Draft Feature: Raw Talent

The Detroit Lions reportedly have deep interest in Sammy Watkins, who is considered a relatively safe pick. 

Franchises that boast the luxury of drafting for the future have been targeting developmental prospects with raw athleticism.

While stable teams have the luxury to develop riskier draftees for several seasons, several undeveloped prospects are projected in the Top 5/rebuilding franchise range.

Jim Dedmon/Icon SMI
Jim Dedmon/Icon SMI

It’s common knowledge by now that DE Jadeveon Clowney, who is likely to be taken first off the board, is a freak of nature. Just the thought of his combination of size (6’6″, 266) and speed (4.53 40-yard dash) is appetizing to scouts.

Yet, some of the most infamous busts have had remarkable physical skill sets. DE Vernon Gholston (6’4″, 258/4.67) was the New York Jets’ eighth overall selection in 2008. He only played in three seasons with the Gang Green. Gholston recorded zero career sacks throughout his nauseating career.

Athleticism is a plus, but franchises in win-now mode need to take deliberate caution before taking seemingly Olympic-caliber sprinter or lifter. Physical talent often overshadows football ability, and a botched Top 10 pick can hold franchises back for several seasons.

Just ask the Oakland Raiders how the JaMarcus Russell selection panned out.

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