Top 50 NFL Draft Busts: Where Are They Now?
Biggest of the Busts
The NFL draft can make or break your NFL franchise for years to come, as Peyton Manning going one spot ahead of Ryan Leaf in 1998 showed. As a result, the biggest NFL draft busts in history often end up trading fame for infamy.
We look at the Top 50 NFL draft busts of all time, according to ESPN.com in 2008.
50. Michael Westbrook (pictured), 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): Harris 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 (pictured), Ohio State, RB (No. 101 overall, 2005): Clarett never played a down in the NFL but has seemingly has cleaned up his act after serving prison time for concealed weapon and robbery charges, often speaking to college football teams about his mistakes. He lives in Youngstown, OH.
46. Alex Van Dyke (pictured), Nevada, WR (No. 31 overall, 1996): Van Dyke daught 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): Clay played in just 12 games over two seasons. His whereabouts are unknown.
44. Johnathan Sullivan, Georgia, DT (No. 6 overall, 2003): He 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 (pictured), Boston College, DE/LB (No. 7 overall, 1995): Dubbed a “Workout Warrior” for his impressive NFL combine, Mamula played six seasons in the NFL and was was hobbled by injuries. He currently works with Comprehensive Screening Services in Voorhees, NJ.
42. Akili Smith (pictured), Oregon, QB (No. 3 overall, 1995): Smith started just 17 games over four seasons with the Bengals and threw 13 picks to just five touchdowns during that time. Smith runs Akili Smith Training for quarterbacks in his hometown of San Diego, CA.
41. Reggie Rembert, West Virginia, WR (No. 28 overall, 1990): He never signed with the team who drafted him (New York Jets) and went to Cincinnati for a mediocre three seasons. He resides in Indianapolis, IN.
40. Cade McNown (pictured), UCLA, QB (No. 12 overall, 1999): Pegged as the Chicago Bears’ next franchise QB, McNown lasted all of two seasons in the “Windy City.” In June of 2013, McNown was named the vice president of Lourd Capital Management, an investment company 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 (pictured), San Diego State, QB (No. 16 overall, 1991): Better known as Mark McGwire’s little brother, he didn’t have a single NFL 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 (pictured), 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 for fraud. In February of 2014, Erxleben was sentenced to 90 months in prison for scams that included a $2 Ponzi scheme.
35. Mike Elkins, Wake Forest, QB (No. 32 overall, 1989): Elkins 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): Powell 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 (pictured), Texas A&M, RB (No. 32 overall, 1996): McElroy ran for just 729 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons in the NFL. He currently resides in Garland, TX.
32. Andre Johnson, Penn State, OT (No. 30 overall, 1996): Johnson never appeared in a game with the Redskins and played just three games his whole NFL career. He’s currently a business owner in Leesburg, VA.
31. Todd Marinovich (pictured), USC, QB (No. 24 overall, 1991): The “Robo QB” made just eight regular-season starts in two seasons with the Raiders. 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): Gibson 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 (pictured), Penn State, QB (No. 7 overall, 1983): Blackledge 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 (pictured), Michigan State, OT (No. 2 overall, 1989): “The Incredible Bulk” 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): Patulski had a decent rookie season but put up poor numbers the rest of his career (just four years). He currently resides in Syracuse, NY.
26. Jack Thompson (pictured), Washington State, QB (No. 3 overall, 1979): The “Throwin’ Samoan” could never unseat Ken Anderson, the starter at Cincinnati. Residing in Torrance, CA, he helped Washington State and World Vision to help raise money after the tsunami in American Samoa in 2009.
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, GA.
24. Tony Sacca (pictured), Penn State, QB (No. 46 overall, 1992): Sacca played in just two games and never started in the NFL. He is now the head coach for Burlington City High School in Burlington, NJ.
23. Kelly Stouffer, Colorado State, QB (No. 6 overall, 1987): Stouffer 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 (pictured), 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 (pictured), 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): Couch 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 (pictured), Houston, QB (No. 6 overall, 1992): Klingler went 4-20 as a starter with 20 interceptions to 15 touchdowns. He has a master’s in theology and in 2012, Klingler was named assistant professor of biblical studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Havard School of Theological Studies in Houston
16. Peter Warrick (pictured), Florida State, WR (No. 4 overall, 2000): Warrick had five mediocre years in the NFL, then bounced around other pro leagues; he was on a roster in the Ultimate Indoor Football League as recently as 2011. Warrick is currently the wide receivers coach of Creekside High School in Fairburn, GA.
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 (pictured), Washington, DT (No. 7, 1987): Rogers 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. Sadly, Rogers died of a cocaine overdose in 2013.
12. Andre Ware (pictured), 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 college football.
11. Jim Druckenmiller, Virginia Tech, QB (No. 26 overall, 1997): The former Hokie notched just one start in two NFL 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): Tagge threw 17 interceptions in 18 games in just three seasons with Green Bay. He now works as a financial advisor in Omaha, NE.
9. Bo Matthews, Colorado, RB (No. 2 overall, 1974): He ran for just 1,372 yards and 11 touchdowns in six seasons. He resides in Denver, CO, and runs non-profit community development centers, The Matthews Center and Bo Matthews Center for Excellence.
7. Johnny “Lam” Jones (pictured), 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 currently resides in Tampa, FL. He has been arrested several times on drug charges over the years, most recently in 2010, but is now trying to stay clean. You can follow him on Twitter at @KeithMcCants.
5. Charles Rogers, Michigan State, WR (No. 2 overall, 2003): Rogers played just two seasons in the NFL and his life has been a mess since. He has had three-alcohol related incidents since 2009 and was accused by police of threatening to kill his own mother over $100,000 in 2012.
4. Heath Shuler, Tennessee, QB (No. 3 overall, 1994): After throwing 21 picks to just five touchdowns over three seasons with the Redskins, Shuler has triumphantly 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 prison 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, Washington St., QB (No. 2 overall, 1998): Tossing 36 picks in four disastrous NFL seasons, Leaf moved back to his native Montana and was arrested for stealing to feed a prescription medication addiction. He was sentenced to five years in jail in 2013 but was released in December of 2014.
There's Always More ...
Honorable Mention: Other epic busts that were not included in ESPN’s 2008 list.
JaMarcus Russell, LSU, QB (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 NFL comeback attempt. He lives in his hometown of Mobile, AL.
There's Always More ...
Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma, LB (Supplemental Draft, 1st round, 1987): Bosworth appeared in just 24 NFL games after a star-studded career at Oklahoma before moving on to a Hollywood film career. Appearing in Dish Network commercials and the subject of an ESPN “30 for 30” film in 2014, Bosworth resides in Malibu, CA.
There's Always More ...
Steve Emtman, Washington, DT (1st overall, 1992): Emtman had an extensive list of injuries and finished with just eight career NFL sacks. He now resides in Spokane Valley, WA, and is a real estate developer.
There's Always More ...
Ki-Jana Carter, Penn State, RB (1st overall, 1995): Another draft picked ruined by injuries, Carter resides in South Florida and is an analyst for the Big Ten Network.
There's Always More ...
Courtney Brown, Penn State, DE (1st overall, 2000): Brown played in the NFL until 2006 but wasn’t on the field much due to injuries. He resides outside Denver in Parker, CO.