’s a case of immaturity. I don’t buy that. My experience tells me that very few people change. If he had off field issues in college, they will continue in the NFL. I’m sure that the team that drafts him (most likely Tampa Bay) hopes that he has grown and everything is behind him. If that is the case he can become an excellent selection. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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