Published On: Tue, Apr 24th, 2018

5 prospects to be avoided in the NFL draft's 1st round

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The first round of the NFL draft often dictates the immediate trajectory of a team. If it lands a future star or two within the first round, it can immediately raise the profile of a cellar-dwellar into playoff contender.

It’s imperative this year that teams nail their first-round pick, with seemingly two-thirds on the league presented with a passable chance at the postseason this fall.

With that in mind, here are five players teams should avoid in the first round:

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Although there hasn’t been a consensus built on who the Browns will take first overall, Allen is very much in the running, with some analysts clearly labeling the Wyoming product as the top quarterback in the draft. This is an indictment of #DraftTwitter, which values conceits such as “arm talent.” Though, Allen himself decreed “stats are for losers,” a likely response to a query about his accuracy issues.

Would you be comfortable placing a player who completed 56 percent of his passes while at Wyoming into the spotlight as the face of your NFL franchise? It’s a quandary that scouting staffs and general managers will face Thursday. Allen will certainly be taken in the first round but some team may live to regret valuing a player with a rocket launcher of an arm over more proven collegiate stars.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

There is only one running back worthy of a first-round grade and that goes to Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, not Guice. Guice rushed for over 1,200 yards in his last two seasons at LSU but has been used sparingly as a receiver and he would represent better value on Day 2.

While a debate rages on about whether it’s efficient to take a running back in the first round, this isn’t why Guice is being penalized here. Simply, this year’s running back class is loaded with talent that could be found on Day 2, and an overreach for Guice could look dreadful with numerous backs looking to seize carries immediately upon being drafted. After Barkley is taken, it’s worth waiting for a quality running back, Guice included.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is often mentioned as the best wide receiver from a relatively weak cohort. Although there are several teams in need of a quality downfield threat, there are a few reasons to be wary of the two-time national champion.

It’ll be difficult to label Ridley as an injection of youth into his team’s offense when he turns 24 in November. Though it isn’t a disqualifying factor, teams will have to calculate how many years they’ll get out of Ridley and whether the fact that he’ll be entering his prime on his rookie deal serves as an asset or a detracting factor, as he’ll be 30 by his seventh year in the league. Ridley never matched the production he displayed during his prodigious freshman year at Alabama, which could also be concerning. Avoid Ridley if you can.

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

To be clear, Hurst is a first-round talent. The 22-year-old was reportedly diagnosed with a heart condition at the NFL combine, however, which ought to make some teams weary of investing draft capital on the former Michigan defensive tackle. It would be in poor taste to speculate how Hurst performs while battling the condition, but it also has reportedly scared a few teams off.

Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Hughes starred during UCF’s undefeated season but it will be a tough transition to the NFL for the undersized cornerback. Although he compiled an excellent junior year, Hughes was a one-year wonder, who was largely known for his proficiency in the return game as opposed to his work against wide receivers. It’s possible that Hughes may be propelled due to a small sample size, which could lead to a huge learning curve in the NFL.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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