There are guys in the NFL who are drafted late and blossom into superstars, like Tom Brady. There are guys who are drafted high and live up to those lofty expectations, like Peyton Manning. Then there are guys who are drafted high and never get it going.
Some of those last ones hang on to be quality or depth guys—backups who rarely see the field but have some kind of "it" quality that teams need.
However, some should just pack up their lockers and head home. Here's a look at 11 such players.
The modern-day Kent Graham: a guy who bounces around and seems to keep finding his way onto the field despite middling talent and a lack of big-play skills or athleticism. A good backup, but not a good starting quarterback.
I'd have put Chad Henne here, but he likely has already concluded his starting career in the NFL. If you can't beat out Matt Moore, you just haven't got the goods to be an NFL starter.
Moore is mediocre. He looks the picture of an NFL quarterback. He is great at that "whole walking up to the line, pointing things out, taking the snap" thing. What comes after isn't always so clean.
Now, to be fair, Moore is better than a lot of backups in this league. I'd take him on my team as a veteran behind a solid starter. Miami is starting him only because it has nothing else to put out there and call a quarterback.
But this should be it. Moore shouldn't be a starter after this season is over. He should go back to being a solid backup that looks great with a hat backwards and a clipboard clasped in his right hand.
The facts that he hasn’t shown up on a lot of stat sheets lately and that his fantasy value has dropped faster than the stock market in 1929 show that Ochocinco has fallen from dangerous, loud target to quiet, useless waste of roster space.
My, how the mighty have fallen, but this has been overdue.
That the Patriots are paying this guy is either an indictment of their front office or a reason to applaud the skills of Ochocinco’s agent at selling him as an offensive weapon. He’s been almost detrimental to the team’s success (and I’m not talking about with his mouth—he’s been silent as the grave).
He’s slowed down noticeably the last two years. He is playing across from a guy (Wes Welker) who always draws extra eyes and outside of two tight ends that are possibly better receivers than he is, yet he can’t get open or make a big play.
I think the circus that is Chad Johnson, Ochocinco, whatever, has finally skipped town for good. Perhaps a future in standup comedy or choreographing touchdown celebrations awaits him.
He couldn’t succeed in the best offense on the planet, and now he’s starting for an offense that couldn’t get out of its own way if it tried to do so. His career has taken a bad left turn after a promising NCAA career.
I really thought we were past this business. Bush has never been a good starter. He’s actually a better receiver than a running back. I could see him becoming a slot or starting receiver, but not a running back.
His 100-yard performances take longer to repeat than the collected works of Beethoven, and his running style isn’t suited to anything NFL teams do. It just looks bad from the moment he gets a handoff to the time he gets planted by a linebacker.
Oh, and in case you missed it, he isn’t durable either. It’s time to move him to receiver or send him home.
He’s slow, he’s too big and he doesn’t catch the ball. It’s bad when a catch or a touchdown when you’re wide open is cause for surprise and awe.
Where to start? I remember when he was in Detroit and he seemed like the next big thing. All he needed, the story went, was a quarterback to get him the ball. And then he just wasn’t that good. The team drafted Calvin Johnson and realized what it was missing.
So he’s moved on to Dallas and now Chicago and been the very definition of nothing there. I’m shocked to see him atop a depth chart that includes the speedy Johnny Knox. I know teams like to have a possession receiver, but Williams? He doesn’t possess the skills to possess the ball at this point.
He’s at a position where players not starting can make plays and be impactful, but it's time to stop giving him majority snaps. He needs to be put at third or fourth and forced to work his way into a lineup.
You aren’t a good starting quarterback when a team that has no good starting quarterback first won’t start you and then lets you leave without so much as a second thought. Unfortunately, some teams are blind.
The Seattle Seahawks lately have been about as effective at signing players as Ray Charles would have been at photography. Charles had his talent. He was one of the greatest musicians ever. The Seahawks front office has talent too—just not with signing quarterbacks.
Or really anyone else for that matter, now that I think about it, but we’re talking Jackson.
Tarvaris Jackson is getting a lot of money to alternate between bench jockey and interception/sack-dance generator. Seattle should never have signed him with the intent to start him, but someone somewhere saw something no one else can find.
Jackson isn’t accurate, he doesn’t have a great arm and his best attribute is that he can occasionally step away from a sack and buy another second or two before going down. That’s not quarterbacking, folks. That’s not even good football.
It’s a bad sign when your team doesn’t miss a beat when you’re hurt. It means you aren’t contributing enough when you’re actually on the field.
I think that people miss the idea of Jahvid Best more than they miss the running back. His production just hasn’t matched his skills coming out of college. The Lions miss the potential of Mike Leshoure, who hasn't gotten into a game yet, more than Best, who’s been the starter by default for a while now and just doesn’t produce.
The Lions are dangerous with or without him thanks to Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Just imagine if they had a legitimate running back behind Stafford—that makes everything more effective. Right now, teams are teeing off on Best when healthy. They aren’t buying play-action.
They know Stafford is throwing.
The Lions need someone with more skills. Hopefully that’s Leshoure next year. For now, it looks like they’re stuck with Best, who, at best, is an enigma.
Benched for a second straight year and now outplayed by a rookie, things don’t look so good for a guy who used to be one of the more exciting players in the league.
There have always been questions surrounding McNabb. He famously couldn’t hold his lunch in the huddle when a game wasn’t going well, which invokes memories of Any Given Sunday.
Then he moved on from the Eagles to Washington, and everyone thought he was going to be great. He wasn’t. He was passable at best and, at worst, a disaster on many levels.
Then he made it to Minnesota. Nobody could be more controversial than Brett Favre.
And then McNabb didn’t do much. He couldn’t get his team into the end zone. He couldn’t get his team down the field. He just couldn’t get a victory. Christian Ponder came in, and suddenly the Vikings have a semi-dangerous offense again.
McNabb has slid to the point that, even if he does have a few great years of health, he doesn’t seem to have the intangibles or mental makeup to start again. I’m not sure how he’ll react as a backup, but if he wants to stay in the NFL now, he needs to be on his P's and Q's...not to mention his X's and O's.
In two-and-a-half years, Greene has produced about as many career yards as Adrian Peterson can produce in one season. He’s produced about as many touchdowns in that same time (six) as the underachieving Rashard Mendenhall will score in this seemingly rough season.
I always thought Greene was going to break out last season. He just never did. LaDainian Tomlinson was the only reason the Jets had some credibility on the run. Before that it was Thomas Jones. Greene isn’t the one getting the big plays.
The Jets have had a good offensive line the last couple of years and haven’t got a bad one now, so there’s not much excuse.
It doesn’t help matters that the Jets very badly need their ground-and-pound offense to work. Mark Sanchez needs the help because he’s watching his receivers get covered regularly by defenses that know they only have to breathe on Greene to stop his progress.
Greene’s time to break out has passed. He’s had chance after chance. That just doesn’t keep happening. At some point the Jets will have to move on. Tomlinson won’t be there to save them forever.
He hasn’t produced enough career yards yet to equal a good receiver’s single season. In fact, he hasn’t topped 1,000 career yards yet, and he’s been around for almost three years now.
Was there ever any doubt?
Heyward-Bey was the prototypical Al Davis draft choice: big, fast receiver with deep speed. The problem was he didn’t have a quarterback to get the ball to him. Now that they have that guy, Heyward-Bey has proven he was the reach that he was labeled as on draft day.
Hayward-Bey just doesn’t produce. He doesn’t get open, he doesn’t show speed, he doesn’t catch the ball and he doesn’t generate yards after the passes he does bring down.
Hayward-Bey doesn’t need to be playing. He needs to be watching from home. The Raiders don’t have another marquee name at receiver to throw out there, but they could do better with anyone else on their roster at this point. A guy who can’t gain 1,000 yards in three years doesn’t need to be making starter’s money and playing every down.
When you can lump the two guys together and not have to really talk much about each individual.
This is obvious. Beck never did anything before 2011 to earn his way into a starting job, and he’s been around since 2007. Grossman has never been a good, consistent starter if you remove the 2006 season from his résumé. Even that season wasn’t the best.
Grossman throws too many interceptions and makes too many mistakes at crunch time. Beck just doesn’t do anything (except get sacked nine times in one game).
These guys had their best days in college and never made a clean transition to the professional game.
The fact that they are starting games this season just shows how little the Redskins have on offense. One of them (Beck) probably isn’t much of a viable No. 2, let alone a starter. The other (Grossman) is okay as a No. 2 but can’t play long stretches without mental mistakes that numb the mind.
The passing statistics aren't just bad; they're setting the NFL back five generations. Tebow hasn't so much resembled a quarterback as a running back asked to step under center in an emergency. That's not a good sign.
This isn't the first time we've seen this kind of square-peg, round-hole jamming. Tebow was great in an offense that was nothing like an NFL system at Florida. He had the freedom to be athletic and make whatever plays he could.
The NFL doesn't work that way. It's about systematic offense, specific styles and versatility.
Tebow reminds me of someone. I apologize to him for the comparison, but his situation resembles what Pittsburgh went through with Kordell Stewart.
Stewart was a wonderful athlete that could have had a great future in a slash role (something Tebow could do as well). Instead, he was made a quarterback, and he was mediocre. He was an athlete, not a passer. When slotted into one spot and one only, he became an afterthought.
This is what I see in Tim Tebow's future. He's not a quarterback, but he has potential to be an offensive weapon.