Marshall Snow Thomas
For football fans, the NFL draft is just under five weeks away. For us pigskin fanatics, its that sweet spot of the year where we can see the season off in the distance. For fans, draft night is a big deal. This is where we see the future of our beloved teams fold out, and we see what new players will be putting on the jerseys come September. For the actual players, it’s a different experience. These young men, have worked their entire lives to get to this point. They were the best at what they did in college, and now they wait and see where they get drafted. After the draft, at least for those in the first round, they become instant millionaires, and now they have big expectations to live up to. Some of them do live up to that hype, while others falter. Today, we’re going to look at the biggest NFL drafts since 2000.
- Vernon Gholston, Defensive End, New York Jets (2008)
“The word physical freak is far too overused for NFL prospects. That being said, Vernon Gholston is a physical freak.” Does anyone else remember this claim that Sporting News magazine said about Gholston in 2008? Indeed, he was a physical freak of nature, and a standout at the Ohio State University, and the Jets got him with the sixth pick in the first round. However, this Buckeye couldn’t quite pan out for the Jets, even with defensive minded head coach Rex Ryan. In three awful seasons in the Big Apple, Gholston didn’t record a single sack, interception, recovered or forced a fumble, making him a case for a modern day Brian Bosworth. Poor Jets, they’ll get it right one of these days.
4.Brady Quinn/Matt Leinart, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns/Arizona Cardinals (2006/2007)
These are the quarterbacks that we remember when we were kids. They were the golden boys! One was bringing Notre Dame out of obscurity, while the other was winning national championships at USC. Leinart was drafted tenth overall in 2006 by the Cardinals, and got extensive playing time for Arizona. However, he was beat out for the starting job by the ageless wonder Kurt Warner, who turned the franchise around, and in 2008 led them to the Super Bowl. For Quinn, he too went in the first round to the Browns. He played only 14 games for Cleveland, and was traded several years later to Denver, where he became a third stringer.
3.Joey Harrington, Quarterback, Detroit Lions (2002)
The early 2000’s until they drafted Calvin Johnson was drafted, the draft wasn’t kind to the Lions. Harrington was one of those mistakes, he was picked third overall. In his defense, the team that he was on, was absolutely awful, with no receivers, a mediocre offensive line, and a circus at running back. However, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that ole Joey was just plain ole awful, and this was the guy that was supposed to turn the franchise around. The thing about Harrington, was that he threw way too many interceptions, a problem that was never fixed. It was a plan to build a perfect quarterback for the Lions, a plan that didn’t succeed until Matthew Stafford was drafted.
2.Charles Rogers, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions (2003)
Another Lions draft pick….surprise! The bad thing is, Rogers was just one year after Harrington, whose the GM to blame for that? Rogers might have been even worse than Joey, playing in only 15 games during his three year career. Rogers was out with a collarbone that was broken twice, and missed time for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He finished with just 36 catches, 440 yards, and four touchdowns.
1.Jamarcus Russell, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders (2007)
Russell tops off this list, and towards the end of his career, topped off his belt with weight issues. This LSU Tiger was drafted number one overall, and I must admit, I purchased a jersey once he was drafted. Unfortunately for Russell and myself, I haven’t worn that jersey since Halloween of 2008. Russell had talent, no question about that. He could reportedly throw a football 60 yards on one knee, and was supposed to turn the Raiders around. After signing a six-year, $68 million deal with the Raiders in training camp—$31 million of that guaranteed—Russell won just seven NFL games. Think about that, $31 million for seven games. He had a .280 winning percentage, and had a 52 percent completion percentage. To put the cherry on top, literally, he reported to 2010 training camp at over 300 pounds, and was released by Oakland.