There's no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to the NFL draft. Teams are constantly trying to weigh the risks that come with drafting a prospect against the potential rewards. This year is no different. Here is my list of the biggest boom-or-bust candidates at each position in the 2013 NFL Draft class:
QUARTERBACK: Mike Glennon, N.C. State -- Glennon has outstanding size and arm strength, and he flashes the ability to accurately squeeze the football into very tight windows. However, he can generate turnovers in bunches when things start to go downhill. Will he end up being the next Joe Flacco, or will his career path mirror that of Derek Anderson?
RUNNING BACK: Christine Michael, Texas A&M -- Michael is probably the most physically gifted running back in this draft class. However, he's had some off-the-field issues and a plethora of injuries that have scared off more than a few teams. He could emerge as the steal of the draft -- or he could be out of the league in a few seasons.
WIDE RECEIVER: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee -- I love the raw tools that Patterson possesses. He is a vertical weapon and an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands. However, he only has one year of Division I experience, and teams have been less than impressed with him during the interview process.
TIGHT END: Vance McDonald, Rice -- McDonald doesn't carry the off-the-field risk that most on this list do. His biggest issue is that he isn't a natural pass catcher. At the Senior Bowl, he dropped or double-caught numerous passes during the practice sessions. That is his only issue; otherwise, he is an outstanding athlete who could emerge as the top tight end in this draft class.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE: Menelik Watson, Florida State -- Watson grew up in England, and basketball was his sport of choice. He played hoops at Marist College before transferring to a junior college to play football. After one season, he transferred to Florida State. He only spent one season there before declaring early for the 2013 NFL Draft. He has the size and foot quickness to be a solid NFL tackle, but his inexperience and passion for the game has several teams concerned.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE: Dallas Thomas, Tennessee -- There isn't an ideal boom-or-bust candidate among the interior offensive linemen. However, if I had to choose one, I would go with Thomas. He has the tools to be one of the top interior blockers in this class, but he's very inconsistent on tape. He dominates in some moments and has mental lapses -- leading him to give up pressures -- in others.
Kinkhabwala: Global phenomenon
Aditi Kinkhabwala has the scoop on a wave of international prospects headed by top talents like Ziggy Ansah. More ...
DEFENSIVE END: Ziggy Ansah, BYU -- Ansah could hear his name called as high as fifth overall by the Detroit Lions. They should know him better than the other 31 teams after coaching him at the Senior Bowl. Ansah's output that week in Mobile shows exactly why he's on this list. He struggled mightily during the week of practices before putting together a dominant performance in the Senior Bowl game. Ansah has the tools to be a double-digit sack artist at the next level, but his lack of college experience (he only started one year at BYU) and production are major concerns.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: John Jenkins, Georgia -- Jenkins is an enormous man with the power and strength to develop into a dominant 3-4 nose tackle. However, his motor isn't consistently running, and teams are concerned he will struggle to keep his weight in check.
LINEBACKER: Zaviar Gooden, Missouri -- There hasn't been much chatter about Gooden, but he's one of the most athletic prospects in the entire draft class. He ran a blazing 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, and that speed shows up when you study his tape. The concern with Gooden is his lack of ideal instincts. It doesn't matter how fast you're moving if you can't locate the football.
CORNERBACK: Darius Slay, Mississippi State -- Slay is one of the fastest risers in this draft class. He put on a show at the combine by running an impressive 4.36 40. He played in the shadow of Johnthan Banks at Mississippi State, but he's surpassed the Thorpe Award winner on several draft boards since the end of the college season. I love his tools, but his footwork is very raw and he'll need some time to develop.
SAFETY: Duke Williams, Nevada -- Williams is a fun player to watch on tape. He flies around and delivers some impressive hits while flashing range and ball skills in the back end. He has the skill set to be a solid starter at the next level, but there are some concerns regarding his off-the-field troubles. Some teams are convinced that he has matured and can be trusted, while others aren't so sure.