You never know what you're going to get when you draft a player into the NFL. You can do all the scouting in the world, but sometimes it is still not enough. Whenever we get into the later rounds, teams start taking chances on players. This leads to some of the biggest busts and biggest breakout stars of the NFL Draft. With the draft being April 29th, this is a fun twist on just simply doing a mock draft.
Number 5 Bust
Coming out of the University of Alabama, Trent Richardson was destined to be the next Adrian Peterson (who was the last RB to win an MVP back in 2012). Through his first two seasons at Bama, he was just a normal running back. He rushed for a combined 1,451 yards his freshman and sophomore seasons. His junior season, he broke out and rushed for an insane 1,679 yards. That was enough for the Cleveland Browns to draft him 3rd overall in 2012. Richardson had an impressive first season rushing for almost 1,000 yards. The Browns were not impressed as they traded him midway through the 2013 season to the Indianapolis Colts for a future first-round pick. His career began to diminish. In his 29 games in Indy, he rushed for a measly 977 yards. Richardson was then cut by the Colts and bounced around a few different teams before getting into some legal trouble in 2017. Richardson played in the CFL and also the AAF.
Number 5 Steal
Coming out of Mississippi State, Dak Prescott had little to no hype surrounding his name in the 2016 NFL Draft. In college, Prescott did not see the field much in his freshman season. He only threw 29 passes, but his sophomore season everything changed. He threw the ball more, increasing from 29 to 267--a 238 pass increase, but his passing yards were less than ideal, throwing for just over 1900 yards. In his junior and senior season, he increased to nearly 4,000 yards. The Dallas Cowboys had an aging QB in Tony Romo who was incredibly injury-prone during his final seasons. So in the fourth round, the Cowboys drafted their QB of the future Dak Prescott. He has had a very successful NFL career thus far. Making two Pro Bowls and leading the Cowboys to the number one seed in the NFC. In the 2020-2021 season, Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Later that offseason he signed a four-year 160 million dollar deal to stay with the Cowboys long term.
Number 4 bust
Kevin White had scouts raving coming out of West Virginia . His 6'3 215 frame was a highlight to his skill set. His freshman season at West Virginia was not bad, but he broke out his sophomore season and ended up with 109 receptions and just shy of 1,500 yards. The Chicago Bears took a chance on the receiver with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. All three of his years in Chicago were a nightmare, ending with 25 receptions and 285 yards receiving before the Bears had enough. He last played in the League in 2020 for the San Francisco 49ers where he didn't catch a single pass.
Number 4 Gem
The fifth-round selection of a WR turned DB, Richard Sherman to the Seattle Seahawks made way too much sense. (At Stanford Sherman played WR until his Senior year when he switched to DB--something clicked for him). In his two years as DB, Sherman totaled 112 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 1 touchdown, not bad for only 2 seasons. It was enough for the Seahawks to take him in the fifth round. Sherman came onto the scene and got 4 interceptions in his first season, but his second season is where everything came together. In his second season, he would grab 8 interceptions and get selected to first-team All-Pro. He was selected to All-Pro 2 more years and made the Pro Bowl four years in a row. The Legion of Boom is what everyone called the Seahawks secondary starring lockdown corner Richard Sherman. All good things must come to an end. The Seahawks cut ties with Sherman, and then he went on to sign with the rival San Fransico 49ers where he would go on to make one more Pro Bowl. Sherman is currently still on the 49ers.
Number 3 Bust
Straight off of a Heisman Trophy-winning season the second quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft was none other than Johnny Manziel. Manziel lit it up at Texas A&M. In his sophomore season he threw for 4,100 yards, 37 touchdowns, and only 13 interceptions. Manziel believed he was the number one overall pick in the draft, telling the Houston Texans, that it would be a "huge mistake". The Texans took Jadeavon Clowney out of South Carolina. The first quarterback taken was Blake Bortles at pick number three by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and this is where Manziel's slide started. Manziel was selected by the Cleveland Browns. In his two seasons with the Browns, Manziel put up an underwhelming 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with his 1,600 passing yards. Before his third season, he was cut by the Browns. He has since bounced around the CFL, AAF, and FCF. He is currently a quarterback for the FCF Zappers.
Number 3 Steal
Coming out of the University of Iowa, George Kittle did not have the college career that most NFL stars have. In his 4 years, he caught 48 passes for 737 yards for an average of 15 yards per catch. He fell down most draft boards, but not for the 49ers. Taken in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft, George Kittle and the 49ers was a match made in heaven. In his first NFL season, Kittle only had 515 receiving yards, but he popped off his second season. Kittle broke the all-time record for most receiving yards with 1,377 and 88 receptions, making his first Pro Bowl. The following year, he lost the record to Travis Kelce, but he made his second straight Pro Bowl and his first All-Pro team. In the 2020 season, he got hurt and played only 8 games, but he has still established himself as one of the best tight ends in the league being taken in the fifth round.
nUMBER 2 bUST
The Jacksonville Jaguars thought they had their guy, UCF QB Blake Bortles, with the third pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Bortles had a solid college career. In his three years at UCF, he threw for a total of 7,598 yards 56 touchdowns, and only 19 interceptions. He immediately won the starting job and played 14 of the 16 games. He was a stud his sophomore season for a second-year QB. He threw for 4,428 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions (both career highs). He took a HUGE step back his junior season, throwing for 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The Jaguars as a team went as far as they could with Bortles at QB. The defense was the biggest factor leading them to the AFC Championship game where they lost to the Patriots. Bortles played one more season for the Jaguars before they decided to not pick up his option making him a free agent. He then signed with the LA Rams as a backup, and the Denver Broncos also as a backup. He is currently a free agent and has not lived up to his hype of his second season.
Number 2 Gem
In a draft class where receivers are hard to come by, many of the receivers taken in the 2010 NFL Draft turned out to be pretty good, but none better than Antonio Brown. Taken in the 6th round of the draft by the Pittsburg Steelers, Brown had an overall good college career. Going for a combined 3,200 yards and 22 touchdowns, Brown was overlooked by many due to his smaller stature. In his rookie year, he did not see the field much, because of shared time with fellow rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders. However, his second year everything changed. In his first full year of seeing the field, he broke 1,000 yards and made his first Pro Bowl. In his junior season, he did not play the full season and saw limited numbers. In his fourth season, he got back to his ways, saw the field much more, and ended up with 1,499 yards. The 2014 and 2015 seasons were the best years of his career. In the 2014 season, he put up an outstanding 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns, but the 2015 season would be better. Brown would put up a career-high 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns, second in the league to only Julio Jones. Over the next couple of years, he continued to put up 1,200-yard seasons making the Pro Bowl 5 years in a row and made the first team All-Pro 4 of those 5 years. Following the 2018 season, Brown and Pittsburgh would part ways in a drama-filled off-season. The Steelers first worked out a trade with the Buffalo Bills before the Brown refused to play in Buffalo. Brown was then traded to the Raiders, but before he could play a snap, more drama occurred resulting in the release of Brown from the team. Brown was picked up by the Patriots where he would spend one game, resulting in a TD before he would be released again. In 2020, Brown signed with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he spent half a season. In the end, he was a contributing factor in the Superbowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Brown is currently a free agent, but he is being sought out by many teams, and he may resign with the defending champs.
Number 1 bust
The Memphis QB, Paxton Lynch, was taken 26th to the Denver Broncos in the 2016 Draft. Lynch threw for a total of 8,863 yards, 59 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. Lynch came into the League and was immediately put into QB competition with the 2015 7th round QB Trevor Siemian. Lynch lost that battle and only started 2 games in his rookie season going 1-1 and throwing for 497 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Lynch lost the QB battle again and started only two games and threw for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Lynch was released before the start of the 2018 season. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers as backups. Lynch is currently a free agent awaiting his next opportunity.
Number 1 Steal
The University of Wisconsin's Russell Wilson went into the NFL Draft as a senior transfer from North Carolina State University. Wilson played 3 years at NC State before transferring. In college, he threw for 11,720 yards, 109 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions, numbers totaling a fantastic college career. He was overlooked because of his size: 5'11, 215 pounds. Wilson was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He came out the gates running, making the Pro Bowl in his first season. He has made the Pro Bowl all but two seasons in his career thus far. Wilson and the defense were a big reason in the team made it to two consecutive Super Bowls. They won it all in 2014, and they were one bad call away from victory in 2015. Overall, Wilson has had an amazing career, and we will definitely be seeing him in Canton after he hangs up his cleats.
Although these players did make it to the NFL, which is very hard to do, some of them did not pan out. Others surpassed expectations. What players make your list? Did a player get left off this list?
Make sure to use that comment section and let me know!