NFL Draft 2018 – Later Round High Risk, High Reward Prospects

Greg Armstrong with a look at some high risk, high reward prospects for the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft

After trading away their two second round picks to move up from the sixth to the third overall pick, the Jets won’t be picking again until the third round. There is still great value to be had depending on how the board breaks in the later rounds but there are a select few prospects that can be considered high risk, high reward players. Whether it’s been injuries, off the field issues, behavioral issues or what have you, these guys could fall and end up being steals for the Jets if they choose to pick them. 

Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida

Callaway would be considered a top five receiver in this years draft class if it weren’t for his off the field issues. He possesses incredible speed off the line, has the ability to separate against man coverage and is almost unguardable on slants and drags. His freaky athleticism allows him catch passes wherever they’re thrown. Callaway has also flashed as a threat in the return game.

With all that being said, some teams won’t even have him on their boards because of all of his off field issues and the potential headaches he brings. If he’s still on the board in the fifth or sixth round, the Jets should take that flier.

Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State

Sweat’s traits and athleticism are good enough to potentially get him drafted in the first two rounds. He’s a fast, powerful edge rusher that has good enough technique to drop into coverage sometimes. His leaner frame is misleading considering the way that he plays.

His medicals are very concerning including a knee injury in high school that almost resulted in his leg being amputated. There’s real concerns about whether or not his knee is going to hold up for a long career. The Jets need an edge rusher and I would take the chance on him if he falls far enough.

Orlanda Brown, OT, Oklahoma

You want to talk about a guys stock falling? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guys stock fall farther after a combine like Orlando Brown’s. He went from a potential first round pick to maybe a late second/ third round pick with just his combine performance.

He has some issues with massive size (6’8″, 345 pounds) such as his lateral movement, his athleticism and his second level blocking. The Jets still need some offensive line depth. At the right price, the Jets should take him and he could potentially turn into a starter with the right coaching.

Holton Hill, CB, Texas

Hill is one of my favorite corners in this draft if we’re talking about on field attributes. A fast corner (4.49 40 yard dash time) who is physical at the line, returned three interceptions for touchdowns and can play in either man or zone coverage. Todd Bowles loves physical corners who can succeed in press man coverage.

Now his off the field is a little different story. He was suspended in 2017, failed numerous drug tests at Texas and his off field behavior is something that scares teams away, including myself to an extent. A team with a stable environment, which the Jets seem to be moving towards, will the reap the benefits if they take him. All he needs to do is stay off the weed.

Arden Key, EDGE, LSU

Key was a top tier talent before the last college football season started. He had 12.5 sacks in 2016, he has a monster first step and second moves to get past tackles. His natural talent is undeniable and make him a top end of the first round prospect.

He struggled last season due to a variety of reasons. He had shoulder surgery last season (which he didn’t talk with team doctors about) that resulted in him only playing in eight games and in those games, he looked very rusty. He was overweight during the season but dropped 25 pounds before the combine. Key also took a sudden leave of absence during the spring of last season for personal reasons. His off field resume scares teams away. He might not fall all the way until the third round but if he does, the Jets should take a chance to potentially solve their need at edge rusher.

Photo credit: 247sports.com