Every season has them, but nobody wants to be one of them. People are paid millions of dollars to evaluate them, yet it seems that they never go away. These, of course, are NFL Draft busts.
Foreword: As I mentioned, executives, coaches, and scouts are paid millions of American dollars each year to evaluate the best college football talent and only a handful of players drafted pan out. I, on the other hand, do not get paid millions to be bad at my job. I do it for free.
With that in mind, here are some players who could be busts in the National Football League.
Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford
Watching Christian McCaffrey play at Stanford was a wonderful experience. It seemed like every play he was running a total of 400 yards, going from one sideline to another, and one end of the field to another, just to have his wizardry called back.
McCaffrey was a Heisman finalist in 2015, and deservedly so. He broke an NCAA record with 3,864 all-purpose yards, and made highlight plays almost every drive. Personally, I think he should have won the Heisman in 2015. But, I digress.
He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash in the NFL Combine, fourth best among running backs. He’s 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 202 pounds. The physical assets are there, and he certainly knows what to do in the open field.
The former Stanford running back can do it all. He can return kicks and punts, catch passes, and make plays out of the backfield. Unfortunately, do-it-all specialists are few and far between in the NFL, and this hurts McCaffrey. He won’t be playing Pac-12 defenses anymore, and if NFL linebackers can figure out how to stop McCaffrey out of the backfield (which is not unlikely), then he becomes just another running back.
John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington
ICYMI: John Ross ran a 4.22 40 yard dash at the #NFLCombine
A new combine record. pic.twitter.com/NtAHIc1At9
— CFB Now (@CFBN0W) March 8, 2017
Yes, John Ross broke the official 40-yard dash record with a blinding run of just 4.22 seconds. Speed is great, and is becoming an ever-increasing necessity in the NFL. However, very few of the players who have ran sub-4.4 40-yard dashes have had major success in the pros.
For example, Darrius Heyward-Bey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.30 seconds, and has done virtually nothing in his NFL career. Jacoby Ford ran a 4.28 in 2010, and tallied only 848 yards in his four-year tenure in the NFL. Even Chris Johnson, or “CJ2K,” hasn’t had a spectacular career. Johnson, who ran a 4.24 in 2008, tallied 2,006 rushing yards in 2009. That season was one of the best in NFL history, but Johnson hasn’t eclipsed even 1,000 yards on the ground since 2013.
That’s not to say fast players can’t be great. But when a player’s best asset is speed, it typically doesn’t equate to greatness. That, combined with Ross’s ACL tear in 2015, has me concerned about his ability at the next level.
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
What’s an NFL Draft without a quarterback bust?
Watson has had a great college career, winning a national championship and being named a Heisman finalist twice. His leadership skills are there, and he’s proved he can step up in the biggest stages.
His intangibles will be valuable in the league, but he’s got plenty of work to do before he can make a splash in the NFL. He’s slenderer than most quarterbacks, and has been inconsistent in his ability to throw the deep ball.
His numbers in college were out-of-this-world. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in two separate seasons, but threw 17 interceptions in 2016, which is upsetting.
Watson is likely going to have a decent career in the NFL, but he doesn’t strike me as the face of a franchise due to his small frame and inconsistency with longer throws. If teams are looking for a revolutionary under center, Watson is probably not the best choice.
Featured image courtesy of The Highlight Zone