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A Team-by-Team Warning About the NFL Draft

To make a long story short, it is very dangerous to pile all your hopes and dreams on a draft pick. To prove that point, I’ve complied a list of guys who at the time were all seen to be saviors of franchises, only to disappoint for what ever reason.  Naturally,  guys like Ryan Leaf pop right into your head, but it can happen to any draft, and it can happen to any team. Not to mention, if a hairdo-on-a-zit like Mel Kiper can make a career of saying “Trev Alberts sucks,” then why can’t I offer a treatise of the pitfalls of the draft?

As much as the Kipers of the world love to hang their hair-dos on criteria like vertical leaps, 40-yard dash times, and Wunderlic scores, there are equally good, if not far better indicators, that play to the negative side. The problem is we live in a country that is all about “feel-good-ism,” a country in which pointing out a fact that isn’t about sunshine, puppy dogs, and lollipops makes you a “Negative Nancy.” Screw that – if my team is about to lay out multi-millions of dollars on an unproven rookie, I want to know exactly on which my team is mortgaging its football  future.

Simply stated, there are some common reasons why a draft pick bombs, and the purpose of this post is to remind football fans everywhere the dangers hidden in every draft pick.  What  are those common reasons you ask? The list we compiled here at Dubsism falls into 5 categories.

  • Character issues (thug, lunatic, immature)
  • Could not  make the adjustment to the professional game
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Over-rated expectations (one guy can’t save a bad organization)
  • Got hurt

With that, here is the warning to every NFL franchise, phrased in the context of the most damaging draft pick they ever made.

Atlanta Falcons: Aundray Bruce, 1st Overall pick , 1988

You would think a linebacker/defensive end who was 6’5”, 265 pounds would be a stud, right? This is the first warning about just because a dude looks like a player ,it may not mean he is a player.  The former Auburn uber-god made 35 starts in four years with the Falcons, finishing with 176 tackles, 16 sacks and three interceptions. He continued the non-living-up-to-the-expectations in Oakland by never having more than 25 tackles in a season. For those wondering who the Falcons passed up that year in the draft: Five picks later there was some guy available  named Tim Brown.

Arizona: Andre Wadsworth, 3rd Overall pick , 1998

Wadsworth (6’4”, 278) was unstoppable at Florida State, and he certainly looked the part of a dominant defensive end. But as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving; he lasted in the league only three seasons and racked one season’s totals:  72 tackles, eight sacks and one interception.

Baltimore: Kyle Boller, 19th Overall pick, 2003

For all intents and purposes, Boller was the anti-Aaron Rodgers. The draft hype surrounding the ” golden arm kid from Cal” rose his stock out of the second/third round where he belonged, and once in the league, he played like the back-up QB he always going to be in the NFL.

Buffalo: Tony Hunter, 12th Overall pick, 1983

Who drafts a tight end this high? There might be three or four tight ends in the history of the league worth a high pick. A guy who only lasted two years for the Bills  isn’t one of them.

Carolina: Rae Carruth, 27th Overall pick, 1997

Shouldn’t there be some sort of psychological evaluation in the NFL draft since we seek to quantify every damn thing else. Or perhaps just a question on the Wunderlic test “Would you kill your pregnant girlfriend to avoid child support payments?”

Chicago: Curtis Enis, Fifth Overall pick, 1998

Just another in the long line of failed Penn State running backs in the NFL. While he was an impressive physical specimen (6’0”, 242 pounds), but he took four years to rack up 1,497 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his career.

Cincinnati: David Klingler, Sixth Overall pick, 1992

Wow, this one was a tough call, because Akili Smith was every bit the draft bust. But I have to go with Klingler as he really did look more the part of an NFL quarterback than Smith ever did.

Cleveland: Tim Couch, 1st Overall pick, 1999

Part of me still can’t figure why this guy never panned out in the NFL. I saw how smooth he was rolling out of the pocket and what a great delivery he had. He could throw the short and intermediate passes and hit receivers on deep balls with precision. The guy sure as hell looked like a better quarterback in the SEC than Peyton Manning ever did, but he never made the transition.

Dallas: David LaFleur, 22nd Overall pick, 1997

See my earlier rule about drafting a tight end. Even at LSU, LaFleur had a rep fro dropping passes; that was the one part of his scouting report he lived up to. Worse yet, he was a big guy (6’7”, 272 pounds) who couldn’t block. Can’t catch, can’t block;  sounds like a first-round tight end to me.

Denver: Tommy Maddox, 25th Overall pick, 1992

It takes a special sort of guy to go from being the “heir-apparent” to John Elway (yeah, they actually said that) to insurance salesman, to Most Valuable player in the short-lived XFL, then NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2002. I swear this guy’s life could be a bad sports movie, somewhere between “Everybody’s All-American” and “Heaven Can Wait.”

Detroit: Andre Ware, 7th Overall pick, 1990

Wathcing the career high-light reel of Ware’s NFL days is like replacing your contact-lens solution with habanero pepper sauce. It’s like hiws college days and the NFL were photo-negatives of each other; he was unbelievable as a college quarterback, but in the NFL he couldn’t have sucked more if you gave him a fully-automated, nuclear-powered suck machine. There are guys today who suck and can eclipse Ware’s career totals in three games (completed 83 of 161 passes for 1,112 yards and five touchdowns).

Green Bay: Tony Mandarich, 2nd Overall pick, 1989

What else can you say? Mandarich is the post child for draft busts.

Houston: David Carr, 1st Overall pick, 2002

Speaking of poster children, Carr may be it for “quarterbacks who got drafted on to a sorry-ass team that never put any players around him.” His offensive line was non existent, defenses tore him apart, and somehow he managed to throw for over 2,000 yards each season while being sacked 249 times.

Indianapolis: Steve Emtman, 1st Overall pick, 1992

A bust, and yet really not his fault – what are you supposed to do when you suffer a knee injury just over halfway into your rookie year? Emtman never recovered, and instead serves a yet another warning about how there no guarantees.

Jacksonville: Matt Jones, 21st Overall pick, 2005

It was almost the perfect storm – Jacksonville has a history of guys who didn’t live up to their potential (Reggie Williams, Tony Boselli, R. Jay Soward, Kevin Hardy). Throw in a guy with a coke habit whom you intend to switch from quarterback to wide receiver and voila, you get Matt Jones.

Kansas City: Ryan Sims, 6th Overall pick, 2002

Tony Mandarich may be the poster child for draft busts, but Sims may in fact be the worst ever.  In five seasons, he had 65 total tackles and five sacks. He was so unproductive that he was traded to Tampa Bay for a seventh round pick, meaning he may have been a waste of two draft picks.

Miami: Sammie Smith, 9th Overall pick, 1989

The former Florida State running back is the embodiment of the frustration the Dolphins have had at running back. Since the early 70’s when they boasted the troika of Jim Kiick, Mercury Morris, and Larry Czonka close to 40 years ago, the Dolphins have only had two running backs with more than 3,000 career rushing yards, and one of those is Ricky Williams (see below). So, when you bomb running the rock in Miami, well, don’t be surprised when you get chants of  “Sammie Sucks.”

Minnesota: Dimitrius Underwood, 29th Overall pick, 1999

This is a tragedy on so many levels, not the least of which is that this tragedy is 100% the fault of that pompous retard Dennis Green. The whole world warned Green prior to the draft that Underwood was not mentally healthy, and that he was on prescription drugs that made being an NFL problematic at best. But, in one of those trademark Dennis Green moments of complete arrogance, Green drafts the kid anyway thinking he can “solve” whatever problem the poor kid has. That lasted three days, with Underwood walking out of training camp after the first day due and being found three days later after slitting his own throat. Dennis Green should have been fired and banned from ever coaching again after this, but it’s not like we will ever see him again.

New England: Hart Lee Dykes, 15th Overall pick, 1989

This may be one of my favorites of all time. Here’s a guy that single-handedly almost got four NCAA squads placed on probation, and yet couldn’t succeed at the easiest position in the NFL. Seriously, I can show you so many crap athletes that succeeded as wide receivers that anybody who failed as badly as Dykes did is hardly worthy of being called a football player.

New Orleans: Ricky Williams, 5th Overall pick, 1999

If there was ever a sign that Mike Ditka had lost it, this was it. Ditka was the reason the Saints mortgaged their future in that draft to get Williams. It was an idiotic move, and it doomed the franchise to nearly a decade of mediocrity.

New York Giants: Ron Dayne, 11th Overall, 2000

The former Wisconsin running back and Heisman Trophy winner had all the makings of a punishing power runner. But he proved simply to slow to be effective in the NFL.

New York Jets: Blair Thomas, 2nd Overall pick, 1990

See Curtis Enis and the aforementioned “Penn State running back” rule.  This former Nittany Lion is considered one of the greatest busts in NFL history, and that is only made worse when you realize the Jets could’ve had Emmitt Smith.

Oakland: Todd Marinovich, 24th Overall pick, 1991

Marinovich is what happens when you let those “little league dads” go to far. He had an obsessive, overly-driven father who molded him into a 6’4”, 215 pound prototype for an NFL  quarterback. Sadly, “Daddy Dearest” also drove him into being a drug user, which prompted the nickname “Marijuana-vich.”

Philadelphia: Mike Mamula, 7th Overall pick, 1995

The classic “workout warrior,” the Boston College defensive end was simply off the charts at the scouting combines. He ran a 40-yard dash in under two seconds. He’s still doing bench press reps at 225 pounds. He walked across a lake and healed an injured swan. Know what he couldn’t do? Tackle anybody.

Pittsburgh: Tim Worley, 7th Overall pick, 1989

If you haven’t noticed, 1989 was The Year of the Bust. This former Georgia running back makes the fourth bust in the first round of that year’s draft (the other three being  Sammie Smith, Tony Mandarich and Hart Lee Dykes).  Worley managed to compile earth-shattering stats such as 1,338 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns, and 196 receiving yards in only four years.

Seattle: Brian Bosworth, 1st Overall pick, Supplemental Draft, 1987

If there is a football fan over forty who doesn’t remember “the Boz” getting stone cold run over by Bo Jackson, I want to meet him. By the time that happened, “the Boz” had become that guy everybody was so tired of; he didn’t get far into his pro career before his being busted for steroids and his general cocky attitude wore thin with pretty much everybody.  Nobody felt sorry for him when he became just another case of a guy whose body fell apart when he couldn’t be on the juice anymore.

St. Louis: Lawrence Phillips, 6th Overall pick, 1996

Here’s another case where a psychiatric exam would have saved everybody a lot of time and trouble. One look under the hood of this clown’s brain would have told us all we need to know – emotionally immature, violent,  and unstable. Rather, we had to wade through a litany of behavior issues and arrests. Not surprisingly, heis  currently serving time in prison.

San Diego: Ryan Leaf, 2nd Overall pick, 1998

Do you think the Colts’ Bill Polian looks back at 1998 and realizes what a bullet he dodged? If you recall, Indianapolis had the first pick in that year’s draft, and there was much debate over who was going to be the franchise quarterback for the next generation, Leaf or Peyton Manning. It sounds ridiculous now, but at the time Manning was viewed as immobile and “damaged goods” as he already had a history of knee injuries, whereas Leaf was seen as a 6”6″, 250-pound adonis who could throw the ball through a wall with what we now call Roethlisberger-like ability to make plays.  But that giant man-body supported the brain of a child; Leaf’s petulant and obnoxious behavior destroyed his career in very short order.

San Francisco: JJ Stokes, 10th Overall pick, 1995

Whoever called this guy “the next Jerry Rice” should have their press pas revoked. While Stokes wasn’t completely useless, he certainly never lived up to the expectations; he never broke 1,000 yards in a season and averaged less than four catches per game.

Tampa Bay: Vinny Testaverde, 1st Overall pick, 1987 – Bo Jackson 1st Overall pick, 1983 –  Steve Young, 1st Overall pick,  1984

Let’s talk about a franchise that for its first twenty years of existence of defined “futile.” Can you imagine getting the rights to this kind of talent and having absolutely nothing to show for it? None of these guys were “busts,” but none of them ever did anything in a Bucs uniform.

Tennessee: Adam Jones, 6th Overall pick, 2005

What a complete waste of talent. Pacman was extremely talented and should have had an incredible career. Instead, because nobody decided to look ant this guys’ lack of mental growth and stability, we get yet another case of a guy who is likely going to end up in prison.

Washington: Heath Shuler, 3rd Overall pick, 1994

Here’s a case of a guy who raped our eyes as a Redskin quarterback, now he had returned to Washington as a democratic Congressman, so he can rape our wallets.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

10 comments on “A Team-by-Team Warning About the NFL Draft

  1. tophatal
    March 27, 2011

    JW

    Would it be worth giving an honorable mention to Ditka in giving up all but one of the Saints’ picks in the draft for Ricky Williams only to see the team flounder and be inconsistent in the two years that the player was there ?

    tophatal ……..

    Like

    • JW
      March 27, 2011

      So much so that it in fact was mentioned…

      Like

      • tophatal
        March 27, 2011

        I’m still in a stuper after seeing my brackets implode with Duke’s loss to the Arizona Wildcats and then have the girlfriend throw it back in my face because she even predicted the outcome before the start of the game . What irks me even more is that she’s Pac 10 fan and a grad of UCLA !

        As for Ditka he pretty much made sure that his career as it was then would specifically be about his achievements as a player and what he achieved with the Bears. Anything after that was like trying make a choice between who’s prettier Halle Berry in her role as Jinx Johnson in the Bond movie ” Die Another Day” or Whoopi Goldberg in role as Celie in the “Color Purple” ?

        tophatal …………

        Like

      • JW
        March 29, 2011

        Whoopi Goldberg…ugggh.

        Like

  2. Chris Humpherys
    March 28, 2011

    This was a great list, man. I think you just made every GM in the NFL shudder.

    Great take on Carruth.

    Like

    • JW
      March 29, 2011

      Carruth offers the perfect vehicle to illustrate the hypocrisy in talking about character issues. Ever notice that as “important” as character issues are, they always take a back seat to “sure-thing” talent, and Carruth is the perfect example of what you get with that approach.

      Like

  3. tophatal
    March 29, 2011

    JW

    Carruth is the prime example but I think that there’s an even bigger hypocrisy when it comes to the likes of Leonard Little and Donte’ Stallworth and the Justice System as whole !

    When the lights are out isn’t the ” pootie-tang” all the same given the specific situation ? Well that’s unless it’s LT who’s part of the equation and situation ! As he really likes ’em young !

    I’ll still take Halle over Whoopi any day of the week and twice on Sundays !

    tophatal ……………

    Like

  4. Pingback: The Dubsism Comprehensive NFL Draft Review – What We Told Them vs. What They Did « Dubsism

  5. Pingback: The Dubsism Comprehensive 2012 NFL Draft Review – Who Gained and Who Lost « Dubsism

  6. Pingback: The Dubsism 2013 NFL Draft Review – What We Told Them vs. What They Did vs. What ESPN Won’t Tell You | Dubsism

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