Every year there are those players in the draft who either fall or just have certain fan groups because they have high reward and high ceilings. But the reason those players don't go earlier is likely because they have quite a bit of risk to them.
These are 10 players who I'm hearing a lot of hype for who could hold some future regret for the team that picks them. These are my biggest boom/bust potential players.
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
I watch Florida pretty closely, so I have a soft spot in my heart for Jachai. But I am not ignorant to the fact that there is a lot of boom/bust potential in him. At his peak, Polite had some of the best pass rushing tape in the country from 2018. He also showed he could be stout as a run defender, when he wanted to.
That brings us to the potential bust part: the want to. There are clips from Polite's 2017 tape that show him hustling ball carries down 40 yards down the field. People watch that and think Polite's motor is unquestionably high. But then there are instances in 2018 where he shied away from being physical or gave up on plays before he had to. This opens things up to some questions.
Which Polite is an NFL team getting? At peak effort, he's a stud. Will he always be a peak effort? After all, the team that selects him will likely have to burn a first round pick on him.
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
When the best version of Deionte Thompson has been present, we've seen as true difference maker at safety. We saw a player who had all the range you would want from a free safety, a guy who would come up and lay his body on the line for hits on bigger ball carriers, and a motor that was always going at 100 miles per hour.
But late in the season, especially against Alabama's best competition all year, Thompson not only shrunk but was a liability. He was frozen and fooled in coverage, and he just did not look like the same player we saw before.
With limited starts under his belt, selecting Thompson comes with a risk of wondering which tape was the real Thompson.
Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Gary has been a unanimous Top 5 pick for almost a year now by big media guys in the NFL, and honestly I've never seen eye-to-eye with them on that. Gary has rare explosive traits for an edge player of his size, but the bend and the flexibility are not there on a consistent level. I think he does his best work when he can shoot gaps and be aggressive to offensive linemen to their face, and that's not an edge player, that's an interior player.
The risk here is really in where you draft him. If you're drafting Gary anywhere from Pick No. 15 on in the first round, that's fine, but taking a guy with physical limitations and tweener traits in the Top 10 is way more risky than some people seem to be leading you to believe with Gary.
Emmanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
When I first watched Emmanuel Hall's tape, I thought there was no way you were drafting this guy before Day 3 -- what good is a wide receiver if he can't catch it when the ball gets to him? There were far too many inconsistencies with drops in his 2017 tape. But 2018 was better in that regard, and you can't deny the kind of dynamic wide receiver he is. When he blows up the Combine, people will take notice, but that doesn't jus erase the bad traits.
Hall is a player who you can make a highlight reel for and think he's a Top 50 player, but the whole game tape shows a bigger risk than that.
Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Speaking of highlight reel players, Abram has made a draft narrative out of big hits and high-flying speed. He is a physical player who doesn't shy away from contact in any way. But though the hits are big-time, there are times where his desire to put someone on their back comes at the price of a blown assignment or being overly aggressive.
What you love about Abram is always what needs work, and anytime that's the case things get tricky. You love how fast he plays and how he will make big impact plays physically, but at the same time you need him to tone it done and be more discipline with how he stops the ball and makes the right play more than say the "biggest".
Abram is getting first round hype right now, and that could definitely come with some regret/reward.
Lonnie Johnson, CB, Kentucky
I'm sorry, what did you say Johnson's measurements were? 6-foot-3, 205 pounds? Yeah, now I know why people want to give Johnson every benefit of the doubt they can.
The NFL will always give bigger cornerbacks every chance they can to prove themselves or better their game before they give up on them. That's just the facts. Part of that knowledge also goes into over drafting players who have that style and story.
The reason why you draft bigger cornerbacks is because you hope they can match up against bigger wide receivers on the outside in man coverage. But Johnson isn' really a man coverage guy. He's sloppy in press and struggles to keep wide receivers from separating from him. He's boom/bust in the fact that, if you draft him early thinking he can be really good in man coverage right away, you might be in trouble.
Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
At 6-foot-5, 320 pounds and as a former 5-star offensive tackle, Little's first round hype might still be cruising from his recruiting ranking more than his collegiate game tape.
Little has the frame and the mobility to be a guy who catches your eye, but the technique and overall knowledge of what he needs to do as a blocker is not where it needs to be. There was talk of him getting No. 1 overall hype early in the year. People have since cooled on that, but he's still mocked in the first round of many mock drafts.
If you need Little to start at tackle (right or left) right away in the NFL, you might ruin him before he can even get better. Give him time and a good offensive line coach and you may have a stud.
Jerry Tillery, iDL, Notre Dame
If you pick the right games to watch, you'll wonder why Tillery isn't considered a sure-fire first round pick. But if you watch some of his other games, you'll see a guy who fails to make an impact far too often.
Some people would just say that that means you take him in the middle rounds to find that middle ground, but that's not exactly how it works. You could still take him in the middle rounds and him still not learn how to show up -- or vice versa with success. All I'm saying is that don't just watch the Stanford and Navy games and assume you've got a steal. There's risk there.
Anthony Nelson, EDGE, Iowa
If you read my 5-Play Prospect column on Nelson, you know I'm not the biggest fan. His size at 6-foot-7, 270 pounds certainly jumps off the page and jumps off the screen when you watch his tape, but when I watched him that's about the only thing that jumped out at me.
Nelson was not flexible around the edge and he was not that strong in run support. He is big and when he gets his hands on you he can disengage and do some damage, but picking him anywhere in the middle rounds of 3-4 makes me think you're drafting a player who is pretty replaceable year-to-year.
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Ah, yes, the best for last.
Kyler Murray is the ultimate boom/bust player in this class for so many reasons. He goes against the grain for everything the NFL likes with size. He's gone back and forth about which sport to play professionally. And on top of all that he's a risk taker on the field at the most important position in the game.
Kyler Murray could turn out to be a total home run or a wasted draft pick, and since he's a quarterback, striking out here might have major repercussions on your team.