NFL

Football Fans Share Devastating Stories Of NFL Draft Bust Pain

Darren - April 26, 2021
NFL

Football Fans Share Devastating Stories Of NFL Draft Bust Pain

Darren - April 26, 2021
Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

19. Bernard Williams

“My man Bernard Williams,” Ozwaldo wrote. “Selected 14th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1994 NFL Draft, Bernard Williams was a 6’9″ 317 lb offensive tackle. He was an absolute mountain of a man. He was also a massive pothead. After his rookie season, Williams failed 15 consecutive drug tests (setting the record) and was banned from the NFL. I don’t feel sorry for the dude.”

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

As a first-round pick, it looked like Williams would be one of the NFL’s best offensive linemen. He started every game in his rookie season and the stage was set for him to develop into an elite talent. However, his chaos off the field ended up costing him his career. It was a case of one-and-done for the former Georgia star who ended up in the CFL after the NFL suspended him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

18. Sam Darnold

“The Jets are incompetent,” BearyPotter claimed. “You don’t move up for a franchise QB and surround him with arguably one of the worst skill position groups in the NFL, a bad o-line, awful offensive coordinator, and awful head coach.” In short, this sums up Darnold’s unfortunate time in New York. The youthful quarterback was the third overall pick in 2018 but the Jets messed everything up.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

While he has the time to turn his career around, the reality is that Jets fans will always see him as a bust. Head coach Adam Gase had a devastating effect on his career and the roster didn’t support him. His ghost game is infamous while Darnold’s 2020/21 season was horrendous. It wasn’t all his fault, but it goes to show that the right pieces need to be in place for a quarterback to pan out.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

17. Danny Watkins

“Danny Friggin Watkins,” MrThunderkat proclaimed. “I’m madder at the Eagles front office. How do you not figure out that this dude just wanted to be a firefighter?” Watkins began firefighting when he was just 16 and it remained a passion for him throughout his life. Even on the weekend he entered the NFL draft, he visited 9-11 affected firehouses. In short, this was his first love.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles made him the oldest first-round pick in over 35 years after his arrival from the CFL. It didn’t go well in Philly, however. And he finally spent a season in Miami. But they waived him at the end of the season and he quit to become a full-time firefighter. While this is noble, it obviously didn’t please the front offices of either franchise he played for or their fans.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

16. Brock Osweiler

“I don’t feel sorry at all for Brock Osweiler. Everybody knew that he was the Broncos’ starter after Peyton retired, but he was impatient, wanted the money, or both. Either way, he might have been able to do something in Denver.” EvelPhreak is ruthless in his assessment but it is a fair one. The Denver Broncos selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft but it didn’t go well for either party.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He won the Super Bowl as Peyton Manning’s backup but couldn’t wait to take the starting job. As a result, he moved to Houston for a massive windfall, where his tenure was a disaster. From there, he became a Brown but didn’t start a game. Finally, he returned to the Broncos. They rotated between him and Paxton Lynch after the latter’s injury. In the end, his career fizzled out. It must have been devastating because he had a lot of potential.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

15. David Carr

One Reddit user summed up Carr’s devastating rookie season beautifully. “Drafted number one overall by an expansion team, immediately thrust into the role of starting QB with no offensive line in front of him,” inspektor71 wrote. “Sacked 249 times during his time in Houston. He was basically set up to fail. If he’d been drafted by a team that had some pieces around him, his career could’ve been completely different.”

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The 2002 first overall pick received a brutal beating during his tenure in Houston. It doesn’t matter how talented a player is when they are on the wrong end of a battering. This has a long-term effect on their ability to sustain an offense in the NFL. Carr left Houston for Carolina, where he started four games. After that season he spent the remainder of his career as a backup.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

14. Kevin White

“Kevin White literally forgot how to be good and his coaches had to show him his own college tape to remind him,” @MikeHigh_Nick wrote. Drafted incredibly high before fracturing his leg before his first training camp, White was up against it from the very beginning. The wide receiver was excellent for West Virginia and this convinced the Bears to take him in the first round.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

This had a devastating effect upon his career because he essentially missed the first two seasons of his contract. It’s no surprise that he lost confidence in himself. Finally, in his third year, he began to make appearances but fractured his collarbone in a brutal fashion. It was a harrowing way for his career to continue. Chicago cut their losses and gave up on him as his career ever got off the ground or ran its course.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

13. Cadillac Williams

“Not sure if he is a traditional bust, but his career always makes me sad,” Heldos claimed. “Huge hype leading to an absolutely fantastic year on an otherwise pretty disappointing team. Tears his patellar tendon in his right knee, comes back, does pretty well, all things considered, tears his patellar in his left knee, and that was all she wrote. He had so much talent and it was sad to see his career cut short because of two essentially freak injuries.”

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

As well as potentially having the best name for a running back in NFL history, Williams was an exceptional athlete. The Buccaneers drafted him in 2005 but the first-rounder endured an appalling injury record. Ultimately, this had a negative impact on his legacy because he was never able to live up to his potential.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. Malik McDowell

“Malik McDowell has to be the man. He was drafted in the second round by the Seahawks, then flipped an ATV on himself, sustained head injuries. Never played a down,” @daguro wrote. There’s an open debate over whether or not McDowell or Isaiah Wilson is the worst draft bust of recent years. At least Wilson played a little bit but McDowell never featured for the Seattle Seahawks after the incident.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, a court sentenced him to 11 months in prison after police convicted him on a series of petty charges. This was a devastating series of events for the young defensive tackle. But the Michigan star just didn’t have the mentality to succeed and to get his life back on track. As a result, he lost out on millions of dollars in devastating fashion.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

11. Heath Shuler

“Heath Shuler: number three pick, Heisman trophy runner up and SEC player of the year,” Sooperkool wrote. “He held out so he could sign a seven-year 19 million dollars contract. He lasted all of 3 seasons in the league.” The only former congressman on this list, Shuler had a much more successful career in politics than football. Washington fans would agree with this.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

He was a part of multiple quarterback controversies during his time with the franchise. First of all, there were high-profile contract negotiations. Then, his poor form led fans to dispute whether or not he should start for the team. The third-overall pick never lived up to expectations but made his millions. A Democrat, he wasn’t afraid to stand up to party leadership.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Daryl Washington.

“That guy was a f**king beast. He had the physical tools, intelligence, and raw talent to be a major impact in the NFL,Nyquilisdelicious observed. “Too bad his dumb a*s couldn’t stop smoking weed. I mean, really?!?! You throw away a hundred million dollars for some weed.” However, some will argue that Washington deserves respect. He knew what he wanted and nobody could buy him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Yet he threw away tens of millions of dollars. A second-round pick in 2010, Washington isn’t a bust in the traditional sense of the word because he was even a Pro Bowler. But his drug use proved devastating for his career as the NFL isn’t exactly kind toward violators. In the end, 2013 saw his last competitive appearance. It was such a waste of talent.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. Blaine Gabbert

Interestingly enough, Gabbert became a Super Bowl champion in 2020 after winning with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers as Tom Brady’s backup. This was quite the culmination of a career that began in a miserable fashion. The Jaguars drafted him in the first round back in 2011, yet it was an unmitigated disaster. He had no protection which proved devastating as he was unable to assert himself. In short, it was an appalling rookie season.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

“Not really his fault that the Jags overestimated him and then had a dumpster fire of a team around him,” MrThunderkat proclaimed. This is a fair observation but it set in motion events beyond Gabbert’s control. He bounced around the NFL for the remainder of his career playing eight games for San Francisco in 2015. But the 10th overall pick has a disappointing record.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Vince Young

“31-19 record as starting QB, led a meh Titans team to the playoffs, won rookie of the year, got tricked out of lots of money by some sleazy agents, misspent whatever other money he had,” TheSheriman listed. It’s fair to say that Young’s time in the NFL was a mixed bag. He spent six seasons in the league and had two Pro Bowl selections, but that doesn’t tell the full story.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Young wasn’t a total bust in the typical sense of the word. But expectations were so high because of what he achieved at the University of Texas. It’s fair to say that he never achieved his highest ceiling. Finally, he dropped off and lost his place as an NFL starter and ended up in the CFL. Meanwhile, police have arrested Young on multiple occasions outside of the playing field.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Joey Harrington

Harrington had a brutal time in Detroit. It was a mess from beginning to end because the GM didn’t even want him. This experience scarred him for the remainder of his career. “Joey flat out said in interviews that when he left Detroit, he was a shell of a player,” Piles_of_Gore agreed. “He very much still has a local presence around here (Portland), and whenever he talks about his career, he comes across depressed and angry.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

“He had so much potential and the Lions just put the poor guy out there his rookie year with no O-line,” mygoodfriendbaxter wrote. “Just creamed over and over. He was so shell-shocked. You could see every time he held the ball for more than 3 seconds his feet would start jittering really fast and he’d throw the ball away. He was just so afraid he was going to get creamed again. When he started crying in the locker room it was all over.”

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

6. JaMarcus Russell

“Not only played terrible enough to get cut by an awful Raiders team, but he also blew most of the signing bonus money he made from being a number one pick,” Jree17 noted. But arguably the worst part of this was that the Raiders missed out on Adrian Peterson. He spent just three seasons in the NFL with the Raiders and gained more attention for his weight than for his on-field contribution.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The fan continued: “Many of his teammates say he didn’t care about losing or trying in practice and when the Raiders stated that they were disappointed in him he basically blamed the team for losing. He also blew almost all of his money on Codeine. There are plenty of worse players out there but he’s always been one that I just don’t feel sorry for.” JaWalrus is one of the most devastating nicknames in NFL history.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Limas Sweed

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Sweed in the 2008 draft. A superb college athlete, Sweed was on paper one of the best receivers available that season. However, injuries pushed him down the pecking order. When it came to on-field performances, the wideout was erratic and dropped a ridiculous number of balls. Meanwhile, he suffered mental health problems that are not to be laughed at.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

“Dude had serious mental problems and depression, and it absolutely affected his play,” Svenhoek86 said. “You could see him get worse and worse with every drop. Sad because if he had the hands and mental state to catch the balls thrown his way, he’d probably still be a Steeler. So many wide open drops.” It’s unfortunate that Sweed endured so many devastating issues, but at least won a Super Bowl ring.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

4. Ki-Jana Carter

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Carter with the first overall pick in 1995. But on only the third carry of his first preseason game, he suffered a devastating blow. “Shredded his ACL in his first-ever preseason game…and that was it. I can’t imagine working that hard, coming in with all those expectations…and then before you can do anything, your career is practically over,” achap39 said on Reddit.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

“Ki-Jana had it all. He was built like a brick house and he had 4.3 speed and the wiggle to go with it,” HeyZuesHChrist agreed. “When he tore his ACL you just did not come back from an ACL. The medical procedures and recovery was not anything like it is today. It was a death sentence and to do it on the first carry of his first pre-season game was absurd.”

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Tim Couch

Clyde_drexler wrote: “It sucks to see Tim Couch as just another failed QB name on the jersey of the long list of names because he was a legit good QB who just couldn’t stay on the field playing behind a just as often injured o-line. He took the Browns to their first playoff game since returning and had them winning. If he wouldn’t have broken down in such a short time, he could have done wonders for that franchise.”

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Reddit user makes a good case for the former top pick because he did suffer from all of those problems. In short, it doesn’t matter how much quality a rookie QB receives if they take a tonne of sacks. Perhaps it’s harsh to call him a bust because he did help Cleveland to the postseason in 2002. But the former first overall pick suffered devastating injuries and was never able to deliver on his promise.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

2. Ryan Leaf

“I’ll never forget the hype going into that Draft and the high level of expectations on Leaf to be the next great franchise quarterback,” Misterlakatos reflected. “He was supposed to save the Chargers.” Looking back, it’s laughable that this was the case, but analysts saw Leaf as a potential future Hall of Famer. Some even believed that he was a better long-term option than the acclaimed Peyton Manning in the same draft.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Enterprise90 said: “There was real debate as to if he could be better than Peyton Manning. Manning was seen as a sure-fire success, but there were thoughts Leaf could be even better.” The only thing that Leaf was better than Manning at was taking drugs. He had real problems with prescription drugs over the years and lacked the mental fortitude to make it in the NFL. A devastating pick for the Chargers that set the franchise back years.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Johnny Manziel

“From his spoiled attitude to his domestic violence, there is nothing that dude could do that would make me like him,” namballer99 wrote. In sum, ‘Johnny Football’ was an unmitigated disaster for the Cleveland Browns. His attitude proved devastating for his prospects of developing into an elite NFL quarterback. After two seasons, the journey was over for the celebrated college athlete.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Browns cut him as soon as possible after his sophomore year because of his uncontrolled partying and apparent lack of commitment in any form.  DylanR2198 summed up the troubled signal-caller. “Manziel didn’t want to be developed, I don’t think it would have mattered who drafted Johnny, he wanted to rip lines and f**k dimes, and that’s his business, but it doesn’t warrant any sympathy.” Harsh yet true.

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