NFL Draft Busts: Players Who Could Struggle to Make an Impact at the Next Level

Zachary Krueger@@ZacharyKruegerCorrespondent IIApril 23, 2013

Former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib could be the first quarterback drafted in 2013.
Former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib could be the first quarterback drafted in 2013.Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Every year the NFL draft sees its share of players who end up being a bust for the team who selected them.  While a bust could either mean the player never produced for a team, or struggled early on to live up to his draft expectations, they are everywhere.  

With another class of busts sure to make it's way into the league after the 2013 NFL draft, who are some players who could struggle in the NFL?


Ryan Nassib:  Quarterback (Syracuse)


Nassib's status as a potential bust could depend partially on the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills seem to be the only team linked to drafting Nassib in the first round, at eighth overall.  There's even a slight possibility that Nassib may see his name called before any other quarterback in the draft.

Nassib was a good quarterback for Syracuse, but did not post overly flashy numbers.  That's not to say that you need to post absurdly high numbers to be a good prospect, but it's still worth considering.

Should the Bills take Nassib in the first round, it is not unreasonable to expect big numbers out of him.  After all, any quarterback drafted high in the first round is expected to be a top franchise guy for years to come.  The later Nassib is taken in the draft, the less he should be considered as a potential bust.  But with the Bills seemingly interested in taking head coach Doug Marrone's former player, he may have lofty goals to reach.



Vance McDonald:  Tight end (Rice)


Vance McDonald could see himself drafted somewhere in the top three rounds, with some analysts having him go as early as the second round.  McDonald could struggle to live up to an early draft selection.

One of the biggest reasons McDonald could have a hard time adjusting to the NFL game is lack of opportunity at Rice.  McDonald never recorded more than 532 receiving yards in a season for the Rice Owls.  Another knock on McDonald has been his inability to haul in catchable balls.  

Tight end can be a tough position to predict in the NFL.  We've seen guys like Jimmy Graham, who also had minimal college experience, turn into top NFL tight ends.  On the other hand, guys like Colt's tight end Coby Fleener, who played four years of college football, struggle in their rookie season.

McDonald has good size for a tight end, standing at 6'4" and weighing in at 267 pounds.  He also posted solid combine numbers among tight ends, including the most bench reps of any player at his position.  Hopefully McDonald will find himself capable of producing for whatever team takes him early on in his career, but there is that potential for him to struggle out of the gates.



Tyrann Mathieu: Cornerback (LSU)


Despite his off-field issues and being kicked out of LSU's football program in 2012, Tryann Mathieu may still be drafted early on.  No, he won't be a first round draft pick, and a second round pick seems unlikely as well.  But once the third round hits, teams could start considering Mathieu. 

The main reason Mathieu could struggle to produce early on is simply because he is about a year removed from football.  Mathieu still worked out and trained while away from the game, ultimately keeping himself in shape for the draft.  

At the scouting combine Mathieu posted a 4.50 40-yard dash time and made only four reps on the bench press, tied for last among defensive backs.  

Mathieu lacks size at the cornerback position, standing at only 5'9".  He plays much bigger than his height shows and has historically been a fearless tackler of any ball carrier.  Any team who drafts Mathieu will be making a reach, trusting that he has put his past behind him and is focused purely on football.  

Even if Mathieu is solely devoted to football, I wouldn't expect him to be a key contributor to whatever teams drafts him for the first few seasons.