Top 50 NFL Draft Busts: Where Are They Now?
Biggest of the Busts
With the NFL draft coming up this month, we look at the Top 50 NFL draft busts of all time, according ton ESPN.com in 2008.
We answer the question: Where are they now? In all these cases, it’s not where they expected to be.
50. Michael Westbrook, Colorado, WR (No. 4 overall, 1995): After a big rookie season, injuries led to a mediocre career. Today he lives in Mesa, AZ, and runs Michael Westbrook Self-Defense Academy.
49. Jon Harris, Virginia, DE (No. 25 overall, 1997): Started just eight games in two seasons with the Eagles with two sacks and a fumble recovery. He now resides in Swedesboro, NJ.
48. David LaFleur, LSU, TE (No. 22 overall, 1997): As a tight end he caught just 85 passes and 12 touchdowns in four seasons with Dallas. He now resides in Sulphur, LA.
47. Maurice Clarett, Ohio State, RB (No. 101 overall, 2005): Clarett is currently a member of the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks. He hasn’t played a game in the NFL since leaving Ohio State after a spectacular freshman year. Clarett seemingly has cleaned up his act after serving prison time for concealed weapon and robbery charges.
46. Alex Van Dyke , Nevada, WR (No. 31 overall, 1996): Caught just 25 passes and three touchdowns in three seasons with the Jets. He currently owns Going Vertical, a training facility in Sacramento for athletes to improve speed, agility and power.
45. John Clay, Missouri, OT (No. 15 overall, 1987): Played in just 12 games over two seasons before being done. His whereabouts are unknown.
44. Johnathan Sullivan, Georgia, DT (No. 6 overall, 2003): Played just four seasons with the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots. In 2006, Sullivan was pulled over in Griffin, GA, for running two red lights and charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
43. Mike Mamula, Boston College, DE/LB (No. 7 overall, 1995): Played six seasons in the NFL but was hobbled by injuries. He currently works with Comprehensive Screening Services in Voorhees, NJ.
42. Akili Smith, Oregon, QB (No. 3 overall, 1995): Started just 17 games over four seasons with the Bengals and threw 13 picks to just five touchdowns during that time. Smith is coaching quarterbacks at St. Augustine H.S. in San Diego, where he’s working toward his degree at a community college before finishing it off at Oregon.
41. Reggie Rembert, West Virginia, WR (No. 28 overall, 1990): Never signed with the team who drafted him (New York Jets) and went to Cincinnati for a mediocre three seasons. He resides in Indianapolis and his son of the same name is a rising redshirt senior wideout at WVU.
40. Cade McNown, UCLA, QB (No. 12 overall, 1999): Pegged as the Chicago Bears’ next franchise QB, McNown lasted all of two seasons in the “Windy City.” Most recently he was the senior VP of investor development with Thompson National Properties, LLC in Southern California.
39. Trezelle Jenkins, Michigan, OT (No. 31 overall, 1995): He couldn’t stick in the league after three years and just nine games under his belt. He now owns a Harold’s Chicken Shack in Ferndale, MI.
38. Dan McGwire, San Diego State, QB (No. 16 overall, 1991): Better known as Mark’s little brother, in two years he didn’t have a start or a touchdown pass. Today he’s the president of Vita H2O Inc., a vitamin water company in Reno, NV.
37. Patrick Bates, Texas A&M, S (No. 12 overall, 1993): The safety had just one interception in 44 NFL games. His current whereabouts are unknown.
36. Russell Erxleben, Texas, P/PK (No. 11 overall, 1979): In his first NFL appearance, Erxleben threw a pick-six in overtime after a bad snap. After just five NFL seasons, Erxleben eventually became a currency investor who served time in prison until 2005 for fraud.
35. Mike Elkins, Wake Forest, QB (No. 32 overall, 1989): Played one game and attempted two passes before never playing again. Today he fronts a country music band, “The Mike Elkins Band,” with another former Demon Deacon, Chip Rives.
34. Craig Powell, Ohio State, LB (No. 30 overall, 1995): Played just 12 games with Cleveland/Baltimore with little impact. He joined the Army after his career and now resides in Youngstown, OH, and works for the nutritional company Unicity.
33. Leeland McElroy, Texas A&M, RB (No. 32 overall, 1996): Ran for just 729 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons. He currently resides in Garland, TX.
32. Andre Johnson, Penn State, OT (No. 30 overall, 1996): Never appeared in a game with the Redskins and played just three games his whole career. He’s currently a business owner in Leesburg, VA.
31. Todd Marinovich, USC, QB (No. 24 overall, 1991): Made just eight regular-season starts in two seasons with the Raiders. Had been arrested in 2009 for failing to show up in court for a drug rehab review. He now works at the Sports Science Lab in Southern California with his infamous father, Marv, and runs the Todd Marinovich Art Gallery.
30. Aaron Gibson, Wisconsin, OT (No. 27 overall, 1999): Played in just 11 games over three seasons before being cut. He was last seen with the af2′s Austin Wranglers in 2007.
29. Todd Blackledge, Penn State, QB (No. 7 overall, 1983): Never started a full season with the Chiefs before being dealt after five seasons. Today he’s a television analyst for college football on ESPN. He resides in North Canton, OH.
28. Tony Mandarich, Michigan State, OT (No. 2 overall, 1989): Was a bust in Green Bay but turned his life around in Indianapolis. He wrote a book detailing his hard times with the Packers and owns a modeling photography studio and media company in Scottsdale, AZ.
27. Walt Patulski, Notre Dame, DE (No. 1 overall, 1972): Had a decent rookie season but put up poor numbers the rest of his career (just four years). He currently resides in Syracuse, NY, and even has a key to the city.
26. Jack Thompson, Washington State, QB (No. 3 overall, 1979): The “Throwin’ Samoan” could never unseat Ken Anderson, the starter at Cincinnati. Residing in Torrance, CA, he recently helped Washington State and World Vision to help raise money for the tsunami in American Samoa.
25. Tim Worley, Georgia, RB (No. 7 overall, 1989): Injuries and off-the-field issues cut short a career with a promising start. Worley has turned his life around and launched Worley Enterprises, a business based on Christian motivation speaking. He resides near Atlanta.
24. Tony Sacca, Penn State, QB (No. 46 overall, 1992): Played in just two games and never started in the NFL. He owned Sacca’s Pourhouse Pub in Pennsauken, NJ - which has since closed - and resides in Delran, NJ.
23. Kelly Stouffer, Colorado State, QB (No. 6 overall, 1987): Sat out his entire rookie season and then started just 16 games over four years. He currently resides on a farm in Rushville, NE.
22. Blair Thomas, Penn State, RB (No. 2 overall, 1990): Thomas never rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He currently resides in King of Prussia, PA, where he is recovering from heart problems. He promotes Emmortal Magnesium Therapy, a natural anti-inflammatory product, and instructs youth football around the country for Junior Ranks.
21. Steve Niehaus, Notre Dame, DT/DE (No. 2 overall, 1976): Niehaus started just 20 games in three seasons with Seattle and now resides in Fairfield, OH.
20. Curtis Enis, Penn State, RB (No. 5 overall, 1998): In three NFL seasons, his longest run was 29 yards. He’s now the head football coach at Bradford High School in Ohio although his hiring there was very controversial.
19. Tim Couch, Kentucky, QB (No. 1 overall, 1999): Went 22-37 as a starter and never played again after the 2003 season. He resides in Lexington, KY, and is now a college football analyst with the Big Blue Sports Network and FOX Sports South. He is married to former Playboy playmate Heather Kozar.
18. Derek Brown, Notre Dame, TE (No. 14 overall, 1992): He caught just 11 passes in 45 NFL games. As of 2010, Brown runs three Quiznos Sub Shops and resides in upstate Rexford, NY.
17. David Klingler, Houston, QB (No. 6 overall, 1992): Went 4-20 as a starter with 20 interceptions to 15 touchdowns. Klingler has a master’s in theology and is the director of Dallas Theological Seminary’s Houston branch, as of 2011.
16. Peter Warrick, Florida State, WR (No. 4 overall, 2000): Had five mediocre years in the NFL then bounced around other pro leagues, where he was on a roster in the Ultimate Indoor Football League as recently as 2011. Warrick was hired as an assistant at his old high school in Bradenton, FL, last year.
15. Huey Richardson, Florida, LB (No. 15 overall, 1991): Kicked to the curb after just one season in Pittsburgh, he is now a VP of U.S. Institutional Sales with the Permal Group in New York.
14. Joe Profit, Louisiana Monroe, RB (No. 7 overall, 1971): He ran for just 197 yards in two seasons and retired after his third. Profit earned his doctorate and is in the business of building information technology firms.
13. Reggie Rogers, Washington, DT (No. 7, 1987): Lasted just two seasons in Detroit, recording one sack, and then returned briefly before retiring in 1992. Rogers, who killed three teenagers while driving under the influence in 1988, was arrested for his sixth DUI in November of 2010. The arrest came just a year and a half after he was sentenced to two years in prison for his fifth DUI. Rogers was sentenced to a year in prison last September. [Update: Rogers died of a cocaine overdose in October of 2013.]
12. Andre Ware, Houston, QB (No. 7 overall, 1990): Ware had just six starts in four seasons with eight interceptions. He now works on Houston Texans radio broadcasts and ESPN regional college football.
11. Jim Druckenmiller, Virginia Tech, QB (No. 26 overall, 1997): Notched just one start in two seasons and was gone. He resides near Memphis and works as a sales rep for ASAP Staffing.
10. Jerry Tagge, Nebraska, QB (No. 11 overall, 1972): Threw 17 interceptions in 18 games in just three seasons with Green Bay. Tagge works as a financial advisor in Omaha, NE, and discovered he had prostate cancer two years ago.
9. Bo Matthews, Colorado, RB (No. 2 overall, 1974): He ran for 1,372 yards and 11 touchdowns in six seasons. He resides in Denver, CO, and runs The Matthews Center and Bo Matthews Center for Excellence non-profit community development centers.
8. Mike Junkin, Duke, LB (No. 5 overall, 1987): He lasted just three seasons in the NFL and effectively dropped off the face of the Earth. He now resides in Doylestown, PA.
7. Johnny “Lam” Jones, Texas, WR (No. 2 overall, 1980): Jones had blazing speed but stone hands and is now residing in Austin, TX, where he’s battling cancer and is an avid photographer.
6. Keith McCants, Alabama, DE (No. 4 overall, 1990): McCants tallied just 13.5 sacks in six NFL seasons and now resides in St. Petersburg, FL, according to his personal website. He has been arrested several times on drug charges over the years, most recently in 2010.
5. Charles Rogers, Michigan State, WR (No. 2 overall, 2003): Rogers played just two seasons in the NFL but his life has been a mess since. He has had three-alcohol related incidents since 2009 and is currently in legal trouble. He was recently accused by police of threatening to kill his own mother over $100,000.
4. Heath Shuler, Tennessee, QB (No. 3 overall, 1994): After throwing 21 picks to just five touchdowns over three seasons, Shuler eventually left the league. He has returned to D.C. as a Democratic congressman from North Carolina.
3. Art Schlichter, Ohio State, QB (No. 4 overall, 1982): After playing in just 13 games, Schlichter was in and out of prisons thanks to a gambling habit. Schlichter was sentenced to 10 years in prison in September of 2011 for his part in a ticket fraud scheme, then tested positive for cocaine to break a pre-sentencing release agreement.
2. Lawrence Phillips, Nebraska, RB (No 6. overall, 1996): After a shortened career due to major character issues, Phillips was arrested and eventually sentenced to 31 years in prison for domestic violence and assault with his car in a bizarre incident in which he tried to run over kids after a pickup football game in Los Angeles in 2005.
1. Ryan Leaf (No. 2 overall, 1998): Tossing 36 picks in four disastrous NFL seasons, Leaf moved back to his native Montana and was arrested last month for stealing to feed a prescription medication addiction.
There's Always More ...
Honorable Mention: Other epic busts that were not included in ESPN’s 2008 list.
JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU (1st overall, 2007): Russell was out of the league by 2009. He was arrested for “Purple Drank” in July of 2010 and has had financial problems and an unsuccessful comeback attempt.
Brian Bosworth, LB, Oklahoma (Supplemental Draft, 1st round, 1987): Bosworth appeared in just 24 NFL games after a star-studded career at Oklahoma. He’s reportedly working in real estate and living in Malibu, CA.
Steve Emtman, DT, Washington (1st overall, 1992): Emtman had an extensive list of injuries and finished with eight career NFL sacks. He now resides in Spokane Valley, WA, and is a real estate developer.
Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Penn State (1st overall, 1995): Another draft picked ruined by injuries, he resides in South Florida and runs an industrial sanitation company called BioGlobe as of 2011.
Courtney Brown, DE, Penn State (1st overall, 2000): Brown played until 2006 but wasn’t on the field much due to injuries. He resides in Parker, CO.