Every year as the NFL Draft approaches, talking heads and sportswriters start labeling prospects with terms like "sure thing" and "can't miss." The players that receive these plaudits rarely live up to them, but that doesn't seem to stop the words from getting tossed around.
The 2020 draft season is no different, which leads me to conduct this annual exercise of pointing out players who are destined to fail to live up to expectations.
We traditionally call those players "busts."
This will be my fifth edition of such a list, and right now I'm batting over .500.
Here are four players who will likely be selected early in the 2020 NFL Draft — and I'm officially putting them on "bust watch."
Some people feel like Jeudy is the best wide receiver available in the draft. I believe his collegiate success had more to do with the talent around him and the offense he played in than any talent that would seem to set him apart. When you take a receiver early in the draft, you are hoping he's a franchise-changing type of player. Truth be told, I think there are about two dozen Jeudy-like receivers in the league right now. He has good hands and decent speed, both of which should keep in him the league for a decade or so. That said, he won't be what puts any team over the top and makes them a contender.
I like Burrow as both a player and a person. He's calm under pressure and has the sort of swagger you want in the leader of your franchise. He also played on a team that was loaded with NFL talent. He had the best receiving corps in college football, the best offensive line in college football, and an NFL-caliber running back in the backfield with him.
None of that changes the fact that he's going to end up on the Bengals. Cincinnati is at least three years away from being a contender, and free agents aren't exactly lining up to play for an organization in the process of a total overhaul. I have a bad feeling Burrow's best years will be wasted on the banks of the Ohio River, and he'll be destined to be a steal of a free agent once his first contract expires.
I certainly won't be able to run for office in the state of Ohio after this article.
Young is the most complete and talented defensive prospect available in the 2020 NFL Draft -- I'm sure of it. But it's the word "complete" that has me worried. I don't know that he has any room for improvement. He's good enough to be a pro for a long time, but as it stands, he's a guy who can easily be game-planned around by NFL offensive coordinators. There are two or three edge rushers in this draft who I believe will have better NFL careers than Young, mostly because they are still developing. I just don't see Young living up to No. 2 pick potential, which is where almost everyone has him being drafted.
I haven't seen many mock drafts where Henderson isn't at least a mid-first round pick. If you are taking a cornerback in the first round, you can't afford for him to be a liability, as he's going to play early and often. Too many times throughout his career, Henderson was a liability, making mental mistakes and turning his back to quarterbacks instead of reading them. His athleticism allowed him to overcome those things in college, but mobile quarterbacks at the next level like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson will make him pay dearly for not having his head on a swivel.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.