Second-Round Failures: 2008-2012
A second-round draft bust is a bit more common than a player from the first as teams are more likely to take a risk or look at star players from smaller schools in the draft’s second stanza. Therefore, in order to be included on the list of the 10 biggest second-round draft busts over the past five years, you must have done something really wrong.
It is worth noting that we’ve tried to avoid players who suffered injuries that ended their career, although there are a few exceptions that are hard to ignore. There are no 2012 draft picks that made this list — it’s largely too early to tell for them. For instance, the 2012 second-round pick with the fewest snaps was Brock Osweiler (33 snaps), but it’s hard to call Osweiler a bust when Peyton Manning is playing ahead of him.
Here are 10 draft selections where the team would have been better off just passing their pick, instead of wasting their time on these players.
1. Pat White, Miami Dolphins: No. 44 overall, 2009
Back when the wildcat offense was popular, White was drafted in the second round and saw a few snaps each game throughout his rookie season. On the bright side he had a 33-yard run once, but he couldn’t complete any passes on his eight dropbacks. The following year he couldn’t get a spot on the roster, with Tyler Thigpen earning the third QB role. He signed with the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League nearly a year later, but was released just over two months later. Fast forward another year and a half, and White has signed with the Washington Redskins. There is still a chance for White to make a great comeback story, but for now White is a player who could only make it one year in the NFL, with no one wanting him during the first two and a half years after his release.
2. David Veikune, Cleveland Browns: No. 52 overall, 2009
In Veikune’s only year with the Browns, he saw just 16 snaps in a single game against the Chicago Bears in Week 9. On those defensive snaps he had zero tackles or any other statistic to show for those snaps. Like the other players at the top of this list, he was released after one season with the team. Mid-way into the 2010 season, he was picked up by the Broncos and saw a defensive snap in Week 17, but didn’t make it any further with the Broncos. Also similar to the other players at the top of the list, he ended up in the United Football League. At the time Browns fans were upset as they could have gotten a decent running back at the pick, but in the end things worked out well enough with Trent Richardson.
3. Dexter Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No. 58 overall, 2008
As a rookie, Jackson was mostly used as a kick and punt returner. He averaged a decent 23.4 yards per kick return on his 14 returns and a lackluster 5.3 yards per punt return. He then lost both jobs to Clifton Smith. He received six offensive snaps and zero targets. By midseason he wasn’t seeing any playing time and was released the following offseason. From there he spent time on both the Panthers and Jets practice squads as well as time in the United Football League before his career in football ended. His six offensive snaps is the fewest for all offensive players drafted over the past five years.
4. Jaiquawn Jarrett, Philadelphia Eagles: No. 54 overall, 2011
The Eagles needed a safety to pair with 2010 second-round pick Nate Allen, so they brought in Jarrett. It ended up being Jarrad Page and Kurt Coleman who started the season, and it wasn’t until Week 9 that Jarrett saw any playing time. In his 254 snaps in 2011, Jarrett missed three tackles, saw no pressure on his 14 pass rushes, and allowed a high 63.6% catch rate for a high 20 yards per catch. The Eagles realized their mistake in drafting Jarrett, and released him prior to the 2012 season. No team wanted Jarrett during the 2012 season, and it wasn’t until the season was over that Jarrett got signed to a futures contract by the New York Jets. It takes a special kind of bust to make it only one year, and the following season only get looks and not even a practice squad spot.
5. Brian Brohm, Green Bay Packers: No. 56 overall, 2008
In 2008 Brohm was drafted to be Aaron Rodgers’ backup, and some thought he could push Rodgers for the starting job. In training camp he went on to lose the backup quarterback job to Matt Flynn, a seventh-round rookie. He didn’t see a single snap in Green Bay, and was released during roster cuts the following year, and brought back on the practice squad. It took two months for anyone else to want Brohm, with the Bills finally picking him up. He received a Week 16 start where he averaged 5.0 yards per pass and had two interceptions. He made the team again in 2010 where he received a meaningless Week 17 start where he was down to 4.6 yards per pass and had three interceptions. He was not re-signed in 2011, and was off to the United Football League.
6. Alphonso Smith, Denver Broncos: No. 37 Overall, 2009
The Alphonso Smith story begins with the Broncos trading their 2010 first-round pick for a 2009 second-round pick in order to acquire him. The first-round pick was eventually used to pick Earl Thomas. As a rookie, Smith saw the field for just 150 snaps mostly as a slot corner where passers had a quarterback rating of 111.7 when throwing his way. The following offseason the Broncos were ready to give up on Smith and traded him for Dan Gronkowski, a 2009 seventh-round pick. His first year with the Lions was highlighted by allowing 147 yards and three touchdowns to the Patriots. He was released before the 2011 season, but was brought back midseason after several injuries to the Lions’ cornerbacks. He didn’t come back in 2012 and was not picked up by anyone else. It takes a special kind of bust to be involved in two different embarrassing trades.
7. Titus Young, Detroit Lions: No. 44 overall, 2011
As a rookie, Young saw a significant amount of playing time, which was enough to make him the second-most penalized wide receiver in the league, with eight penalties. His play in his second year wasn’t as good with less than 25 yards in 6 of 10 games. In what was possibly his last game in the NFL, he caught just one of seven passes thrown his way against the Packers. The rest of his story is well known as he was benched in favor of other busts like Mike Thomas, Kris Durham and Brian Robiskie, and then released after the season. He was added by the Rams, only to be released just days later without much of an explanation. Although he saw more playing time than your typical second-round bust, it is never good when you are out of the league within two years of being drafted, and having your second team give up on you so quickly.
8. James Hardy, Buffalo Bills: No. 41 overall, 2008
The Bills drafted Hardy, and he was able to play a significant amount in his rookie year. However, of the 23 passes thrown his way he was able to catch only nine for 87 yards. His lackluster play in his rookie year led to just 26 snaps in the last two games in 2009, and his release prior to the 2010 season. After no one picked him up during the 2010 season, the Ravens gave him a shot during the offseason prior to the 2011 season, but he failed to make that roster as well. While he is a bust by every definition of the word, he lasted two years with the team that drafted him, which is more than you can say about the worst of the guys on this list.
9. Cody Brown, Arizona Cardinals: No. 63 overall, 2009
A preseason wrist injury in Brown’s rookie season ended his first year. In his second year he was waived by Arizona to get the roster down to 53, and just days later he was added to the Jets’ practice squad. He spent the year on the practice squad, and failed to make the Jets’ roster the following year, so he was again released. The Lions gave him a look, and then thought better of it which ended his NFL career. While we don’t want to fill this list with players who saw their career end with injury, Brown makes this list as he is the only second-round pick in the past five years to not play a single offensive or defensive snap. It certainly isn’t good when a team gives up on you after one year, despite the injury.
10. Sergio Kindle, Baltimore Ravens: No. 43 overall, 2010
The Ravens picked Kindle despite injury concerns coming into the NFL. It took more than a year before Kindle was able to be on the active roster. Over the 2011 season, the Ravens trusted Kindle with only 15 defensive snaps. All 15 of those snaps were passing plays where Kindle failed to pick up any pressure. Kindle was the only one on this list to make it to a third year with his first team, and he played another 12 snaps in 2012 before getting released by the Ravens in order to make room for the return of Terrell Suggs. He made it to their practice squad, but was released prior to the playoff run. His 27 total snaps is the fewest for all 2010 draft picks, with all other second-round picks from that draft receiving at least 10 times that number. Right now, no team is willing to take a chance on him even as a training camp player.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke