In every NFL Draft, there are always 1st round prospects that never “lived up to expectations.” Sometimes there are complete bust, and sometimes there are guys who just never play like a typical 1st rounder. Let’s look 1st rounders from the 2017 NFL Draft that could potentially flop in the NFL.
Defensive Lineman Solomon Thomas
During the draft process last year, Thomas was regarded as one of the best players in the draft. Some called him a safe pick. But after his rookie year, he’s showing that he may not be as good as people thought. He really doesn’t have a great fit for any position on the defensive line. The 49ers drafted him to be one of their defensive ends in their 4-3 defense. However, he’s not a great fit for defensive end. He tdoesn’t have the quickness or speed to get around the edge. He let tackles push him around pretty easily. With his skill set, he’s more fit to be a 4-3 defensive tackle, or 3-4 interior defensive lineman. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the weight you’d want. He only weighs 256 lbs. That is nowhere near where he needs to be weight wise. Whenever he played interior last year, he was getting pushed back in the run game. However, he can be an affective as a nickel interior lineman. He specializes in pass rushing from the inside. He’s really good with hand usage and swim moves while on the inside. Unless Thomas suddenly has the quickness for defensive end or puts on some good weight, his role is going to be limited to a nickel interior defensive lineman. While he won’t be a bust, having a limited role as a nickel interior lineman isn’t very ideal for a 3rd overall pick.
Wide Receiver Mike Williams
The 7th overall pick struggled his rookie year. He just had 11 catches for 95 yards. A big part of this was his injuries. He’s been dealing with injuries since his college days. He dealt with shoulder and knee injuries last year that kept him out. It also doesn’t help that Williams has a very limited route tree. He can only seem to run the fly route, slants, and curls. Despite his incredible hands, he won’t be affective wide receiver if he can’t improve his route tree. We’ve seen many wide receivers have good hands, but not make it in the league because they only have their hands. Between Williams injury concerns and his limited route tree, he may not make it in the league.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
We didn’t get a great look at Mahomes last year. We saw him Week 17 against the Broncos, where he didn’t look great, but didn’t look terrible. Chiefs won this game 27-24. Mahomes just has a lot of traits that scream bust. Like Josh Allen, he has a big arm with accuracy issues. It doesn’t matter how big your arm is if you can’t get the ball to where it needs to go. He won’t make it in the league if he can’t be accurate. Also, his feet are a mess. He needs to settle down his feet. He could have a clean pocket, but he’d have both feet in the air while throwing. He has trouble settling his feet before releasing the ball. That factors in his accuracy issues. Of course he can fix that, but that’s easier said than done. If Mahomes can’t clean up his accuracy or feet, he won’t last long in the league.
Safety Jabrill Peppers
Peppers struggled tremendously his rookie year. Browns did not use him correctly at all. Peppers is best suited for a a string safety/linebacker type role. Browns used him as a free safety. That didn’t go well. But even if they use him correctly, he would of struggled. As I said, Peppers is best suited for a linebacker/strong safety role. However, he doesn’t have a true position between the 2. In college, Peppers was best at linebacker. However, linebackers isn’t going to work for him in the NFL. He only weights 213 lbs, that is extremely underweight for a linebacker in the NFL. He also has trouble tackling and getting off blocks, that’s not very ideal for a linebacker. Also not very ideal at strong safety, where he should be playing the most. Despite his quickness, his instincts are really bad. His pursuit was also really bad. He often under or over pursuit someone and miss the tackle. We didn’t get a great sense of his coverage skills at strong safety, because he was rarely in coverage as a safety in college, but he only had 1 interception his college career, and it was off a tipped pass. His coverage skills at free safety we’re pretty bad, but you can’t blame him for that. In every draft, there’s always a 1st rounder who goes way too high because he’s athletic, but doesn’t have the skills set. And Peppers was that player in the 2017 draft. Unless Peppers can fix all of that up, he won’t make it in the league. On the bright side, he’s a great punt returner.