NFL 2011: Six Players Who Will Officially Become Busts This Season
Bust is one of those words that have different meanings to different people. Some people see a bust as someone with high expectations who turns out to be terrible, think Ryan Leaf or Heath Shuler.
To others a bust is simply a guy who would normally be considered good, but because of the size of their contract, or expectation level of the franchise and fan base, they just couldn't live up to those expectations or dollar amount, think Randy Moss with the Raiders.
This list is mostly composed of players from the latter. They'll probably have good seasons but because of the expectations or dollar amounts in their contract they won't live up to them.
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins
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Tackle Trent Williams was made the No. 4 overall pick in last year's draft by the Washington Redskins.
People had a ton of great things to say about the kid. He's a good blocker and very athletic for his size. However, the one knock against him was that his work ethic was a bit suspect.
With all the Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb drama last season, any work ethic problems with Williams were too small to report against the other big time Redskin stories.
This isn't last season though. There is still talk about McNabb and Haynesworth, but since we're all pretty sure that they'll be gone this season there have been other topics to focus on.
Like Trent Williams not showing up to a single player practice this off-season.
I know these things aren't mandatory by any means, but when you have a second-year lineman who may or may not be lazy, you have to wonder what kind of shape he'll show up to training camp in if he won't come out and toss the ball around with his teammates.
Now granted, I doubt the players are learning too much in these practices (they probably really only benefit quarterbacks and receivers) but at least it gives the captains a chance to check out the other guys' fitness levels and can ride some of the guys who aren't in football shape.
With the kid's lack of enthusiasm for these practices, I see Williams regressing in year two and not being worth the high pick the Redskins shelled out for him.
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles (currently)
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These are Kevin Kolb's career stats so far, he's played in 19 games (seven of which he was the starters) and he's completed 194 out of 319 passes (60.8%) for 2082 yards (6.5 yards and attempt). He has 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with a QB rating of 73.2.
How in the world does that translate to a first-round pick?
Andy Reid has sold (more than likely) the Arizona Cardinals a bill of goods. Just judging by Kolb's NFL stats alone I can't foresee him living up to the draft pick the Cardinals will trade away for him and that's not even including the contract extension due to him since his is up at the end of this season.
Kolb is going to be traded for a high pick and he's going to get a nice pay day. All this for a quarterback who has barely played in a full season worth of games in the four seasons he's been an NFL quarterback.
Don't get me wrong, I think Kolb will be a decent quarterback and will probably have a pro bowl season at some point. However, he isn't worth the ransom that will be paid in order to acquire his services and therefore will be labeled a bust.
Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins (currently)
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Much like when he came to D.C. last season McNabb will bring a ton of hope to whatever franchise trades for him (probably Minnesota).
When that team gets him, they'll be talking playoffs and maybe Super Bowl, and that city will be caught in a frenzy of high expectations.
They'll talk about last season as a fluke or that the Redskins were just that bad and it will be different for them.
However, there is a reason why Andy Reid traded McNabb and not Vick last year (remember Kolb was the day one starter).
It's because McNabb is way past his prime and his sub-par play for the Redskins is exactly what Reid expected out of McNabb.
McNabb will probably come cheap (unless a bidding war for his services happens) but like they did in D.C. the fan bases expectations will be too much for the aging quarterback to live up to. And he goes to a team with a young QB waiting in the wings I wouldn't be surprised if he's benched yet again with three or more games left in the season.
Tim Tebow, Denver
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I don't want to rag on Tim Tebow because I really like the kid and want him to succeed in the NFL.
However, wanting and reality are sometimes light years apart.
Tebow did alright last season coming in for Kyle Orton, but his athleticism in the weak AFC West hid his mechanical breakdowns just enough to rally the Denver fan base in wanting him to be the starter next season.
As a quarterback it's easier coming off the bench than starting. After all you're only in the game because the guy in front of you couldn't get the job done. All you need to do is make one big play and everyone in the stands will want you to be the starter from there on out.
Well Tebow made some plays (mainly with his feet) and the fans ate it up.
Now it looks like Kyle Orton is out and Tebow is in.
Luckily for Tebow, the Broncos were terrible last season so it shouldn't be hard for him to at least meet last season's record.
Unfortunately for Tebow, the fans see in him as the second coming of John Elway, which he isn't even close to.
If the Broncos make Tebow the starting quarterback next season (and all signs are pointing to that) they are only setting him up for failure.
He could be a good NFL quarterback with enough time to work on his mechanics but being thrust into the starting job when he isn't ready will get the fans to turn on him very quickly when things don't go well and he may very well be benched before the halfway point in the season.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
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The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has a ton of mountains to climb if he doesn't want to get labeled a bust.
His first mountain is that he is coming into the league with a ton of hype, especially for a kid who only started one season in Division-1A ball. It also doesn't help that his stats were inflated by playing against some pretty terrible defenses while in school.
Mountain number two is the lockout. There is current hope that it will be over in time for training camp, but I'm not holding my breath. A young quarterback like Newton needs all the time he can get in order to get ready for his rookie season.
There is also the fact that the two quarterbacks in front of him are just plain bad and by week three the fans in Carolina will be chanting to see Newton play.
Not only are the quarterbacks in front of him bad but the team isn't too hot themselves.
A young quarterback who is the No. 1 overall pick on a bad team with a shortened off-season and will be thrust into the starting job way too early can't help but fail.
Like Tebow, what Cam needs to do is sit for a few seasons (like Aaron Rodgers) and learn from a veteran. He's not going to get that though and he'll learn first hand that NFL defenses are light years better than anything he faced in college.
Sadly for Newton, the deck is stacked against him and when you're the No. 1 overall pick no matter how much time you need to mature if you're not a star the moment your spikes hit the turf, you're labeled a bust.
Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings (currently)
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Currently Vincent Jackson is the hottest free agent wide receiver on the market, however it is more than likely that the San Diego Chargers are going to slap the franchise tag on him the first chance they get. That would make Sidney Rice the hottest wide-out on the market.
Rice caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. His best season apart from that was his rookie year (2007) where he caught just 31 passes for 396 yards and only four touchdowns.
Last season was especially bad for a contract year as he played in only six games, caught 17 balls for 280 yards and had two touchdowns.
With Jackson likely to be off the market, Rice is going to get a ton of money thrown at him because of his size and athletic ability. However if you throw out 2009, his statistics don't suggest he's worth the money that he'll get.