It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


American Football: NFL Draft Busts

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 19 2006 @ 09:39 PM
Who do you think were the biggest NFL draft busts ever? How about the biggest steals ever? Oh, and is it a good idea to choose a QB with the first pick?

posted on Apr, 19 2006 @ 11:30 PM
Well, at the risk of being unoriginal, I'd nominate Ryan Leaf for the biggest bust in the 30 years I've followed the NFL. But a real good case can be made for Tony Manderich, too.


posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 09:03 AM
I'd sure agree with Leaf as #1. His presence keeps Tim Couch out of the top spot, at least in the QB category. Brian Bosworth has to be up there, as does Lawrence Phillips, the world-class jerk from Nebraska.

I'd also have to say, based upon personal observation, Trev Alberts, who was a Butkus award winner from Nebraska in 1993 and drafted by the Colts, and promptly did...nothing for the next 3 years. He later expressed surprise that he was drafted so high and said he never expected to be a good NFL player
If anybody can find him, ask him if he also expected to suck as a college football analyst.

Mandarich was a bust, but MAN he could dominate a college game and given he was an offensive lineman, that's remarkable. His career went downhill fast after a hunting trip to Alaska where he drank out of a "cool clear mountain stream" and promptly caught a debilitating bacterial infection. Apparently he was never told "UP stream from the defecating moose, Tony. Upstream."

He was out of the game for several years and finally came back to finish out with the Colts, where he was certainly not dominant, but effective. I liked the guy.

Steve Emtman, drafted by the Colts overall #1 another injury victim and you'd have to classify him as a bust.

Is it a good idea to take a QB #1? Sure, depending upon need and who the QB is. Peyton Manning has worked out OK. On the other hand, see Tim Couch above.

Interesting short article about draft history- [url=]>LINK

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 09:26 AM
You talked me into Leaf but when I read the topic the first person that came to mind was Jeff George. :loudhorn:

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 11:25 AM
TN- I can see why. But think of it this way - he had to at least be at the forefront of your mind to be considered first. His career was certainly not what you'd want the overall first pick's to be, but I maintain he never had the support around him, or the continuity at the coaching level, he needed to be successful.

I agree he never proved to be a leader, and with some personal info I have about his short career at Purdue, it's not surprising. But he did HAVE a career (and I'm still not sure it's over), even if it wasn't the one he anticipated.

So, any reasonable analysis of his career would classify it as "not up to expectation", but I'm not prepared to call him one of the biggest draft busts of all time.

Hey, he's my homie. Never met the man, but I have to step up to support the Indy guys. He played high school football here at Warren Central.

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 01:58 PM
Is it fair to count a guy like Emtman, who had all the heart and talent in the world, but got his knee(s) shredded TWICE, as a bust? I don't think that's fair. Mandarich, on the other hand, was the choice of Keith Jackson and a LOT of other "savants" for #1 pick... PRECISELY because he was so incredible in college.

Nobody could argue with picking Jeff George as the #1 bustout ever--though he's not my pick. I think we'd all love to have been there to see his legendary workout at the combine. Supposedly it was the greatest ever, and all those who saw it were breathless afterward. Blessed with more talent (that's "arm" talent, of course, not "cerebral" talent) than perhaps any other QB I've ever seen, I think his personality was his big problem, like Leaf's.

But Leaf's was a much bigger problem and would have metastasized its way through any team he played for. With Leaf, people wanted to set back his life 11 years, and set by American societal standards 50 years, so his father could spend, oh, maybe 2 months in the woodshed with him. Of course, since he acted like he was to the manor born, I doubt anyone in his family would have had a clue what to do in a woodshed (other than whale on him).

Lawrence Phillips was a very violent criminal, and has continued that way to the point he now stands accused of three attempted premeditated murders of teenage boys (that's 3 life sentences, if convicted, and no eligibility to grovel before a parole board--which will laugh at him--for 21 years), and he's committed HOW many heinous attack on girlfriends, in California? These other guys are punks and mommas' boys who either "only" busted out or screwed up their teams' chemistry in the process. Lawrence Phillips is a guy who will attack the wrong person one day--e.g., me--and that person will known his self-defense rights and will shoot Phillips dead, rather than suffering great bodily injury from an attack by Phillips.

Phillips is a hoodlum with delusions of grandeur, and if he goes to prison and takes his attitude along with him, then take the word of this here longtime criminal appeals lawyer who's dealt with a ton of prisoners: He'll die there, or wish to god he had.

But after what he did at Nebraska, in addition to the fact Osborne should have been fired on the spot (AGAIN) for manipulating things to keep him out of court and even from being expelled (?!!!!), anyone who drafted him was warned upfront what chances they were taking. So he wasn't a "bustout" in my way of thinking. Just the inevitable, happening over and over.

Trev Alberts and Tim Couch are reasonable nominees for the biggest bust ever. I wouldn't pick either of them for that "distinction," but I agree that a reasonable person could.

But Dan Wilkinson? You know, Y.R., HE may be the biggest of all time. And in support of my tip of the cap to you, I offer this fact: I had totally forgotten him until now.

In fact, let's say this: In a football draft, a QB can be a much bigger bust than anyone else, because a QB is a team's most important player, if he turns out to be a great one. If the Giants had had a great QB during L.T.'s day, or if the Ravens had had a great QB at the height of Ray Lewis's skills, the Q.B. would have been the team's MVP... even though those are probably the two greatest defensive players of the past 30 years (no disrespect meant to you, Jack Lambert).

I guess it's like in Game 7 of the W.S., even if you have Babe Ruth in RF and Willie Mays in CF, if you have Lefty Grove or Sandy Koufax (at his peak) on the mound, who is your most important player that day? Well, as hard as it is for me to type these words, it ain't Mays and it ain't even Ruth, as long as Grove or Koufax has his best stuff that day.

Same story with a great QB, don't you think?

This would be a perfect time to tell everyone (i.e., everyone who doesn't know it) about the most awesome clutch pitching peformance in W.S. Game 7 history. The star was Sandy Koufax, the year was 1965, and I think a lot of y'all would love to read it--especially anyone who knows that Koufax's "peak period" was surely one of the 10 greatest in Live Ball (i.e., REAL) Baseball History.

But I'm not going to misdirect a GREAT thread with a long, GREAT baseball story. So I'll try to post it some other time, or perhaps one of you could remind me in a few hours or days to post the story. I even have a complete tape of the national broadcast of the game, along with about 15 other reall famous games (Don Larsen's perfect game; the Phillies/Cubs 23-22 games; Game 7 in 1960 [the Mazeroski game], etc., etc.)

Anyway, I hope a lot of y'all pitch in [groannnn] with your thoughts of great bustouts from the NFL drafts. I simply tracked down a page which had a list of all the #1 and #2 picks of all time, but I suppose ANY first-round draft choice of all time is fair game here, dontcha think? And MANY of you know a lot more about football, past and present, than I do. YeahRight seems to know about as much more on football over me, as I do on baseball over him.

So c'mon, y'all bigtime, longtime NFL fans. Please enlighten the younger guys and this year relative newcomer to the NFL.


[Edited on 4/20/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 02:29 PM
It's got to be Leaf. Big Daddy also had a career, though not great, it was, at the least, somewhat production. ANd he is, infact still playing, having recorded 20 takles and 3 sacks for the Lions last season player profile LINK If you go there, you may understand why I would know a little bit about his career...

But leaf never accomplished a thing other than blaming his teammates for everything, and generally pissing off the whole country. He is a product of what is wrong with our society.

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 02:29 PM
Here is a great Ryan leaf link -

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 03:07 PM
Speaking of NFL busts I just have to point out this one:


Click on "Bust!"

[Edited on 4/20/06 by truenorth]

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 05:56 PM

Originally posted by truenorth
Speaking of NFL busts I just have to point out this one:


Click on "Bust!"

[Edited on 4/20/06 by truenorth]


posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 06:19 PM
I definitely agree that you really shouldn't categorize players as "busts" if their careers were cut short because of injury. Blair Thomas was a bust; Ki-Jana Carter was not--he just had lots of injury problems.

The first names that popped into my head when I thought of draft busts were Ryan Leaf and Tony Mandarich. Both of them had their value increase before the draft because of excellent combine performances. Leaf was downright atrocious in the NFL, while Mandarich was just an average player (still a bust, though).

Jeff George was hyped up more than many other draft busts because of his physical abilities. Certainly, they were amazing (89 yard throws), but great athleticism does not make a great player. George was one of those guys that coaches kept thinking would bloom if he was in the right system. He never did achieve what so many thought he was capable of achieving.

Another bust I thought of as an Eagles fan was Mike Mamula. No other player in NFL draft history had his stock rise so much after a combine workout. Before the combine, he was projected as a late third round pick. After showing how fast and strong he was, he rose to be a first round pick. What a waste! He was one of those guys who was too big to be a linebacker and too small to be a defensive end. He never fit into the system and never really amounted to anything.

A final point on BHN's statement on who the greatest defensive players of the past 30 years are. He mentions Ray Lewis and Lawrence Taylor. I must disagree there. Reggie White was dominant like no other lineman ever was. His 6'5", 300 pound body was both quick and powerful. He won two Defensive MVP awards and from 1985-1992, he had 124 sacks in 121 games. In 1987 he had arguably the best season ever for a defensive lineman. In only 12 games played because of the strike, he posted an astonishing 21 sacks. He was named to 13 CONSECUTIVE Pro Bowl teams (1986-1998), and don't forget his three-sack performance in Super Bowl XXXI.

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 06:48 PM
Dear BtB,

Well, ok, perhaps we can compromise on this one. I admit I did not even think of Reggie White because I didn't like him as a human being--something which is never an excuse for downgrading a player, per my many comments about Ty Cobb. If I had thought of him, I probably would have entertained--and even embraced (how's that for some irony, Reverend White, wherever you are?)--the idea of White as a better defensive player than Lewis. In fact, yeah, I think you are correct on that score.

But you are 33, as I understand it, which means you were 8 when LT exploded onto the scene in his rookie year, probably the best defensive rookie year ever. He, and certainly not Phil Simms, led that team to its Super Bowls. In his prime, they said of him that he altered a game like no other defensive player ever had, and from what I saw, I absolutely believe that.

Will you entertain the possibility that you were too young to appreciate Taylor at his greatest? He was the player from Hell.

It's unfortunate in many ways that he did what he did to Theismann. Now everyone remembers him for that one play. He tore his way through blockers on almost EVERY play. And almost EVERYONE had to double-team him all the time, and that was usually not enough. He was certainly the reason they won the 1990 Super Bowl--and, more important, the reason they held the Niners' offensive machine low enough in the NFC Title Game that after Craig's unforgivable fumble, the Giants were close enough that one drive and a long field goal could spoil the Niners' three-peat bid, by a 13-12 score.

In 1980, if you bet on the Giants as dogs, you got killed because they got killed. In 1981, if you got a TD betting on the Giants, you covered even if they lost, because it was so hard to score on them. And it remained that way for a very long time.

If he had ever played on the same team with White, and the other 9 defensive starters had been even mediocre, opponents would have had to do all of their scoring on defense and special teams.


posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 09:27 PM
Oh, I agree that Taylor altered the game like few players ever have. I actually have some very vivid memories of LT. The QB Taylor sacked the most times was Ron Jaworski of Philadelphia, so as an Eagles fan, I remember his wreaking havoc. In high school, I especially remember his 1986 season: 20.5 sacks, the NFL MVP, and a Super Bowl ring.

No one had really seen that type of speed before in a pass rusher. He came into the league only three years after the NFL rules changes that opened up the passing game. It was now tougher to rush the quarterback in the old conventional manner. LT was a speed rusher who could just run around the protection. Because of him, the designated speed rusher came into existence--guys like Richard Dent, Derrick Thomas, Dwight Freeney. Also because of them, the left offensive tackle became a position of high athletic ability. Anthony Munoz was the prototype of the modern left tackle: both powerful and quick. Now left tackles are some of the highest paid players in the NFL.

As far as White goes, I think his versatility places him ahead of Taylor. He could play tackle or end, and he could bull or speed rush. His repertoire of moves was quite impressive. Also, he was an outstanding run defender. Taylor's rush was essentially all speed. Oh, it was amazing, that's for sure. On top of all that, he really didn't have the longevity that White did. White made it to the Pro Bowl 13 consecutive years while Taylor made it the first 10 seasons of his career. White had already played in the USFL before coming to Philadelphia in 1985, yet in 1998--really the 15th year of his career--he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

By the way, BHN, why didn't you like Reggie White as a person?

posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 11:26 PM
Well, this is going to start p!ssing people off, but since you asked....

Because he thought his religious beliefs gave him a right to preach hatred, exactly like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He was rabidly anti-gay, and when he got called on it, his apologia fared no better in the credibility department than Robertson's have after he's been forced to retract some of his most outrageously offensive statements. In fact, you just about never could get an apology from White, and he said some things only a madman would not retract.

Simply put, I don't believe that someone's religious "values" are a licence for that person to preach hatred and bigotry, whether the person is an Islamic funadmentalist or a Christian fundamentalist. A Google search for "Reggie White homophobic" or "Reggie White homophobia" will reveal a ton of garbage where this good minister used his pulpit to spew hatred of gays, all of it reminiscent of the young Jerry Falwell's remarks, circa 1960, that desegregation is theologically indefensible.

Mind you, I was raised a Roman Catholic, and if I were drawing my last breaths after a horrible car crash, I probably would still ask for a priest to administer extreme unction. And the god I was taught to worship didn't dig gays either. But he didn't create AIDS specifically to smite THEM down, like some hateful mass murderer.

If White ever retracted a few of his remarks (which I never heard him do), there are 100 times that many he didn't.

He also made breathtakingly RACIST remarks about what each major race is "good at." If a white guy had said the same things--which are still easily found on Google--he'd have been blacklisted from NFL events forever. So it all comes down to whether you think blacks have a special right to preach "religious" bigotries and hatreds of numerous varieties.

I vote NO.

But back to what I said about Ty Cobb (and what I would say about Ted Williams:

You can't rate how good a baseball or football player was by how good a human being he was. If he destroyed his team's chemistry by being a cancerous presence (see Rogers Hornsby), then of course that should count, but an unfortunately huge number of teammates seemed to worship White the Minister, as well as White the Player. And I'm unaware of even one incident in which he ruined team chemistry. So that takes us right back to White the player....

I just don't agree with you about White vs. L.T., but I DO agree he's the second most dominant defensive player I've ever seen. To state it better, he's one of only two defensive players I've seen who could just take over a game. And he didn't do it by preaching hatred. He did it because THAT's how good a player he was.

Frankly, I'm embarrassed that my feelings about the guy caused my mind to skip on over him and rate Ray Lewis ahead of him. Lewis is awesome, but he's not Reggie White, and I mean that in the good sense.


posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 08:11 AM
I'd have to agree LT could dominate a game like very few others. He'd be on many people's lists as the all-time best defensive player. I had to bump him down a couple of notches (admittedly many will see this as unreasonable) after his confession that he was coked up a lot of the time during games and was too far gone into crack addiction to play without it.

Now this is a scary thought, given the havoc he seemed to be able to unleash at will. But, in my mind, I can never compare that attitude favorably with a guy like D ick Butkus, whose motor ran 100% full throttle all the time on every play, even when the Bears were down enough points to make the effort futile. I can more excuse Reggie White for his ignorance (which has NOTHING to do with the game) than I can LT for his stupidity.

For another guy from the OLB spot who could seemingly take over a game at will, don't forget Ted Hendricks, the Mad Stork, who started in Baltimore and had his best years with the Raiders.

As to the topic at hand, yes it's probably unfair to lump guys like Steve Emtman in there since the situation was totally out of his control, and he had an incredible work ethic, but as an overall #1 pick, you'd still have to rate him a bust. Maybe there should be two categories 1) The Ryan Leaf Goofball Cause Your Own Problems Bust and 2) The Steve Emtman Hard Working But Unfortunate Events Bust.

But what is a bust? Is it not living up to expectations as Jeff George? Or is it never even getting a significant start like Ryan Leaf? I'm sure Packers fans think Mandarich is the all-time winner, since they could've had Barry Sanders that year. Doh!

posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 11:39 AM
Well, Y.R., I might even go further than that, now that I know of LT's coke use during games, which I hadn't until your post.

Do you recall a previous post of mine, in which I alluded to the coke epidemic of the early 1980's, when coke was actually more popular than marijuana (!!!)? A friend of mine, then in his THIRD year of vet school, went with another 3rd year vet student to Southern California to get a big pile of coke to bring up to the university town we then lived in, and sell it. In other words, he imperiled many years of studying to get into the world's best vet school, and the career he was within 18 months of having. Unreal.

I could also tell you of a study they did on lab mice, using heroin and coke, proving coke was about 1,000 times more addictive for those poor little critters than heroin.

Anyway, you'll also recall my saying I, unlike 80% of my friends, did NOT get into the coke scene. But my friends who did swore up and down that they were sure Lefty Driesell was RIGHT that it was a performance enhancing drug. Now, assuming you have no more first-hand knowledge of the subject than I do, you might want to take those people's and Driesell's word on the subject.

Doesn't that mean that in addition to breaking the law (which I don't believe in, when it comes to adult drug use), and in addition to "stupidity," as you aptly put it, LT was guilty of CHEATING--which most assuredly has something to do with the game?

By every account I have ever heard, coke makes people feel wonderfully high and almost invincible for a short time, then they suffer the horrible "crash" and they want MORE, MORE, MORE. If an addict is using coke throughout the game, I can see where that would help his play, for sure.

Now, obviously this stuff pales in comparison to making oneself the size of a bridge (see steroids and HGH), but attitude counts for a lot in football (compare notorious bust-out Marc Wilson and his great natural assets to Joe Montana), and from the innumerable things I've learned about coke from friends and as a defense attorney, I can see where it would be great for attitude in a game.


As for White, I was careful to say his appalling bigotry had nothing to do with the game. I'd said I overlooked him because I disliked him so much, and BtB wanted to know why. And you are right: It has nothing at all to do with the game, though why his incredibly racist remarks about what the different races are "good at" didn't start a firestorm, I will never know. If you've never read them, just say so and I'll try to find and post them. Then YOU try to figure out what would have happened, under the same circumstances, to John Rocker.


posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 01:56 PM
I believe we're in basic agreement. My only point was that I consider LT's shortcomings to be more egregious than Reggie White's when it comes down to assessing football ability. We've always seen a lotta athletes that were less than stellar people. And I can't reasonably expect the population of athletes to be any more moral or intelligent than a cross section of the population in general.

I've read Reggie's quotes, and to be honest, about fell down laughing when I did. Just from the sheer stupidity. But I have a very weird sense of humor. I thought at the time it cried out to be an SNL sketch. i also remember immediately thinking of Jimmy The Greek and that whole fiasco with inappropriate comments. Or Tom Brookshier, another guy that got nailed.

Read up on LT, and you'll see plenty of people saying one of the things that made him so tough was a total disregard on the field for his body and potential injury. He flew around like a madman. Hmmmm. (Not even going to mention his penchant for sending hookers to the opposition the night before a game. Of course, the recipient's got more than a little to do with those repercussions). Now he's lending his voice and image to a series of particularly violent and offensive video games marketed to young boys. Yeah, they're rated appropriately, but we know who plays 'em. A real class act.

Anyway, I don't think we disagree, I'm just waiting out the day and using this opportunity to hone my typing skiltz (whoops).

posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 05:37 PM
Best defensive player ever, huh? Aren't ya'll forgetting the 'Boz?

As far as LT goes, I blame him for my being a Redskin fan. I had followed football somewhat before that hit on Theismann, but not religiously, adn I didn't really have my "own" team, I only followed the Steelers because it was the '70's an dearly '80's, and I'm from Pennsylvania, I had no choice. So, after that play, I said to myslef "If that team can make it to the playoffs without thier star QB, then they are my team" The rest, as they say, is history!

So thank you LT, you coked up SOB!

My personal favorite coked up defensive player, though, was Dester Manley. I remember one year in particular, he had this huge cast on in playoffs games, he was using it as a club againt opposing Offensive lines.


log in