Beware Of Busts: The Biggest Defensive NFL Draft Busts
Defensive Line - Mike Mamula: I have always thought that the Combine was a crapshoot and a waste of time. I will think so until someone can give me logical reasons as to how running 40 yards in shorts and bench pressing 225 shows how great you will be AT FOOTBALL. Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles didn't share my philosophy, as they were so blown away by the Combine performance of Mamula that they traded up to get him in the 1995 Draft. His 4.63 time in the dash had the Eagles thinking that they had found someone who would excel as a pass rusher. In five injury filled sucktacular seasons, Mamula accumulated 31.5 sacks, which is a season and a half worth of work for DeMarcus Ware. If it's any consolation to the Eagles, their trade turned a franchise around and earned them a Super Bowl Championship. Unfortunately, it wasn't THEIR FRANCHISE. The trade was made with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who took that pick and turned it into Warren Sapp, and they drafted Derrick Brooks with their other first round pick. Ouch.
Defensive Line - Jonathan Sullivan: As a Saints fan, every time we trade up in the draft, I become very fearful. With the exception of Jammal Brown (and possibly Sedrick Ellis - give it time), it has always led to DISASTER (Ricky Williams). They traded up in the 2003 Draft to select Johnathan Sullivan, a "dominant" defensive tackle from Georgia. He was supposed to be the answer to the Saints woes on the defensive line. Unfortunately the only place Sullivan could dominate was a restaurant, dinner table, and/or fast food drive up window. He struggled with weight problems, consistency, injuries, and worst of all TACKLING (you're a defensive TACKLE, not a defensive miss tackles). The Saints eventually traded him to New England for Bethel Johnson, but four months later the Patriots released him, ending his football career (so much for the Patriots being able to turn ANY ONE into a star, huh). Sullivan was the second defensive lineman selected in the draft (Dewayne Robertson was first, who is kind of a mini-bust). The third and fourth linemen selected - Kevin Williams (All-Pro) and Terrell Suggs (All-Pro, Super Bowl Champion). Double Ouch.
Defensive Line - Travis Johnson: The Houston Texans have drafted defensive linemen in the first round much like the Lions drafted receivers. Mario Williams is a star, Amobi Okoye has tons of potential. Travis Johnson had been very underwhelming. He hasn't nearly had the impact the Texans expected (they've had tremendous success in the first round - Andre Johnson, Dunta Robinson, Williams, etc). He is best known for giving Trent Green a concussion, (but Trent Green could have easily gotten that from thinking too hard) and then taunting him. Trent Green has a Super Bowl ring, 15 years in the league and two Pro Bowl appearances on his resume. Travis Johnson has TWO SACKS. Who should be taunting who?
Defensive Line - Courtney Brown: No one should even be allowed to use the word "bust" without saying or thinking about Courtney Brown. The Cleveland Browns had this theory to build their new franchise with defense. Too bad the building block they were building with was made out of construction paper. After a decent (but not #1 overall draft pick decent) rookie year, the injury bug bit him, then super glued its teeth to him. He started a trend of the Denver Broncos signing the Cleveland Browns throwaway defensive linemen (Ebenezer Ekuban, Brown, Michael Myers to name a few). After struggling for six seasons to stay healthy and to actually play well while healthy, Mike Shanahan "suggested" to Brown to hang it up, and he did. Other defensive "building blocks" they could have added to their foundation - Brian Urlacher, Juilian Peterson, John Abraham, & Keith Bulluck to name a few. Honorable Mention: Erik Flowers, Jamal Reynolds, Andre Wadsworth
Linebacker - Mike Junkin - As it turns out, the Browns have always had a thing about these "defensive building blocks". Mike Junkin was supposed to be one of those blocks, because after all, his older brother (Trey Junkin), was a solid NFL player for nearly two decades. Little brother Junkin would only be around for three seasons, only appearing in 20 games. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected a defensive building block a mere five picks after - Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson. Double ouch for passing on Woodson + a double ouch for him going to the Steelers = Quadruple OUCH!
Linebacker - Andy Katzenmoyer: The Patriots strike gold in the draft nearly every year. But sometimes when you're looking for gold, you find one of those chocolate candies with the gold foil on it. That candy was Andy Katzenmoyer. Katzenmoyer hailed from The Ohio State University and was expected to have a profound impact on the Patriots defense. After all, he was allowed to wear Archie Griffin's #45 while he was a Buckeye. Injury after injury after injury made his career null and void and he was out of the league by 2002. The move didn't really set the Patriots back, but imagine how lethal their defense would be if they had Joey Porter? Porter was taken in the third round by Pittsburgh.
LInebacker - Keith McCants - In their defense, the Buccaneers drafted Derrick Brooks, who is a first ballot Hall of Famer, so they can draft linebackers who can play. McCants just couldn't cut it as an NFL linebacker. The Buccanners converted him to defensive end following his rookie season, and he spent the rest of his NFL career looking (and playing like he was) confused. He recorded a paltry 13 sacks with the Buccaneers, Oilers, and Cardinals. Now picture a defense with Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks AND Junior Seau. That would be reminiscent of the 1985 Bears. The Chargers selected Junior Seau with the very next pick. Once again - OUCH. Honorable Mention: Craig Powell
Defensive Back - Bruce Pickens - The third overall pick in the 1991 Draft by the Falcons played four seasons with four different teams and had a whopping two interceptions. The Rams selected Todd Lyght two picks later, who turned out to be an All-Pro cornerback. The Falcons also selected the quarterback who just won't go away, Brett Favre in the second round of the 1991 draft. If it wasn't for them drafting Bob Christian, this would be the worst Atlana Falcons draft EVER by a landslide. It might be anyway.
Defensive Back - Alex Molden - Another but that I had the "pleasure" of seeing a whole lot of. In eight NFL seasons, Molden caught twelve interceptions. Doesn't sound too bad. But in eight NFL seasons, Molden DROPPED about a hundred interceptions. Walt Harris, who has had a solid NFL career, was selected two picks later.
Defensive Back - Patrick Bates - Patrick Bates was a member of the famed Texas A&M "Wrecking Crew" of the early 1990s. He became a one man wrecking crew in the NFL. Unfortunately, the only thing he wrecked was his career. He had issues staying in the lineup on the field, but had no problem staying in the lineup OFF THE FIELD. The Raiders gave up hope on the the 12th pick of the 1993 Draft and shipped him to Atlanta in 1995. He was out of the league after the 1996 season. Patrick Bates has caught one more NFL interception than I have. ONE. Sure, the Raiders could have drafted George Teague, but if they would have, perhaps we would have never got to see him knock the hell out of T.O. for celebrating on the "Star".
Defensive back - Rashard Anderson - For those of you who may not know, the Southwestern Ahtletic Conference has produced some outstanding defensive backs - Mel Blount, Lem Barney, and Aeneas Williams to name a few. The Carolina Panthers thought they had struck gold in the SWAC again when they selected Rashard Anderson from Jackson State (Walter Payton's Alma Mater) with the 23rd pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Didn't quite work out that way. The truth is Rashard Anderson caught more hits off the bong (thousands of them) than interceptions (one for his career). He spent the 2002 season on suspension for violation of the league's substance abuse policy and spent the 2003 season for not meeting the requirements of his reinstatement. When he was finally reinstated in 2003, the Panthers gave Cheech Anderson his pink slip. A mere 176 picks later in the draft, the New England Patriots picked that guy who always dates the hot models. Oh and he's a pretty decent quarterback too - Tom Brady. Honorable Mention: Chris Canty