Comparable to how several wonder why the general public continues watching “The Jersey Shore,” some ponder who will be this year’s NFL draft busts. Yet, every year the commissioner steps up to the podium and speaks the words, “The Lions are now on the clock,” Lions fans around the nation hope like Brett Favre that his wife never looks at his text messages, that they make a wise decision.
The Honolulu blue and silver’s front office has done a steady job in the past few years of avoiding drafting a player that has the word “bust” tied to them and hopefully that trend will continue this year. With 17 days until the first round of the draft the SideLion Report looks at the top five Detroit Lions draft busts in the modern era.
5. Mike Williams
- Mike Williams took the path less traveled into getting picked with the 10th overall selection in the 2005 NFL draft. The vision was like something out of a video game, the tandem of Roy Williams and Mike Williams and Charles Rogers was going to be a force to be reckoned with. That turned out worse than a Charlie Sheen stand up show. Drafted out of USC for his size and strength at 6’5” and 235-pounds, Williams was going to be untouchable. However, he was only able to accumulate 37 catches for 459 yards and two touchdowns in just two years for the Lions. He was cut for his lack of motivation and his disregard for his weight and the game of football as a whole. Williams had a brief stint with both Oakland and Tennessee but it never amounted to anything. A positive is that Williams was given another chance by his former college coach Pete Carroll and has brought his career back from the depths of the NFL all-time bust list. In 2010 Williams showed his commitment by losing weight and adding strength and speed. He amassed 65 receptions for 751 yards and 2 touchdowns. He could turn his career around in the future. Bust Grade = B+
4. Stockar Mcdougle
- Drafted with the 20th overall selection in 2000 from the University of Oklahoma, McDougle was drafted to be a solid anchor opposite Jeff Backus with his power and overwhelming ability to engulf the opposing defenders. At 6’6” and 335-pounds he was just too slow to keep up with the speed of the NFL game. Hampered by injuries in his first few years as a Lion he didn’t see much of the field. On the contrary, he started all 16 games in 2003 and was part of an offensive line that set a record for fewest sacks in Detroit Lions history. But he could never duplicate that magic ever again. He spent five seasons with the lions and eventually was not resigned in 2005 where he was picked up by Miami as a reserve. He then played a few seasons in Jacksonville as mostly a special team’s player. In 2007, he was charged with battery over an unpaid bill at a tree nursery. Not on the level of Jamarcus Russell but deserving of a “bust” label none the less. Bust Grade = B-
3. Joey Harrington
- Having a remarkable college career at Oregon, Joey Harrington received more praise than Paris Hilton did in the film “One night in Paris.” With all the success as a Duck his name could not be eliminated from Heisman talks. So much praise for this budding franchise quarterback the Lions made the decision to draft him with the third pick overall in the 2002 NFL draft. Harrington started 28 college contests. He completed 512 of 928 passes for 6,911 yards, with 59 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions. In 2001, he threw 27 touchdown passes with only just six interceptions. It’s no wonder Marty Mornhinweg and Matt Millen wanted to christen brand new Ford Field with a dynamic quarterback in Joey Harrington. With all that hype and praise for his accuracy Harrington only was able to muster a 52.65 completion percentage as a lion. Granted the Lions didn’t have the best players around him but when you take a player with the third pick overall you expect him to be a starter for a long time. Harrington is currently a free agent after spending some time with Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans as a third string back up. Bust Grade = C
2. Andre Ware
- After winning the Heisman in 1989 at Houston University the Lions took the junior with the seventh overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft. Ware rarely saw the field in playing only four years with the Lions only mustering 6 starts. This pick set the Detroit franchise back years in its progress. Ware is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was the first African- American to win the Heisman which are about the only two positive things about Ware did as a player. Bust Grade = D-
1. Charles Rogers
- Growing up in Saginaw, Michigan and having a stellar career at Michigan State Rogers was not only pushed by Lions fans to be their stud wideout but was coveted by the previous year’s pick Joey Harrington. The vision of this dynamic duo faded to black before it even started. The Lions took him with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. To say the Lions whiffed on this pick would be an understatement. Rogers was lazy on the field and was more of a pothead than Ricky Williams. Rogers broke his collarbone midway through his rookie year side lining him for the rest of the season and it all snowballed from there. He suffered the same injury in his second year and in his third year he failed his third drug test and was suspended for four games. Mike Martz was brought in as an offensive coordinator to resurrect the Lions offense. Rogers had a hard time grasping the complex passing offense of Martz and was later cut in 2006 only accumulating 15 games in three seasons. Rogers since has been arrested for drug charges and has spent some time in jail. A sad story for the Lions and Charles but we look at oh what could have been. Bust Grade = F
Others receiving grades
- Teddy Lehman – B+
- Kevin Jones – B+
About the Author: Drew Wallace was born a Detroit Lions fan in a family from Michigan. Transplanted to Wisconsin surrounded by the disgusting colors of green and yellow. He graduated with a communications degree from UW-Oshkosh and now works as a Regional Sales Representative in the steel industry in Milwaukee. On Sunday’s you can spot him in a silver and light blue jersey hoping to one day witness Ndamukong Suh’s inaugural NFL playoff game.
Edited by Paul Fladten