Scouts often play the role of psychics, pouring fuel into a runaway hype train that can easily derail.
Before Andrew Luck threw his first pass as a junior, NFL front offices drooled over his skill set and cherished the thought of bringing him aboard.
Now, four months before he'll crouch under center for his first regular-season snap, the media has all but inducted him into the Hall of Fame.
As the following 20 players have proven, looks can be deceiving.
Coming out of Texas, Ricky Williams was the full package: deceiving agility and power that sprouted flashbacks of Earl Campbell.
The Heisman recipient never averaged more than four YPC during his three-year tenure with the Saints, and he had a recurring ball-security issue that produced 18 total fumbles.
Following several failed drug tests and multiple suspensions, Williams' 11-year career would only account for five 1,000-yard seasons.
Adam "Pacman" Jones' personality is a gift and a curse.
It has landed him several gigs in the world of entertainment, but only after he was suspended a multitude of times throughout his career for off-the-field misconduct (including involvement in an alleged shooting.)
The cornerback has strutted the walkway of TNA wrestling and appeared on Pros Vs. Joes.
A five-year NFL veteran, "Pacman" has netted just five career interceptions.
He now resides in Cincinnati as a member of the Bengals.
Desmond Howard, the personified Heisman.
And deservedly so, considering that the former Michigan Wolverine received the renowned award in 1991.
Although he was a member of a less-than-spectacular draft class, Howard's name was the fourth called.
The apex of Desmond's career occurred when he was named the Super Bowl XXXI MVP following a 99-yard kickoff return.
However, in 11 seasons, Howard only managed 123 receptions and 15 total touchdowns.
Ki-Jana Carter was a thoroughbred in college at Penn State, averaging 7.8 YPC and 23 touchdowns in his final season.
On his third rushing attempt in the NFL, in a preseason game, Carter gruesomely tore his ACL and was a mere shadow of himself in the future.
Ki-Jana's injury-plagued career could only endure one season with 100-plus carries.
He eventually hung up his jersey in 2004 with the Saints.
Robert "Tractor" Traylor was a small mammoth at the University of Michigan.
For the majority of his time on the hardcourt, Traylor tipped the scales at 300 pounds. Little surprise that his massive frame was the cause of a shattered backboard following a fast-break slam.
His collegiate accomplishments—including MVP awards for the 1997 NIT tournament and 1998 Big Ten tournament—would eventually be vacated, as his former Michigan head coach, Ed Martin, admitted to lending Traylor money during his time at the university.
"Tractor" was selected sixth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1998 draft, but the pick was traded to Milwaukee.
During his seven-year NBA career, Traylor averaged 4.8 PPG with 3.7 RPG.
It seems like ages since Ed O'Bannon trimmed the net while on UCLA's 1995 NCAA Championship team, but he's only 39.
"Ed-O" capped his collegiate dominance with a 30-point, 17-rebound performance in the championship game, earning him MVP honors.
O'Bannon vanished from draft boards at the No. 9 pick to New Jersey, but would only average five points per game during his brief three-year venture.
Eventually, the pride of UCLA would play in six countries over an eight-year span.
Greg Oden, the first overall selection in the 2007 NBA draft, revised the definition of "injury-prone".
The former Ohio State Buckeye was a defensive menace in college while also showcasing the ability to score when necessary.
Knee injuries have plagued No. 0's career. He only has two seasons with 20 or more games played to his name.
In '09-'10, Oden averaged 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and shot over 60 percent from the field, briefly demonstrating that the talent was worth the hype.
However, the sidelines soon begged to differ.
Darko Milicic averaged 4.6 PPG and 3.3 RPG this season—his 11th.
Selected second overall in the 2003 NBA draft, expectations for the seven-footer were a tall order that was never served.
Milicic was drafted after LeBron James.
But the ballers drafted after him highlight just how significant of a disappointment he has been thus far.
The list includes: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and T.J. Ford.
Even second-rounders Mo Williams and Kyle Korver have had much more illustrious careers.
Mark Prior's arm built his career and then eventually imploded it.
Picked second overall in the 2001 MLB draft—after contract negotiations with the Yankees went awry following his selection in the 1998 draft—the Chicago Cubs gem finished third in the National League's Cy Young voting in his second season.
In 2003, Prior concluded the season with 18 wins and six losses, primarily due to an intimidating 2.43 ERA.
However, a plethora of arm- and shoulder-related injuries would derail his MLB career.
During Prior's last season in 2006, he finished 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA.
The 52-million-dollar man from Japan, with a gyroball that eludes bats like a schizophrenic Joker.
Much to the chagrin of their New York rivals, the Fenway faithful landed Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka exceeded the hype in his second season, posting a 2.90 ERA while capturing wins in 15 of his 18 starts.
Then the magic fizzled out.
In two of his next three seasons, Daisuke's ERA finished above 5.00, with a sub-.500 winning percentage.
His 2011 season was marred by injury, and the once-coveted pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery.
Matsuzaka is currently taking the mound with the Triple-A Portland Sea Dogs in a tour of rehab starts.
The first No. 1 pick right out of high school in NBA history, Kwame Brown has been the butt of countless jokes throughout the years.
Brown would personify Michael Jordan's loathsome GM moves that have been the target of critics' ire of late.
The 6'11" center has only surpassed a double-digit PPG average in one season thus far.
Brady Quinn may have been drafted only 22nd overall, but that didn't stop him from capturing the media spotlight.
Quinn has graced magazine covers ranging from Sports Illustrated to Muscle & Fitness.
He also starred in a commercial for EAS after signing an endorsement deal with the sports nutrition company.
This, and more, occurred before he took a single snap inside Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Brady only played in 14 regular-season games during three years at Cleveland.
After becoming a victim of Tebowmania during his stay in Denver, Quinn relocated to Kansas City this past offseason.
J.D. Drew's trophy case is well-decorated. Unfortunately, virtually all of his awards were acquired pre-MLB.
In 1997, he was the recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award while roaming the outfield for Florida State.
Drew, unquestionably, contained the talent to be a perennial All-Star.
However, his work ethic would pale in comparison.
Initially, the all-everything outfielder was drafted second by Philadelphia in the 1997 draft, but contract disputes severed the relationship before it began.
Drew would enter the following year's draft, eventually packing his bags for St. Louis after a fifth-overall selection.
Currently a free agent, the collegiate standout has shown flashes of his potential's ceiling, but his career ultimately withered due to inconsistency.
Following in the theme of first-overall picks is Michael Olowokandi.
After making the cut for NBA All-Rookie second team, "The Kandi Man's" career never escaped mediocrity.
One of the few 7'0" centers in the league, Olowokandi never shot over 46 percent from the field.
The Nigerian native eventually retired in 2007 from the Boston Celtics.
The former Kentucky Wildcat was selected first overall in 1999.
Tim Couch only eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark once in five seasons—coincidentally, it was also his lowest-rated season in terms of QBR (73.1).
Couch's poor decision making and mediocre accuracy cast him in the shadow of No. 2 pick Donovan McNabb.
He would attempt a comeback in 2007 with Jacksonville, but he was suspended for six games after violating the NFL's drug policy.
No worries: he was cut before the suspension took place.
Sebastian Telfair, current backup point guard for the Phoenix Suns, made the transition from high school to the big leagues in 2004.
At one point, the sports media pegged Telfair as the next big thing.
Check out Slam magazine's cover on Aug. 22nd. The photo reveals two young high school ballers, with the overlying caption, "Sebastian Telfair & LeBron James are about to rule the world. Imagine that."
In 2012, it's difficult to wrap one's head around what is now a distant hallucination.
Adam Morrison looks like a castoff from Dazed and Confused.
But before his never-ending hiatus on NBA benches, he was considered one of the premiere players in college basketball.
Morrison was selected third overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006, contributing to the less-than-impressive legacy of Michael Jordan's GM career.
The former Gonzaga star journeyed between Charlotte and the Los Angeles Lakers four times in as many seasons before finally traveling over the pond to play internationally.
His last spotting? Besiktas Milangaz, a Turkish team that has a stadium capacity of 3,200.
Two words headlined Alexandre Daigle's scouting report: "can't miss."
Unfortunately, the same pair of words have backfired in the faces of scouts since the term originated.
Drawing comparisons to Mario Lemieux, the Ottawa Senators swiftly plucked Daigle with the first overall pick of the '93 draft.
Throughout his 12 seasons, Daigle only managed to score 20 or more goals three times.
Eventually, Daigle would conclude his NHL journey in Minnesota, accumulating 28 total points in the '05-'06 season.
The bust of all busts.
If anything, Ryan Leaf's career was a polarizing spectacle, and his off-field life remains so.
Leaf's NFL debut consisted of two opening wins, and the sun was shining in San Diego.
Then he faced Kansas City.
In his third game, the second-overall pick threw two interceptions, accompanied by three fumbles on 1-of-15 passing.
His rookie season concluded with two lonely touchdowns and an overwhelming 15 interceptions.
Leaf also had several off-field blowups with the media and fans, and teammates were forced to restrain him.
Just last month, the former Heisman runner-up was arrested in two separate incidents involving the theft of prescription drugs.
Jamarcus Russell is proof that talent can only get you so far in professional sports. Without dedication, one is destined for failure.
Another first overall pick, another bust.
He locked in his position at the top of the board after his Pro Day dropped jaws amongst the scouting community.
He began his rookie campaign with a holdout, then subsequently buried the Oakland Raiders' foreseeable future with on- and-off-the-field actions.
One example? Testing positive for codeine after the draft.
In 2009—Russell's last season—he threw three touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and committed nine fumbles.