NFL: Draft Busts of 2010s

Part of being a football fan includes anticipating the next breakout star. We’re glued to the TV and attentive to notifications, when drafts picks are in. We’ve seen those that have secured football immortality, then there are those we chose to forget.

It’s always easy to remember the stars from previous drafts. You have Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, etc. But, none of them came with a guarantee. They were gambles that paid off.

That’s what combines and drafts are, high advertisement of players for the next season. Think of them as ‘As Seen on TV’ ads. It looks good at first, but then you find out it wasn’t as good as expected. These are those players, for the 2010s.

Rolando McClain

McClain was one of the lucky few, to be part of the new decade’s draft; as a Raider. In his first three seasons (starting 38 of 41), he recorded 6.5 sacks, one INT, 2245 tackles, and one safety.

In 2013, McClain signed with the Ravens. A month later, he declared his retirement.

The Cowboys acquired McClain in 2014, and there was minor revival in his performance. When 2015 hit, he was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

By the end of his run with the Cowboys, he had racked up multiple arrests, leading to no team wanting anything to do with him.

The majority of his career is best described as confrontational, problematic, and unreliable. In 2019, McClain applied for reinstatement. With the Covid 19 ruining all of the things, it’s not likely that McClain will be on any team’s radar .

Blain Gabbert

Originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, Gabbert has played for the 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and now Tampa Bay Buccaneers (backup to Tom Brady). It’s too late to establish himself as anything more than a journeyman.

During the Niners’ 2016 disaster of a season, frequent switch in quarterbacks between him, Kaepernick, and Christian Ponder did no one any favors. It further damaged all three careers. Now with Brady as a Buccaneer and Ryan Griffin as a 2nd string QB, don’t expect Gabbert to see much time on the field.

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Gabbert couldn’t find his groove in San Fran. (Via

Robert Griffin III

RGIII joined the Washington Redskins as part of the 2012 Draft. Griffin had a great rookie season, and more was expected. Unfortunately, it was nothing more than an illusion. Before going over to the Browns, he had only completed 63.1% of his passes (679 of 1063).

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One of the many injuries to hit RGIII (via

As a Brown, he only played five games. His completion percentage dropped to 59.2%. His time in Cleveland was short, as he signed with the Ravens the following season. Two years in and it didn’t get better. As a Raven, he has ten games to his name, with less than 50 attempts and a 56.8% completion rating. To top off everything, he has over five major injuries. At this pace, his time in the NFL won’t last any longer.

Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder was drafted by the Vikings in 2011. Those four years in Minnesota were horrendous. Out of the 38 games he played (36 as the starter, he threw) 36 interceptions. That’s pretty much an interception per game. It’s a dubious personal record that makes the Browns QBs jealous.

As a Niner, he was non-existent. Ponder wore the gold and red, only to never set foot on the field. That is where his career met its end.

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Football’ was the biggest hype in the 2014 Draft. The Texas A&M product seemed like he was going to be the man to bring the Browns out of misery and into glory. Manziel’s first season saw moderate success.

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Johnny Manziel’s story is a giant “What if…” scenario. (Via

What he’s best known for are off-field antics. Instead of leaving behind his party life behavior in college, Manziel brought it along, into the professional world. The sad thing is that his 2012 arrest (while in college) was a red flag. The Browns disregarded it and still drafted him. All over social media, the world saw a party boy and drinker. Despite stints in the CFL and AAF, Manziel’s legacy will be best described as a experimental failure. Between his debut and the 2019 season, the NFL has seen the arrival of far better and consistent QBs. A chance at redemption is very unlikely.

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