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What makes a draft pick a bust?

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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.

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The only people that loosely throw around the word bust are the fans. How many times have we seen Q called a bust on this board after one season where he didn't  even play a full 16 games and played hurt. That said, if a fan expected Q to step on the field and duplicate Donald's 20+ sack season and he doesn't,  he will call him a bust. Is it right, imo no but that isn't  how thst fan feels.

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A bust can be defined as under-performance in relation to draft position (or draft grade). Draft position is indicative of potential, not necessarily expectation.

The question we ask when assessing a prospect is: what is the player likely to become? The potential is what you're assessing; your expectations are to be aligned with what you think is possible.

 

1st round draft pick: elite talent, guaranteed to become a foundational player, lengthy career w/ multiple pro-bowl seasons.

2nd round: exceptional talent, with less guaranteed longevity and upside, but a bankable professional profile.

3rd round: above-average talent, capable of becoming a solid professional with marginal upside.

4th-7th: average talent and indiscernible profile, potential upside must be weighed against noticeable flaws/question marks.

 

Generally speaking, if a player fails to realize his potential, he can safely be termed a bust. In this context, most players are almost certain to 'bust'. Which makes sense, because very few can be 'good' in a purely competitive, somewhat meritocratic environment. The terms 'good' or 'great' are used far too liberally, and the benchmarks are superficially lower [than they should be].

Now the degree of 'bust-ness'...is a different subject altogether. This is what the industry refers to as 'ceilings' and 'floors'.

Bryan thomas is unquestionably a bust. He under-performed in relation to draft position, he fell short of all 1st round benchmarks, he failed to realize his potential. He was an average NFL professional, and in hindsight - he was incorrectly given a first round grade. He was a 'failed evaluation'.

In the interest of fairness, a failed evaluation is not the fault of the player. The coaches, GM, scouting department have to be held accountable for the misses. Players can only play their best - their success largely depends on external factors. A player - of any draft grade - needs the right environment and circumstances to realize his potential. A lot of it..really comes down to luck.

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Everybody knows it's the most disgruntled fans that decide. 

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good grief.  i'm sure there are quite a few fans who think adams is a bust because he was picked too high in the draft.  like others have said, guys like gholston, deerslayer, faurot, hitman, stewart, hansen, amaro, hill, are all busts.  they just didn't have the desire to play the game and/or do the work needed to make the jump from college to the nfl. 

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Everyone has their own view of what makes a bust.

For me, it depends on the round. Probably something like this:

1st round, anything less than an average long term starter is a bust.

2nd round, anything less than a starter

3rd round, anything less than a role player

4-7th round, bust if the player doesn’t make the team year 1.

To me, Leo is not a bust. He’s a disappointment. Maybe semantics, but there’s a difference in my view.

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Gholston, Milliner, Hill, Wilson. Those types.

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8 minutes ago, GreenFish said:

Everyone has their own view of what makes a bust.

For me, it depends on the round. Probably something like this:

1st round, anything less than an average long term starter is a bust.

2nd round, anything less than a starter

3rd round, anything less than a role player

4-7th round, bust if the player doesn’t make the team year 1.

To me, Leo is not a bust. He’s a disappointment. Maybe semantics, but there’s a difference in my view.

This is basically where I’m at.  I think far too many fans have unrealistic expectations of tons of players who then “suck” when they’re not all-pro.  I blame fantasy football.

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32 minutes ago, rangerous said:

good grief.  i'm sure there are quite a few fans who think adams is a bust because he was picked too high in the draft.  like others have said, guys like gholston, deerslayer, faurot, hitman, stewart, hansen, amaro, hill, are all busts.  they just didn't have the desire to play the game and/or do the work needed to make the jump from college to the nfl. 

TOm Shane is not "quite a few fans". I mean he's big but not THAT big.  :biggrin:

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Draft position/projected draft position*salary*PFF numbers/sparq score-position value*mel kiper junior draft grade+age/sacks, interceptions,sacks given up/twitter self promotion quotient*team record+height/weight*college attended quotient= BUST RATIO FACTOR

It's pretty simple math really.

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to ask this I guess you're bored ... but so am I so I'll respond with

What makes a draft pick boom?

Guy performs significantly better than he was expected to for when/where he was picked

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4 hours ago, Irish Jet said:

D'Brickashaw Ferguson was being called a bust after 4 games on this place.

Probably not the best reflection of wisdom. 

Fan I know nick named him D Brickashaw turnstile in the first season. Brick figured out the speed in about 5-6 games and the rest is history. 

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3 hours ago, TNJet said:

Gholston, Milliner, Hill, Wilson. Those types.

I would add Quinton Coples. 1st rounder that NEVER had an impact. 

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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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It's obviously a sliding scale.  The higher you're drafted, the higher the expectations.  And rightfully so.  Since the 1977 draft (when the draft was reduced to 12 rounds), 46 of 72 (64 %) Hall of Famers in that span came from the 1st round of the draft:

 

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2nd rounders and even some 3rd rounders can qualify as "busts", but for the most part that's the domain of 1st rounders, and especially EARLY 1st rounders.

I think there's a distinction that needs to be made though.  I think busts are generally pretty obvious.  But some players are disappointments, not busts.  

In Jets drafting history (since 1977), I would l list these as busts:

  • DT Tank Marshall (1977 - 3rd round)
  • LB Mark Merrill (1978 - 2nd round)
  • WR Lam Jones (1980 - 1st round, # 2 overall)
  • WR Ralph Clayton (1980 - 2nd round)
  • RB Marion Barber (1981 - 2nd round)
  • LB Bob Crable (1982 - 1st round, # 23)
  • DB Russell Carter (1984 - 1st round, #  10)
  • DE Ron Faurot (1984 - 1st round, # 15)
  • TE Glenn Dennison (1984 - 2nd round)
  • OT Doug Williams (1986 - 2nd round)
  • LB Tim Crawford (1986 - 3rd round)
  • RB Roger Vick (1987 - 1st round, # 21)
  • DB Terry Williams (1988 - 2nd round)
  • RB Blair Thomas (1990 - 1st round, # 2)
  • WR Reggie Rembert (1990 - 2nd round)
  • QB Browning Nagle (1991 - 2nd round)
  • TE Johnny Mitchell (1992 - 1st round, # 15)
  • LB Kurt Barber (1992 - 2nd round)
  • DE Coleman Rudolph (1993 - 2nd round)
  • WR Ryan Yarborough (1994 - 2nd round)
  • DT Lou Benfatti (1994 - 3rd round)
  • TE Kyle Brady (1995 - 1st round, # 9)
  • WR Alex Van Dyke (1996 - 2nd round)
  • DT Rick Terry (1997 - 2nd round)
  • DE Dorian Boose (1998 - 2nd round)
  • TE Anthony Becht (2000 - 1st round, # 27)
  • DT Dewayne Robertson (2003 - 1st round, # 4)
  • DB Derrick Strait (2003 - 3rd round)
  • LB Anthony Schlegel (2006 - 3rd round)
  • DE Vernon Gholston (2008 - 1st round, # 6)
  • CB Kyle Wilson (2010 - 1st round, # 29)
  • DE Quinton Coples (2012 - 1st round, # 16)
  • WR Stephen Hill (2012 - 2nd round)
  • CB Dee Milliner (2013 - 1st round, # 9)
  • S Calvin Pryor (2014 - 1st round, # 18)
  • TE Jace Amaro (2014 - 2nd round)
  • CB Dexter McDougle (2014 - 3rd round)
  • WR Devin Smith (2015 - 2nd round)
  • LB Lorenzo Mauldin (2015 - 3rd round)
  • LB Darron Lee (2016 - 1st round, # 20)
  • QB Christian Hackenberg (2016 - 2nd round)
  • WR ArDarius Stewart (2017 - 3rd round)
  • LB Jachai Polite (2019 - 3rd round)

 

And these guys as disappointments:

  • OT Chris Ward (1978 - 1st round, # 4)
  • DL Marty Lyons (1979 - 1st round, # 14)
  • G Dave Cadigan (1988 - 1st round, # 8 )
  • DE Jeff Lageman (1989 - 1st round, # 14)
  • LB Marvin Jones (1993 - 1st round, # 4)
  • QB Chad Pennington (2000 - 1st round, # 18)
  • DE Bryan Thomas (2002 - 1st round, # 22)
  • LB Jonathan Vilma (2004 - 1st round, # 12)
  • TE Dustin Keller (2008 - 1st round, # 30)
  • QB Mark Sanchez (2009 - 1st round, # 5)
  • DT Leonard Williams (2015 - 1st round, # 6)

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6 hours ago, predator_05 said:

Now the degree of 'bust-ness'...is a different subject altogether. This is what the industry refers to as 'ceilings' and 'floors'.

Bryan thomas is unquestionably a bust. He under-performed in relation to draft position, he fell short of all 1st round benchmarks, he failed to realize his potential. He was an average NFL professional, and in hindsight - he was incorrectly given a first round grade. He was a 'failed evaluation'.

 

Disappointment? Sure. Unquestionably a bust? Only in your mind.

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I think it should be reserved because people say it so loosely but what can you do?  For example; Lorenzo Mauldin being called a bust.  Is a 3rd pick a bust in the NFL?  When 80% of 3rd picks have a similar career to Mauldin or worse? 

idk, cant control it.  Just too easy to throw it out there. 

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2 minutes ago, JiF said:

I think it should be reserved because people say it so loosely but what can you do?  For example; Lorenzo Mauldin being called a bust.  Is a 3rd pick a bust in the NFL?  When 80% of 3rd picks have a similar career to Mauldin or worse? 

idk, cant control it.  Just too easy to throw it out there. 

 

80 % of 3rd round picks are out of the league after 2 seasons?

Nope.  

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2 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

80 % of 3rd round picks are out of the league after 2 seasons?

Nope.  

What is it then?  75%? 

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34 minutes ago, JiF said:

I think it should be reserved because people say it so loosely but what can you do?  For example; Lorenzo Mauldin being called a bust.  Is a 3rd pick a bust in the NFL?  When 80% of 3rd picks have a similar career to Mauldin or worse? 

idk, cant control it.  Just too easy to throw it out there. 

 

31 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

80 % of 3rd round picks are out of the league after 2 seasons?

Nope.  

  

28 minutes ago, JiF said:

What is it then?  75%? 

 

You're not even in the ballpark.

I just looked at the same 2015 draft Mauldin was taken in.  

The following 3rd rounders from that draft are still in the league.  The ones in bold are projected starters in 2020:

  • G A.J. Cann 
  • TE Clive Walford 
  • WR Tyler Lockett (1x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro)
  • C Hroniss Grasu
  • G Jamon Brown
  • RB Tevin Coleman
  • WR Chris Conley
  • RB Duke Johnson
  • CB P.J. Williams
  • G Jamon Brown
  • G John Miller
  • LB Jordan Hicks
  • TE Tyler Kroft
  • RB David Johnson (1x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro)
  • DE Danielle Hunter (2x Pro Bowler)
  • QB Sean Mannion
  • DT Carl Davis
  • TE Jeff Heuerman
  • DE Henry Anderson
  • RB Ty Montgomery
  • CB Steven Nelson

 

So out of 34 third round picks from that class, 21 (62 %) are still in the league, and 9 (26 %) have been multi-year starters/projected 2020 starters.  

Only 4 (CB D'Joun Smith, G Jeremiah Poutasi, DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa) including Mauldin were out of the league after 2 seasons.  Less than 9 %.  

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And yes, the 2015 draft was a good example to compare Mauldin to, because it wasn't a strong draft class.  

2016 had 3rd rounders that included Kevin Byard, Yannick Ngakoue, Joe Thuney, Justin Simmons, Kenyan Drake, Austin Hooper, Kendall Fuller, Jordan Jenkins, Javon Hargrave, Jacoby Brissett, Graham Glasgow and Maliek Collins.  

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20 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

  

 

You're not even in the ballpark.

I just looked at the same 2015 draft Mauldin was taken in.  

The following 3rd rounders from that draft are still in the league.  The ones in bold are projected starters in 2020:

  • G A.J. Cann 
  • TE Clive Walford 
  • WR Tyler Lockett (1x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro)
  • C Hroniss Grasu
  • G Jamon Brown
  • RB Tevin Coleman
  • WR Chris Conley
  • RB Duke Johnson
  • CB P.J. Williams
  • G Jamon Brown
  • G John Miller
  • LB Jordan Hicks
  • TE Tyler Kroft
  • RB David Johnson (1x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro)
  • DE Danielle Hunter (2x Pro Bowler)
  • QB Sean Mannion
  • DT Carl Davis
  • TE Jeff Heuerman
  • DE Henry Anderson
  • RB Ty Montgomery
  • CB Steven Nelson

 

So out of 34 third round picks from that class, 21 (62 %) are still in the league, and 9 (26 %) have been multi-year starters/projected 2020 starters.  

Only 4 (CB D'Joun Smith, G Jeremiah Poutasi, DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa) including Mauldin were out of the league after 2 seasons.  Less than 9 %.  

 

11 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

And yes, the 2015 draft was a good example to compare Mauldin to, because it wasn't a strong draft class.  

2016 had 3rd rounders that included Kevin Byard, Yannick Ngakoue, Joe Thuney, Justin Simmons, Kenyan Drake, Austin Hooper, Kendall Fuller, Jordan Jenkins, Javon Hargrave, Jacoby Brissett, Graham Glasgow and Maliek Collins.  

Bah, sorry, I was thinking of the starter percentages from our draft conversations.  It's like in the high teens or low 20's for starters from the 3rd round.  My bad.  I knew those didnt feel right after hitting send.  lol

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3 minutes ago, JiF said:

 

Bah, sorry, I was thinking of the starter percentages from our draft conversations.  It's like in the high teens or low 20's for starters from the 3rd round.  My bad.  I knew those didnt feel right after hitting send.  lol

Gotcha.  In that case, 26 % of the 2015 3rd rounders and 35 % of the 2016 3rd rounders are still starters in the league in 2020.  

To not even be in the league by year 3 of their careers make 3rd rounders Mauldin, ArDarius Stewart and Polite recent busts.  Without a doubt.  

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3 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Gotcha.  In that case, 26 % of the 2015 3rd rounders and 35 % of the 2016 3rd rounders are still starters in the league in 2020.  

To not even be in the league by year 3 of their careers make Mauldin and Polite 3rd round busts.  Without a doubt.  

Yeah for sure, I was thinking of the below and that number was higher. lol

Anywho, carry on

Percentage of Total Games Started
   
Groups Median    
Overall 15.0%    
1st 67.5%    
2nd 33.8%    
3rd 36.3%    
       

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9 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.

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