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Hackenberg among biggest boom-or-bust prospects in NFL Draft


When we classify prospects as "boom or bust," we're referring to players who will either realize their full potential or fall woefully short of it once they enter the NFL -- there will be no middle ground. Here are 10 players that I believe fit that description.

Baylor WR Corey Coleman

It goes without saying that receivers from certain heralded offensive "systems" have a limited amount of success stories in the pros dating all the way back to Steve Spurrier's "Fun and Gun" at Florida. Coleman was able to overwhelm Big 12 cornerbacks with speed and explosiveness, but he'll have to become much better with his route running once he's matched up against NFL-caliber athletes. Coleman will either be a double-digit touchdown maker or just another footnote with "benefited from college scheme" next to his name in five years.

Texas A&M OL Germain Ifedi

Ifedi has great size and length. He flashes the quality footwork that has helped Texas A&M produce three first-round tackles in a row. However, his lack of consistency is a concern. Teams must first decide if Ifedi is a guard or tackle and then he has to learn to be more patient with his hands and technically sound or he'll forever have issues. He does have a high ceiling to be sure.


Draft coverage:

Texas Tech OT Le'Raven Clark

Clark has the traits teams are looking for, but the tape can be unkind to him. Keep in mind that playing fast is much more coveted than hyper-focusing on technique, so Clark has tremendous room for growth with more coaching. However, if Clark is unable to take the coaching and improve upon his areas of weakness, he will be an early-round bust.

Indiana RB Jordan Howard

The tape would indicate that Howard might be the second-best running back in this draft. Howard is a natural runner with excellent vision and finishes each run like it's his last. There's one problem: Howard's punishing rushing style is great for grinding out additional yardage but creates excessive wear and tear on the body. Howard missed four games and part of three others with injuries to his knee and ankle. Howard has the talent, but it won't matter if he's not healthy.

Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg

Hackenberg has ideal NFL size and a booming right arm that can leave your jaw agape. Of course, half the time your jaw is hitting the ground in awe while the other half of it is hitting the ground because of his wild inaccuracy. It seems like there will be teams trying to sell themselves on his 2013 tape (his best season) but is that wise? Hit or miss, it is unlikely Hackenberg will be a middling quarterback.

Notre Dame WR Will Fuller

I could write many of the exact same things about Fuller that I wrote about Corey Coleman. Fuller is a speed merchant who can get open vertically and hit the big play, but he also has a ton of drops throughout his career. Fuller will never be a high-volume catch player so his "boom or bust" potential is at least as high as Coleman's.

Penn State DE Carl Nassib

Nassib's size and length have NFL scouts salivating, but does his overall play have them feeling the same way? The former walk-on was ultra-productive in 2015. However, he has a pedestrian lower body and isn't as strong as he needs to be, so we'll see if those long levers end up helping him become a plus pass rusher or just a one-year wonder from the Big Ten.

Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche

Much of the "bust" concern has to fall into the category of maturity/character. There are definitely teams that believe Nkemdiche could become a problem with more time and money on his hands as a pro. However, if he matures as a person and player, and if he can respond to his coaching, we might be looking at a multiple Pro Bowl player. Which will it be?

Miami CB Artie Burns

His stock has skyrocketed since defensive backs coaches have been able to dig into his tape. Burns catches like a wide receiver and is a championship hurdler, so you know he's athletic. The tape and technique are raw and uneven, and Burns appears to coast on his athleticism too often. Great potential, but a projection player with a lower floor.

Clemson S T.J. Green

When you watch Green's tape, there isn't really enough there to get too excited, but when he put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, teams took immediate notice. There are teams who believe he has cornerback skills and that he could become a good, scheme-flexible piece on the back end, but there is also a concern that he could be overdrafted based simply on his workouts.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.



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