The 5 riskiest first-round NFL Draft prospects
All of these players have first round talent, but there are some questions about where they will actually get drafted based on some baggage they bring to the table. Some of these are injury related and some are character concerns.
Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
McKinley shocked most people when he revealed the fact that he needed shoulder surgery after the NFL Scouting Combine. It was not a small operation, either, as he reportedly needed to fix a torn labrum and a fracture in his shoulder. He did play the entire season with the bad shoulder and even performed all of the drills at the Combine, including putting up 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench. This will give some teams a small pause, but his relentless effort on the field and genuine love of competition will still get him selected in the first 15 to 20 picks of the NFL Draft.
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
In what can only be described as a strange incident, Foster was sent home early from the Combine for reportedly getting into a “heated exchange” with a hospital worker while waiting for his tests. His former teammates and coaches, including Nick Saban, have come to his aid in describing him as a quality teammate, leader and person. I still expect that he comes off the board in the first 11 picks.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook has had trouble with his hamstrings during his career, which has slowed him at times. He also has had three different operations on his shoulders since high school, which has led to some ball security issues. Lastly, he has had a few run-ins with the law dating back to his high school days. With a very deep crop of running backs, these issues will likely impact Cook's draft position. While I expect him to still get taken in the first round, it is not a guarantee.
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Last summer, Robinson was arrested on gun and marijuana possession charges. The circumstances around the arrest as well as the dropped charges are somewhat curious, and NFL teams will have to do some hunting to get to the bottom of it. The bottom line is that all of this happened in a rental car that Robinson was driving. Robinson is still a terrific player and will get selected late in the first round mainly because of a lack of depth at the position group and the need in the NFL for tackles.
Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
The domestic violence issue that envelops the Oklahoma running back has been well chronicled and will be a huge issue for whoever shows interest in Mixon, much less tries to select him. If only evaluating his talent, he is a first-round player, however this issue will and has collapsed his value. Don’t expect to hear Joe Mixon get called in this year's draft until day three, if at all.