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What makes a draft pick a bust?

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6 hours ago, AFJF said:

I've had this conversation over the years with a few different people and it seems the term "bust" is thrown around for a wide variety of players, including some who have varying degrees of success in the NFL.  Is a guy a bust because he fails to meet expectations?  If so, whose expectations?  What if he falls short of expecdtations but still has a long/solid NFL career?

Best example I can think of with this question is somebody like Bryan Thomas.  When he was drafted, he was expected to be a guy who put up big sack numbers.  Based on those expectations, he'd be a bust because that never happene.  But is it fair (or even sensible) to refer to a 10-year starter as a bust?  Shouldn't that be reserved for guys like Vernon Gholston?  

Just curious to see what people are looking at when they say a guy is a bust.

For top 10 guys, especially at QB, failing to be a long-term elite-level player basically makes you a bust.  You might become a reliable starter but you'll always be a bust for not living up to your draft slot.

For later first rounds and some 2nd rounders, failing to be a long-term high-quality reliable starter.  If you're a backup or worse after a year, you're probably a bust.

For 2nd round and beyond, I don't believe "bust" really fits, but washing out of the league in your first camp would probably qualify.  Failing to make the team and ending up on the P.S. as a 2/3/4 round kid is probably another bad sign.

The distinction you're making is "bust" and "all time greatest busts".  A 10-year starter who is meh, but was picked #3 overall, is a bust.  Just not an all-time bust.  A guy picked #2 who gets cut his first camp, or never becomes a starter and gets arrested three times, those guys are a whole other class of bust.


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