Zach Wilson - Quarterback - New York Jets
During the 2021-22 NFL season, Zach Wilson played in 13 games for the New York Jets. The team won three of those games, though to be fair, that's not entirely Wilson's fault. The Jets aren't a great team to begin with. But Wilson, who was the second quarterback drafted overall in 2021 and who had been a standout player at Brigham Young University, didn't live up to the hype.
He was sacked 44 times, costing him 370 yards. He threw nine touchdowns all year as well as 11 interceptions. And he fumbled the ball five times. To be fair, Wilson did injure his knee during week seven and missed four games after that, so he didn't play the full season. However, based on what we did see, we're not holding out much hope for him in 2022-23.
Trevor Lawrence - Quarterback - Jacksonville Jaguars
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was a huge star at Clemson University, and he even led the Tigers to a national championship. So, it probably came as no surprise to anyone when he was the first guy drafted in 2021. Let's start by admitting that Lawrence had a few things working against him. First, he was just coming off shoulder surgery, which is enough to slow anyone down. Second, he was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team wasn't great, and that was before the head coach, Urban Meyer, turned out to be a bad fit for the team and was let go at midseason. Third, the team lost its star running back to a season-ending injury during a preseason game, affecting Lawrence’s offensive options.
Even taking that into consideration, Lawrence's stats just weren't great. After 17 games, he had a 3 and 14 won-loss record, had thrown 12 touchdowns, and was sacked 32 times. He also threw 17 interceptions, the second-most in the league.
Trey Lance - Quarterback - San Francisco 49ers
To be honest, Trey Lance didn't play enough in 2021 to be labeled a bust just yet, but he's on the verge. At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 226 pounds, Lance is a big guy. As a college player at North Dakota State University, he played a very physical game. Experts agree that he isn't going to be able to do this as a pro or he's going to keep getting injured, much like he did when he did see some playing time last year.
Concerns about him being injury-prone aside, Lance played in two games during the 2021-22 season, winning one. He threw five touchdowns and two interceptions, and he was sacked four times.
Rashod Bateman - Wide Receiver - Baltimore Ravens
Rashod Bateman was a first-round draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens, and the wide receiver from Tifton, Georgia, earned several accolades during his college career at the University of Michigan.
Unfortunately, he spent almost half of the 2021-22 season on the injured reserve list with a groin injury. When he was finally able to play, Bateman racked up 515 yards and a four-yard touchdown in a game against Cleveland. The Ravens claim it wants to build a team around the pairing of Bateman and Lamar Jackson, but whether that's doable remains to be seen.
Justin Fields - Quarterback - Chicago Bears
If you followed Justin Fields during college, you know he was a bit all over the place — withdrawing from Penn State University to play for the University of Georgia, only to end up transferring to Ohio State University where he played the bulk of his college career. Fields did pretty well at Ohio State and was even a Heisman Trophy contender but, so far, that hasn't translated very well to the pros.
Fields started 10 games and ended the season with a 2-8 record. He threw seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions and was sacked 36 times. However, to be fair, the Chicago Bears have had some major coaching issues, so it'll be interesting to see how Fields plays with Matt Eberflus taking over as head coach. Some say Fields, who was a first-round draft pick, needs to mature a bit. Either way, he's on the verge of bust territory.
Alex Leatherwood - Guard - Las Vegas Raiders
When the Las Vegas Raiders drafted Alex Leatherwood out of the University of Alabama in 2021, a lot of fans were left wondering about the selection. It didn't seem like the best first-round pick, and so far, the fans have been right.
Leatherwood has struggled. He started as a guard and an offensive tackle for the Raiders, and he didn't look good at either position. Whether he's a bust remains to be seen but, so far, he's one of the worst first-round picks to come out of the 2021 draft.
Jaelan Phillips - Outside Linebacker - Miami Dolphins
Let's start by saying Jaelan Phillips had a strong finish to the 2021-22 season. If he can keep that up into next year, he'll come off this list, but he's still got room to improve. He got off to an extremely slow start last season, and he didn't even get a sack until week five.
Phillips has the potential to be a big impact pass rusher for the Dolphins during the 2022-23 season, but the team will have to make some decisions about some of his competition, and Phillips will need to keep up the streak he had going at the end of the year.
Jamin Davis - Linebacker - Washington Football Team
Linebacker Jamin Davis was a star when he played college ball at the University of Kentucky, and there was a lot of hype surrounding him when the Washington Football Team drafted him in the first round. Some were even predicting a Defensive Rookie of the Year accolade. Not only did that not happen, but the hype died down.
Davis didn't play much at the beginning of the season, and when he did play, he was a bit of a disappointment. He allowed an 85.7 percent completion rate and a 114.4 passer rating. Many believe Davis will come back and have an explosive year during the 2022-23 season, but it feels like one of those situations where it'll go one way or the other — bust or success — with not much middle ground.
Caleb Farley - Cornerback - Tennessee Titans
As a player at Virginia Tech University, cornerback Caleb Farley was plagued with injuries. He was considered a risky draft prospect, but the Tennessee Titans disregarded all of that and drafted him in the first round anyway, much to the dismay of the team's fans. Well, the risk didn't pay off. By week six, Farley had a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and didn't play the remainder of the season.
This is the same injury that cost him his freshman year at Virginia Tech. Farley also reportedly has back problems. It's hard to say if Farley is a bust, but the outlook isn't too good for the former wide receiver.
Travis Etienne - Running Back - Jacksonville Jaguars
We'll start by saying Travis Etienne is in the same boat as Lawrence, and both men played together at Clemson. If the team can get it together, they could end up being a great pairing, but that would also mean Etienne would have to get healthy first.
The running back was the 25th pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft but, unfortunately, he was injured during a preseason game with the New Orleans Saints. Etienne spent the entire 2021-22 season on the injured reserve list, making him a bust so far.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka - Outside Linebacker - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, which means he was lucky enough to land on a great team but unlucky enough to be on a team where he'd have to compete for starting time. While he played pretty well during the playoffs, Tyron-Shoyinka was only mediocre during the regular season.
It was kind of hard to get a feel for whether he's going to be a great player or not. Some experts say he needs some time to mature but, once again, this is a situation that could just as easily be a bust as a great success.
Tutu Atwell - Wide Receiver - Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams left many fans scratching their heads when the team chose to draft an injury-prone wide receiver out of the University of Louisville in 2021. The team has a player that many consider the best wide receiver in the league in Cooper Kupp. There were countless articles written questioning this second-round pick.
Atwell didn't make a single catch during his rookie year. In fact, he mostly played as a return specialist. It's hard to know what the Rams will do with him in the future, but we're ready to label Atwell a bust. But he did get a Super Bowl ring.
Payton Turner - Defensive End - New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints drafting a defensive edge out of Houston was a questionable choice, but Payton Turner started out playing pretty decently. When he played.
Many experts agree that the team didn't utilize him as much as it should have. And by November, he was out for the year with a shoulder injury. Turner certainly has bust potential, but it's hard to make that call when he barely even played.
Penei Sewell - Offensive Tackle - Detroit Lions
Offensive tackle Penei Sewell was a star when he played college football at the University of Oregon. He was a unanimous All-American selection, and he won the Morris Trophy and Outland Trophy. He was also selected as the 2019 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.
But after the Detroit Lions picked him in the first round of the draft in 2021, his skills didn't necessarily seem to translate to the pros. Some experts blame his size. They say he's too big to be quick and athletic enough to get the job done. Sewell had an unimpressive rookie year and to avoid being labeled a bust, he will have to prove himself in 2022.
Zaven Collins - Linebacker - Arizona Cardinals
About a month after the Arizona Cardinals drafted Zaven Collins, he was arrested for speeding and reckless driving. Perhaps that was a sign of things to come? As a college player at Tulsa, he was a standout, winning the Lombardi Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and the Chuck Bednarik Award in 2020. He was also the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American choice.
Collins began the 2021-22 season as a starter but, as the season progressed, he spent less time on the field. Eventually, he was demoted. Collins showed a bit of promise toward the end of the season, but there's nothing particularly remarkable about his rookie year. While he's not a bust yet, he's on his way.
Jaycee Horn - Cornerback - Carolina Panthers
University of South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn was the eighth overall draft pick in 2021. The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, he'd opted out of continuing his college career after the Gamecocks dismissed head coach Will Muschamp.
He got off to a good start with the Carolina Panthers at the beginning of the 2021 season, even making his first interception against Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints during the second week of the season. Unfortunately, he fractured his foot during the team's next game against the Houston Texans and spent the rest of the season on the Panthers' injured reserve list.
Kadarius Toney - Wide Receiver - New York Giants
Kadarius Toney was a standout wide receiver at the University of Florida. He was both First-team All-Southeastern Conference and Second-team All-American. This led to the New York Giants selecting him as the 20th overall pick in the 2021 draft. So far, his college success hasn't exactly translated to the pros.
Don't get us wrong. Toney had some decent games during the 2021 season...when he played. Unfortunately, he was plagued with injuries to his hamstring, thumb, ankle, oblique, shoulder, and quad, along with two bouts with COVID-19. Even during the spring 2022 training camp, Toney has been limited due to a knee issue.
Christian Darrisaw - Offensive Tackle - Minnesota Vikings
Offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw started his college career at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia but, once he improved his grades, he was able to transfer to Virginia Tech. There, he was First-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 2020, and, in 2021, he was the 23rd overall draft pick, selected by the Minnesota Vikings.
Darrisaw didn't have an awful rookie season in Minnesota, but he did miss several games due to a groin injury. Whether he can turn things around in 2022 or not remains to be seen but, so far, he feels like a bust for the Vikings.
Teven Jenkins - Offensive Tackle - Chicago Bears
Teven Jenkins was a pretty decent offensive tackle at Oklahoma State University, earning accolades during his sophomore and junior years, and earning a spot on the 2020 All-Big 12 Conference football team during his senior year. In 2021, the Chicago Bears drafted him in the second round, 39th overall.
The problem is that before the season even started, Jenkins had to undergo back surgery, which left him unable to play until week 14 in December, and he even started in week 15 in a game against the Vikings. While he showed some promise, rumor has it that he's been demoted to the Bears' second-team offense during the off-season.
Richie Grant - Safety - Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons selected Richie Grant in the second round of the 2021 draft when he was the 40th pick overall. The safety played college ball at the University of Central Florida, and he was a three-time First-team All-American Athletic Conference player during his career. He also received honors for his academic work at the school.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Grant's rookie year in the NFL and, while he didn't have an awful 2021 season, he didn't live up to the talk. To be fair to Grant, he was kind of forced into a starting position when another play got hurt, and even Falcons head coach Arthur Smith says he knew the safety wasn't ready but that he did progress as the season did. Whether he'll truly be a bust depends on how he does during the 2022 season, but we're keeping an eye out.
Kelvin Joseph - Safety - Dallas Cowboys
Kelvin Joseph was a risky second-round draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys. Selected 44th overall, the former Louisiana State University and University of Kentucky safety had gotten into trouble a few times during college, and there was some talk that he lacked the maturity needed to play in the NFL. But he had the numbers, so the Cowboys went with it.
Joseph was on the injured reserve list for the first two months of the regular season and only played in about half the games. Whether or not he'll play in the 2022 season remains to be seen but not because of an injury this time. Joseph and some friends were allegedly involved in a homicide in Baton Rouge in spring 2022.
Walker Little - Offensive Tackle - Jacksonville Jaguars
After the season Jacksonville had, it's hard to label any of their players as busts. Given the shenanigans of former head coach Urban Meyer — both on and off the field — the players themselves should get a do-over of a season, but that's not how life (or football) works.
Chosen 45th overall, Stanford University offensive tackle Walker Little was a standout player in college, but he only played in nine games during his rookie year with the Jaguars. After an impressive training camp, things seemed to go downhill during the regular season. Combine that with some health issues, and experts say Little was pretty much a draft bust.
Sam Cosmi - Offensive Tackle - Washington Commanders
Sam Cosmi was a First-team All-Big 12 Conference player at the University of Texas. A big guy at 6 feet 7 inches and 309 pounds, the offensive tackle even caught a touchdown pass during his senior year. The Washington Football Team (now Commanders) chose him in the second round of the 2021 draft.
Cosmi showed promise during training camp and was named a starter his rookie year, but he was plagued with injuries, including ankle and hip injuries. Cosmi only played in seven full games during the season, which puts him into bust territory. We'll see how he does in 2022.
Dayo Odeyingbo - Defensive End - Indianapolis Colts
Dayo Odeyingbo was a pretty decent defensive end at Vanderbilt University. He finished his career with 125 tackles and 12.0 sacks overall. The Indianapolis Colts selected him as a second-round pick ? 54th overall ? during the 2021 NFL draft. They did so even though he'd torn his Achilles tendon while preparing for the draft.
Odeyingbo spent about half the season on the injured reserve list as he recovered from his injury. For this reason, we're considering him a bust but, hopefully, he'll prove us wrong during the 2022 season.
Boogie Basham - Defensive End - Buffalo Bills
Boogie Basham's real name is Carlos, but the defensive end from Wake Forest University loves to dance, so, a nickname was born. Well, he must have done some dancing at Wake Forest because he earned himself a spot on the First-team All-ACC team in 2019. The Buffalo Bills selected him in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Before the season even started, many experts were calling Basham a bust. They said he was too big and strong to be blocked like he was and, to make matters worse, Basham didn't even play in half the regular season games. That doesn't exactly prove that he's a bust, of course, but he's headed into that territory.
Josh Myers - Center - Green Bay Packers
Center Josh Myers earned numerous accolades during his college career at Ohio State University, playing more than 900 offensive snaps and earning a spot as team captain his junior year. He was also chosen as a Second-team All-Big 10 Conference by the Big Ten's coaches. So, it made sense when the Green Bay Packers selected him 62nd overall in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Unfortunately, Myers didn't get a chance to live up to his hype. Even though he was given a starting position, he suffered a knee injury during week six and remained on the injured reserve list until January, missing most of the season.
Wyatt Davis - Guard - Minnesota Vikings
Guard Wyatt Davis was also a standout player at Ohio State and even in high school. He'd been offered scholarships from schools like Stanford, UCLA, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Alabama. During his college career, he was a unanimous All-American, a two-time First-team All-Big 10, and the Rimington–Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2020.
There's not much we can say about Davis's pro career because he only played in six games and spent much of his time on the Vikings' practice squad, despite being their third-round, 86th overall, draft pick.
Kellen Mond - Quarterback - Minnesota Vikings
It took a while for quarterback Kellen Mond to reach his full potential at Texas A&M University, so we're going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it's going to take a while for him to reach his full potential in the NFL. While he didn't live up to the hype surrounding him at the start of his college career, he was one of only three SEC quarterbacks to finish with more than 9,000 career passing yards with 1,500 rushing yards. Dak Prescott and Tim Tebow were the other two.
The Vikings selected Mond in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft. No one expected him to play much with Kirk Cousins starting for the Vikings but, in week 17 of the 2021 season, Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 and had to sit out a game. Sean Mannion started at quarterback for the Vikings, but the team brought Mond in during the fourth quarter. He only completed two passes for a total of five yards.
Aaron Robinson - Cornerback - New York Giants
Aaron Robinson played college football at the University of Alabama, and the University of Central Florida before the New York Giants chose him in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft. For half of the 2021 season, he was labeled physically unable to perform (PUP), so we didn't get to see what he could do.
That doesn't exactly make him a bust, but he's not a boom either. Some experts are saying that he'll be a breakout star in 2022. If true, we'll gladly take him off this list.
Malcolm Koonce - Defensive End - Las Vegas Raiders
After a year at Milford Academy, Malcolm Koonce spent four years at the University at Buffalo, playing defensive end for the Bulls. He became only the fourth player in Buffalo history to play in the Senior Bowl and, in 2021, he was selected 79th overall in the third round of the NFL draft by the Las Vegas Raiders.
Koonce wasn't even activated for much of the season and didn't make his NFL debut until December. He was on the field for seven plays and managed a sack on Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, but that's not enough to get him out of bust territory just yet.