Nebraska

Top 10 NFL Draft Busts

Lawrence Phillips: #6 NFL Draft Bust

Since quarterbacks are the most important players on a football field, their successes and failures get magnified. In contrast, the performances of players at other positions can get muddled more easily. As the only running back in the countdown, Lawrence Phillips’ failures were too glaring to hide. Unlike most busts who excelled in college but lacked the talent to succeed for the NFL, Phillips had the talent. Unfortunately, his downfall was based completely on an inability to stay on the field because he had severe anger issues off the field. With Ray Rice as a comparison, Phillips was a more talented runner but a much worse person. Depending on what you already know, to the extent you believe that Phillips sabotaged his football career because of some legal problems, then you probably believe that O.J. Simpson sabotaged his broadcasting career because of a disagreement with his ex-wife. In other words, Phillips was one bad dude (and not in a good way). As a talented player who failed miserably in the NFL (and in life), he has been named the #6 NFL Draft Bust.

[Note: Since I first wrote this post in October 2014, Phillips has been charged with first-degree murder for strangling his cellmate while in state prison. So much for thinking he couldn’t sink any lower.]

Honorable Mention

Jerry Tagge: Honorable Mention (NFL)

During the 24-year period between the retirement of Vince Lombardi in 1968 and arrival of Brett Favre in 1992, the Green Bay Packers were pathetic with only five winning seasons and two playoff appearances. Much of the team’s futility can be attributed to monumentally bad draft decisions, such as the selections of QB Jerry Tagge in 1972 and OT Tony Mandarich in 1989. In between, the trading of multiple high round draft picks for washed-up QB John Hadl in 1974 and the selection of QB Rich Campbell in 1981 kept the downward cycle going. This post focuses on the first bad decision and whether or not Tagge deserves to be considered an all-time bust.

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