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Epic NFL Draft Day Crashes

Brandon AlisogluCorrespondent IApril 24, 2013

Epic NFL Draft Day Crashes

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    We can all sympathize with the players who watch helplessly as their NFL draft position falls to the point where we plead with the commissioner to say their names.

    It's because we've all been there. 

    In your situation, that day starts by spilling the coffee grounds all over the place when all you really want is a damn cup of coffee. Then, when you jump in the shower, you find the water pressure is weak because a water main in your complex has burst. After that, it's time to go to work, where some rival is going to steal your hard-earned thunder. 

    At least with the players, they get a chance to live out their dreams. And more often than you would think, the slight of sliding on draft day doesn't discourage them, it lights the fire that sparks successful careers.

    So which players had their bad day during the draft? Click through to find out. 

Aaron Rodgers, 2005 Draft

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    Let's start off with the most obvious and painful: Aaron Rodgers

    Rodgers entered the 2005 NFL draft with mixed reviews, but he had a realistic shot at going to the San Francisco 49ers with the top pick. The Niners opted for Alex Smith and that started the free fall.

    He was the next quarterback selected, just not until the 24th pick. The Green Bay Packers scooped him up as the heir apparent to Brett Favre. As it turns out, what a call.

    Anyways, the interesting (or macabre) part is looking back at how many of the players selected between him and Smith ended up being busts or were just ordinary. Guys like Erasmus James, Mike Williams and Troy Williams were taken before Rodgers left the green room. 

    Makes you wonder if a dart board isn't a better draft tool than a big board. 

Randy Moss, 1998 Draft

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    The 1998 draft had plenty of intrigue, with the Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf debate and possibly the single most polarizing player in NFL draft history: Randy Moss

    Nobody doubted Moss' ability to play football. Although he was playing inferior competition at Marshall, there's little doubt that any college kids would have been his peers.

    But things started to unravel after the season ended. Moss skipped the combine amid whispers that he didn't want to take the drug test. Teams with an image-conscious strategy deemed the once-in-a-decade talent too toxic to touch.

    Finally, the Minnesota Vikings took the plunge at No. 21, and all he did was put together a Hall of Fame career. 

Dan Marino, 1983 Draft

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    Randy Moss and Aaron Rodgers weren't the only all-time greats to sit around until the mid-20s to get selected. Dan Marino, arguably the best pure passer ever, watched five other quarterbacks receive their assignments before he found his home. 

    To be fair, there were a couple guys who were taken earlier that turned out all right. John Elway kicked things off at No. 1 and was eventually followed by Jim Kelly, who both had more team success than Marino.

    But Marino retired with a plethora of individual passing records that cemented his legacy. While his career lacked a championship, there was still plenty of glory in store for the former Pitt Panther. 

Da'Quan Bowers, 2011 Draft

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    While some precipitous stock drops are traced back to dumb luck or off-the-field issues, Da'Quan Bowers' story illustrates the reason some guys turn pro as soon as possible. 

    Bowers was in everyone's conversation as the potential top pick. Nothing was in stone, but once Andrew Luck decided to return to Stanford, the door was wide open for Bowers to make his move.

    Unfortunately, the whirlwind of concern over his knee dropped him out of the first round completely, as he fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the 51st pick. 

    It should be noted that Bowers has only notched 4.5 sacks in his first two years. Perhaps this is one situation that played out properly.  

Nick Fairley, 2011 Draft

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    Nick Fairley's fall might have been preordained as another cost of Auburn's supernova of a championship season.

    There was Cam Newton's "scandal" that was ultimately debunked, and now the full story regarding the prevalence of "Spice" use (a wannabe-but-much-more-harmful marijuana substance that is completely unregulated) and the crimes that resulted from such use. 

    Fairley was considered one of the top, if not the best, defensive linemen available. He had been dominant in leading Auburn's defense in difference-making plays as the Tigers marched to the title. 

    Yet, questions started popping up concerning his work ethic and desire. Those whispers grew into argumentative words that persuaded 12 teams to pass on him before he was picked by the Detroit Lions. 

Jimmy Clausen, 2010 Draft

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    Starting a mini-run on 2010 draftees (okay, it's only two) is Jimmy Clausen, the man who through the sheer strength of his self-confident will, slid from a first-two-hours guy to a second-day draft pick.

    Clausen came out of Notre Dame with plenty of talent and upside. He had done everything needed while rocking the golden dome to be drafted highly. 

    The problem was that he knew it, as Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com pointed out. Teams passed on the supposed talented quarterback because they didn't like his cocky demeanor.

    That's the only time you'll find such reasoning in this slideshow (although it was probably a factor with the guy featured in the next slide), and is probably the only time this has happened in NFL history.

    It's strange that a sport that requires supreme confidence in order to excel would punish a player for having just that. 

Dez Bryant, 2010 Draft

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    Randy Moss wasn't the only physical freak to slide down draft boards due to off-the-field concerns.

    Dez Bryant's were of a different nature that led to him missing the majority of the 2009 NCAA season. The NCAA found that Bryant hadn't been entirely truthful with their investigators about his contact with Deion Sanders. 

    The punishment seemed overly severe at the time and it seemed preposterous that Bryant would fall too far. His large frame and ridiculous talent had made him a Heisman candidate the year prior, surely teams wouldn't forget about his on-field skills.

    Apparently, they did, as arguably the most talented receiver in the 2010 NFL draft waited until the 24th pick to approach the podium. 

Thurman Thomas, 1998 Draft

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    Remember the video from the Rodgers' slide? That's called foreshadowing, children.

    Assuming you didn't watch it, the story is that ESPN had a camera in his house for when Thurman Thomas presumably was drafted in the first round.

    It didn't happen. A knee injury caused too much concern for every team apparently.

    Instead, the American public learned the contents of Thomas' fridge and watched him take a nap until the Buffalo Bills mercifully ended the country's first reality show.

    Still, it didn't work out so poorly in the end. 

Alfonzo Dennard, 2012 Draft

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    We now turn to the how-is-that-even-possible portion of the program.

    Alfonzo Dennard looked certain to be a first- or second-round pick. His skill set made him a safe bet to be a successful NFL cornerback.

    But Dennard, like so many others on this list, couldn't stay out of his own way. There was an ejection for fighting, a poor showing at the Senior Bowl and an incident during which he punched a police officer. 

    When the draft arrived, Dennard's eventual selection was a complete mystery. However, there couldn't have been many that thought he would slide all the way to the final round. 

    It forced us to second guess how small the gap was between him and the other defensive backs in the class. Yet, to his credit, Dennard got the last laugh by turning in an impressive rookie campaign. 

Vontaze Burfict, 2012 Draft

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    We end with the most severe fall any prospect has ever taken. 

    Vontaze Burfict appeared to be a presumptive green-room invitee. Most, if not all, of the mock drafters had him going somewhere in the first round prior to the 2011 season. And then everything started to crumble.

    His play declined. The 2010 All-American hardly merited a mention after the season, and his frustrations started to show. Or maybe it was just his personality at the time. Young men do and say dumb things, it's not a novel pastime. 

    However, Burfict didn't just fall one round, or even a couple. He fell out of the draft entirely, eventually signing a undrafted free agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. 

    You can't fall any further than that. 

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