The fans of every sports league have seen a lot of moments to be proud of but also a lot of failures. NFL is no different. For all the successful football players we all know about, there is a bunch of ones who have failed. Some of them are known to the audience, others have managed to remain a secret. The reasons for their failures are various from injuries to personal problems. In this article, we have selected the top five busts in NFL history.
5. The Raw Diamond – Derrick Harvey
- 1 5. The Raw Diamond – Derrick Harvey
- 2 4. Unexpected Drops for the Good Hand-Eye Coordination of Troy Williamson
- 3 3. Three Seasons with the New York Jets and not a Single Sack for Vernon Gholston
- 4 2. What Happened to the Promising College Star Jason Smith?
- 5 1. The Talented Party Boy – JaMarcus Russel
Coming from the University of Florida, Derrick Harvey was considered to be a prospective football star. However, he was very inexperienced – he had played football for only 5 years at high school and college before he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars as 8th overall from the 1st round in the 2008 NFL Draft. At that time a lot of scouts questioned him and his motivation to play.
Well, the scouts were right to be skeptical about his experience and skills. During his rookie season, he played just OK but not well enough considering the fact that the Jaguars gave up two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick in order to get Harvey.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut Harvey after his third season with them. He recorded 52 games, 32 of which he started, and 8 sacks.
Derrick Harvey still has some chances to succeed in football. Let’s see what the future holds for him.
4. Unexpected Drops for the Good Hand-Eye Coordination of Troy Williamson
In 2005 the Minnesota Vikings were faced with the need to find a wide receiver who had to replace the legendary Randy Moss. Troy Williamson was the 7th pick overall from the first round selection. His college reports from South Carolina were ambiguous – some of them stated that he had excellent ‘hand-eye coordination’, others revealed that he tried to avoid contact and that he was not very effective in the game.
Having in mind these facts, the Vikings’ choice was a bit risky and very soon they regretted it. He didn’t manage to catch 50% of his targets. Actually his drops were so disappointing that he started blaming them for poor eyesight. The Jets were happy to trade him even at a much cheaper price to Jacksonville Jaguars.
Overall, for his 5 seasons in NFL he recorded 87 receptions, 1,131 yards, and four touchdowns. The Jaguars cut him in 2010.
3. Three Seasons with the New York Jets and not a Single Sack for Vernon Gholston
As Jason Smith, Vernon Gholston was also more than promising for the position of an outside linebacker in the New York Jets. They were impressed not only by his physical characteristics – a perfect combination of size, speed and long limbs but also by his high school and college background.
At high school, he managed to register 75 tackles, including 6 sacks as a linebacker. Later on, playing for Ohio State University he completed a total of 87 tackles, including 22, 5 sacks which ranked him 6th in the university history.
After this glamorous career, the New York Jets were eager to take him in the 2008 NFL Draft. He signed a 5-year contract with them for $32 million. During his first season, he recorded only 13 tackles, 5 solo. In 2009 he finished with 17 tackles. After 2009 he was asked to change his position from an outside linebacker to a defensive end position. He was cut by the Jets in 2011 and has never played in NFL since then.
2. What Happened to the Promising College Star Jason Smith?
The case with the next one on the list is a way more different than the one of JaMarcus Russel. At least this one had the inner will to play and succeed. Jason Smith was raised in one of the ‘bad’ Dallas neighborhoods, rife with crime and drugs. However, his hard work and ambition helped him to get out of it and reach for the stars. As a teenager, he played football, basketball, worked part-time at a pet store, had good grades at school and even developed his own lawn-mowing business.
All the things mentioned above reveal Smith’s strong character and explain why he received excellent references from his coaches from Baylor University when he was about to join the St Louis Rams in the 2009 NFL draft. Given the fact that Jason Smith had everything needed to become a successful football player, except for experience in the NFL style, the general manager of the Rams, Devaney had no other option but to sign a contract with him for the position of an offensive lineman № 2.
However, Devaney was soon disappointed by his choice as Smith appeared to be bad at protection and run blocking. In interviews for the press, Devaney says that Smith was a completely different guy than the one his coaches at Baylor have described. Smith started only 26 games with the Rams in 3 seasons.
1. The Talented Party Boy – JaMarcus Russel
With his strong arm and extremely quick footwork the quarterback, JaMarcus Russel seemed to be a dream asset for every team. This is why he caught the attention of the Oakland Raiders for the 2007 draft. He was very skillful and talented but there is something the Raiders missed to see when observing him – the lack of real motivation for the game. They signed a contract for a huge amount of money – $61 million but soon regretted doing this.
We have to admit that his 2008 season was not that bad – he managed to complete 53, 8 of his passes, 13 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. However, probably due to the excessive use of Codeine syrup or just the lack of desire to play, his 2007 and 2009 seasons were absurd. He was released in 2009 with a 7-18 record, 18 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. Driven by the passion for money, Russel did try to join the NFL again but all the teams appeared to be risk-averse and neither of them wanted to sign a contract with him.