Tommy’s Top Six NFL Draft Busts
The 2013 NFL Draft will start on Thursday so I thought I would give you my top six draft busts in the NFL. Putting this list together I looked at players that the “experts” had on the fast-track to the Hall of Fame and guys that were expected to change the fortunes of the franchises that drafted them. These guys where taken with high picks, paid a lot of money and did nothing in the NFL. So let’s get started.
6. JaMarcus Russell
Russell played his college ball at LSU where he went 21-4 as a starter and was the MVP of the 2007 Sugar Bowl. The Oakland Raiders took Russell with the first pick overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. He held out until the Raiders signed him to a $61 million contract with $32 million guaranteed. Russell played just three years in the NFL going 7-18 and was released by the Raiders in 2010. Russell could never control his weight and really never threw the ball well. He is currently working to make a comeback, good luck with that.
5. Tony Mandarich
Mandarich was the Number 2 pick over all by the Green Bay Packers in the 1989 draft, Troy Aikman was the first pick. Sports Illustrated called him the best offensive line prospect ever. He played just three season for the Packers then tried a comeback with the Colts but could never stay healthy. He played just 86 games in the NFL and in 2008 Mandarich admitted to using steroids. The three guys drafted behind him were Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders. Of the top five players taken in the 1989 draft he is the only one not in the Hall of Fame.
4. Todd Marinovich
Marinovich was the top high school quarterback in 1988 and was called the first test tube athlete. His father control everything he did, the kid had never eaten a Big Mac, Oreo or a Ding-Dong and would take his own cake and ice cream to birthday parties. He went to USC and due to an injury he started as a freshman. He led the Trojans to a 9-2-1 record, won the Pac-10 and beat Michigan in the 1990 Rose Bowl. After his second college season he went pro and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round with the 24th pick. He played just part of two seasons with the Raiders but his demons got the better of him. Failing three-drug test in the NFL and getting busted for cocaine possession ended his career with a thud.
3. Lawrence Phillips
Phillips was a star player at Nebraska where he helped the Cornhuskers’ beat Florida for the national championship 62-24 in 1996. He turned pro early and the St. Louis Rams took Phillips with the 6th over all pick that year. The rams thought so much of Phillips they traded Jerome Bettis to the Steelers on draft day. Trouble followed Phillips around like a shadow and still does. He rushed for 1,453 yards and just 14 touchdowns is his short career.
2. Brian Bosworth
Bosworth known at “The Boz” was a two time All-American linebacker at Oklahoma. The Boz was barred from playing in the Orange Bowl against Arkansas in 1987 for a positive steroid test. In 1987 the Seahawks drafted Bosworth in the first round and at the time signed his to the biggest rookie contract in NFL history. Bosworth played just 24 games in the NFL and the video below is his best highlight.
1. Ryan Leaf
Leaf had a good college career at Washington Sate and was a finalist for the Heisman after his junior year. He was drafted with the 2nd over all pick by the San Diego Chargers in 1998 behind a guy named Manning. Leaf could never get his career on track with poor play, injuries and yelling at anyone who would listen he has become the poster child for NFL draft busts.
There are few guys who deserve a mention like David Carr, Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart but these are my top six NFL draft busts of all time.