15 Biggest NFL Draft Busts Who Played in the Big 12

Ricky FrechCorrespondent INovember 23, 2011

15 Biggest NFL Draft Busts Who Played in the Big 12

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    The Big 12 Conference has only been taking part in athletic competition since 1996, but they've sent quite a few players to the NFL draft, some of which have become colossal busts.

    For a player to be thought of as a bust, he generally has to be selected in the first or second round. I've decided to use that same criteria for making this list, and have also included players from 1994 to the present.

    The Big 12 has only been playing games since 1996, but was first formed in 1994. Because of a few big busts that came out before 1996, I've decided to include those two years in this list.

    Now that we have the logistics down, let's move to what everyone actually cares about. Which players make the list of the Big 12's biggest busts? Read on to find out. 

Honorable Mention: Quentin Jammer, CB, Texas

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    Drafted: San Diego Chargers, 2002, Round 1, Pick 5.

    Quentin Jammer gets a honorable mention nod purely because of how high he was drafted.

    In his first few years as a Charger, he was widely criticized for his lack of interceptions and thought of as someone who couldn't adequately cover the receivers in the NFL.

    Jammer has been able to turn himself into quite a good corner after a fairly up-and-down start to his career. He still doesn't have the best ball skills, but he has become a much better at covering his man. 

Honorable Mention: Eric Crouch, QB, Nebraska

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    Drafted: St. Louis Rams, 2002, Round 3, Pick 95.

    Eric Crouch would be much higher on this list, if he had been drafted earlier than the third round.

    The former Heisman winner came out of college looking to play quarterback, but the Rams selected him as a wide receiver in 2002. 

    After receiving a big hit that hurt his leg, Crouch left St. Louis before playing a down. His only opportunity to play starting quarterback came a few years later in the CFL.

15) Marcus Tubbs, DT, Texas

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    Drafted: Seattle Seahawks, 2004, Round 1, Pick 23.

    Marcus Tubbs is one of those guys who had tons of talent, but got hit by injuries too often to make an impact.

    During his tenure with the Seahawks, Tubbs saw himself on injured reserve far more often than on the field. However, it's hard to place him much higher on this list because it seems as though his coaches thought he was a solid player, even with his plethora of injuries.

    That said, when you're a first-round draft pick, teams are expecting you to play for more than four seasons. 

14) Daryl Gardener, DT, Baylor

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    Drafted: Miami Dolphins, 1996, Round 1, Pick 20.

    Daryl Gardener was able to play for seven years with three teams, and does have 19 career sacks.

    However, he simply wasn't anywhere close to his draft status, and it looks even worse when you see that he was taken before Ray Lewis.

    Gardener's troubles extend off the field as well. In 2011 he was charged with domestic-violence battery after allegedly head-butting his girlfriend.

    What a winner.

13) Jason Peter, DE, Nebraska

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    Drafted: Carolina Panthers, 1998, Round 1, Pick 14.

    Jason Peter might have had a chance to turn himself into a solid defensive end if he hadn't been forced to retire due to injuries.

    Peter had 7.5 sacks and played four years in the NFL, but he was basically finished playing after his sophomore effort. That was when he got a chronic neck stinger, which left him as a shell of his former self.

    As stated, it's difficult to put too much blame on a guy whose career was shortened by injuries. Sadly, that's what happened to Peter, and the Panthers didn't get anywhere near what they wanted when they drafted him. 

12) Sammy Davis, CB, Texas A&M

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    Drafted: San Diego Chargers, 2003, Round 1, Pick 30.

    Sammy Davis actually started his professional career with a solid rookie season that saw him start all 16 games and get two interceptions.

    However, he was never able to build off that season, and continued to trend downward until he decided to call it quits following the 2007 season.

    Davis is only able to claim three career interceptions, and never really did anything after his first year in the league. That's not exactly what the Chargers were hoping to get when they spent a late first-round pick on him.

11) Quincy Morgan, WR, Kansas State

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    Drafted: Cleveland Browns, 2001, Round 2, Pick 33.

    Quincy Morgan had a very pedestrian rookie season, but followed that up with a seven-touchdown sophomore campaign.

    However, it was all downhill from there. In 2004 he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, but never was able to produce. The following year he lost his spot to rookie Patrick Crayton, and then was dropped off the team completely so the Cowboys could pick up Peerless Price.

    He stuck with it, and played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos, but was never able to recapture the success he had for one season in Cleveland. 

10) Leeland McElroy, RB, Texas A&M

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    Drafted: Arizona Cardinals, 1996, Round 2, Pick 32.

    Leeland McElroy actually got the chance to start for the Cardinals from day one, but, due to inconsistent play, he was quickly regulated to backup duty.

    He began the next season as the team's starter again, and, though his play was a little better, he found himself in the backup role for the second year in a row.

    After that, he moved around to a few more teams, but never saw the playing field again due to injuries and bad luck.

9) Andre Woolfolk, CB, OU

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    Drafted: Tennessee Titans, 2003, Round 1, Pick 28.

    Regardless of who was drafted after him, Andre Woolfolk was a bad pick for the Titans.

    That said, you can't help but notice that he was drafted a few spots ahead of Nnamdi Asomugha. With that knowledge, it's hard to imagine Woolfolk as anything else, but a bust.

    Woolfolk has three career interceptions and was able to stick around for four years with the Titans. However, he never lived up to his potential, making him a bust in my book.

8) Rae Carruth, WR, Colorado

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    Drafted: Carolina Panthers, 1997, Round 1, Pick 27.

    Rae Carruth started out his career with a solid rookie season that saw him catch 44 passes for 545 yards and four touchdowns.

    However, he broke his right foot in the first game of the 1998 season and lost his entire second year to injury. He would go on to start the first six games in 1999, and that's when his career took a drastic turn.

    In 1999 he was involved in the shooting of a woman he had been dating. After many months, he was sentenced to 18 years in jail for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, among other things.

7) Rashaun Woods, WR, Oklahoma State

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    Drafted: San Francisco 49ers, 2004, Round 1, Pick 31.

    The former Oklahoma State Cowboy was selected as a possible replacement for the departed Terrell Owens, and, at the time, that statement wasn't too outlandish, considering Rashaun Woods' standout career in Stillwater.

    However, the young receiver never lived up to the hype. He caught one touchdown as a rookie, and was then hit by injuries before being traded. 

    Following the 2006 season, he never got another real chance to prove himself, and, frankly, he probably didn't deserve one. Woods was an outstanding talent for Oklahoma State, but you wouldn't know it from his play in the NFL.

6) Michael Westbrook, WR, Colorado

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    Drafted: Washington Redskins, 1995, Round 1, Pick 5.

    Michael Westbrook actually had a much better career than the two wide receivers ranked above him, but his high draft spot puts him at the sixth spot.

    Westbrook followed up a sensational college career with a less than mediocre playing career. His 26 career touchdowns are nothing to write home about, but he was able to amass over 4,000 career yards.

    That said, you have to expect more than 26 touchdowns from a receiver you draft in the top five. Add in the fact that, in 1999, he punched a teammate in the face, and you have a true bust on your hands.

5) Cedric Jones, DE, OU

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    Drafted: New York Giants, 1996, Round 1, Pick 5.

    Cedric Jones had one solid year in 1999, which saw him register 7.5 sacks and start all 16 games for the Giants.

    Outside of that, he was a total bust as the fifth pick of the 1996 draft. It's hard to blame the Giants for taking Jones that high, as he put up a great college career while at Oklahoma.

    Sadly, the Giants quickly found out that Jones was blind in one eye and couldn't play on the left side. That was bad news for Jones' career, but it did force Michael Strahan to change positions, which worked out pretty well for the G-men in the long run.

4) Mike Williams, OT, Texas

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    Drafted: Buffalo Bills, 2002, Round 1, Pick 4.

    Coming out of college, Mike Williams was a highly touted prospect who projected as a great left tackle. In fact, he was so highly thought of, he was selected three spots ahead of Bryant McKinnie.

    Unfortunately, Williams couldn't produce at either tackle spot, and an attempt to convert him to other positions failed drastically.

    He did get his chance at redemption in 2009 with the Washington Redskins, but showed up tipping the scales at 410 pounds. He actually played well before a blood clot forced him out of football in 2011, and ended his comeback attempt before it started.

3) Rashaan Salaam, RB, Colorado

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    Drafted: Chicago Bears, 1995, Round 1, Pick 21.

    Rashaan Salaam had one of the greatest seasons for a collegiate running back in 1994, and many thought he would continue to dominate when he moved to Sundays.

    That never happened.

    Salaam had a great rookie season with the Bears, rushing for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. After that he was hit by inconsistencies and injuries, and was out of town within three years.

    Following that he had stints in the XFL, and almost made it back to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He ended his professional career with a lackluster performance in the CFL, which saw him get suspended in 2004, solidifying his spot as a huge bust.

2) Trev Alberts, LB, Nebraska

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    Drafted: Indianapolis Colts, 1994, Round 1, Pick 5.

    Trev Alberts is possibly the best linebacker to ever play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

    Needless to say, expectations were high for 1994's fifth overall pick. Sadly, those expectations were never reached. 

    Alberts had difficulty learning to play the Colts defense, and was hit by constant injuries that shortened his career greatly. When it was all said and done, he racked up four sacks in three years.

    That's a far cry from his national championship game performance, in which he sacked Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward three times while playing with a cast on his arm. Simply said, Alberts was a gigantic bust in the NFL.

1) Lawrence Phillips, RB, Nebraska

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    Drafted: St. Louis Rams, 1996, Round 1, Pick 6.

    Lawrence Phillips was a phenomenal talent, who also brought along huge character concerns. For some reason, the Rams decided to overlook that and make him the sixth pick in the 1996 draft.

    In fact, they traded away Jerome Bettis to get the highly-touted Cornhusker. That's a decision they definitely wish they could have back.

    Phillips' first two years saw him produce solid play on the field, but he also served 23 days in jail for various crimes. After those two years, the Rams were fed up and cut the young back.

    He would get his second chance with the San Francisco 49ers, but neither his off-field problems nor his on-field play were up to expectations. He was quickly back out of the league and forced to play in the CFL.

    His problems didn't stop there, as he was sentenced to 31 years in prison in 2009. A fellow inmate stabbed him in 2011, and, if anyone doubted his bust status before then, he locked up his spot atop these rankings.