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Great Kiper article

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  • Great Kiper article

    This is the 30th year (and my 25th with ESPN) I've evaluated talent for my NFL Draft Report. There have been player evaluations that have matched what I thought a player would do in the NFL, but there have been just as many evaluations for players who have underperformed when I thought they would be can't-miss picks.
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    Tony Mandarich

    AP photo/Alan Greth

    Tony Mandarich was the second overall pick in 1989, but was out of Green Bay after just three seasons.

    Here's a look at the 10 players (listed chronologically) who I thought were going to have productive NFL careers but turned out to be busts.

    1. 1979: Russell Erxleben, PK/P, Texas -- No. 11 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints
    I gave Erxleben a very high grade because he had great leg strength and just destroyed the ball on punts. He was a straight-on kicker whose kickoffs went out of the end zone. He also possessed the ability to kick 60-yard field goals. But once he got to the NFL, he struggled. He averaged 40.6 yards per punt and was 4-for-8 on field goal attempts during his five-year career.

    2. 1987: Mike Junkin, MLB, Duke -- No. 5 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns
    The Browns traded up in the first round to draft Junkin. He was an outstanding player at Duke: he was smart, intense and productive, and every indication was he'd be a good middle linebacker. He warranted a high pick, but turned out to be a bust. He played 20 games in three seasons and was out of the NFL in 1990.

    3. 1989: Tony Mandarich, OT, Michigan State -- No. 2 overall pick by the Green Bay Packers
    Some observers thought Mandarich was going to be the No. 1 pick ahead of Troy Aikman in the '89 draft. I wasn't one of them, but I missed just as badly as everyone else on the Michigan State offensive tackle. He looked like the prototypical left tackle but never played like one. After 31 starts, Mandarich was done in Green Bay. And while he will go down as one of the draft's biggest flops, Mandarich -- after a four-year hiatus -- did have two productive years with the Indianapolis Colts, starting all 26 games he played in 1997-98 at tackle and guard.

    4. 1990: Keith McCants, LB, Alabama -- No. 4 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    In 1989, Kansas City took linebacker Derrick Thomas out of Alabama with the fourth overall pick. One year later, many thought the Buccaneers were getting a similar player when they drafted McCants at the same spot. He looked like a true impact player who could play either defensive end or outside linebacker. He never came close. McCant's career in Tampa Bay lasted three seasons, and he was out of the NFL by 1996.

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    Peter Warrick

    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Peter Warrick had more touchdown receptions in college (32) than he had in six seasons in the NFL (18).
    5. 1990: Andre Ware, QB, Houston -- No. 7 overall pick by the Detroit Lions
    He had a tremendous college career, capped by winning the Heisman Trophy in 1989. At Houston he played in the run-and-shoot offense, an offense that the Detroit Lions were implementing. It looked like a perfect fit, but it never panned out. Ware was never able to beat out Rodney Peete, whom the Lions drafted a year earlier in the sixth round. Ware's career amounted to 14 games (six starts) over four seasons.

    (You can make similar comments about David Klingler, who also came out of Houston and was the sixth pick in 1992. He had a little more success than Ware, but never started a game in the NFL after 1994.)

    6. 1990: Marc Spindler, DT, Pittsburgh -- Third-round pick by the Detroit Lions
    I thought the Lions were getting a steal because I believed Spindler should have been a first-round pick. He had a couple of decent years in Detroit but never emerged as a dominant player.

    7. 1998: Ryan Leaf, QB, Washington State -- No. 2 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers
    I had a glowing report on Leaf coming out of Washington State, but I did have him ranked behind Peyton Manning. There was a significant amount of debate as to whom the Colts should take with the first pick. Still, Leaf had the physical tools to put the ball anywhere on the field, and he wasn't surrounded with a star-studded cast at Washington State. He looked like the real deal. And we all know how things turned out for Leaf …

    8. 1999: Tim Couch, QB, Kentucky -- No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns
    Another run-and-shoot quarterback, Couch put up great numbers in the SEC. He had one good year in Cleveland, but Couch wasn't able to get it done over the long haul. He really made me wonder about quarterbacks coming from run-and-shoot offenses. Still, coming out of Lexington, Couch looked like he was going to be one heck of a QB in the NFL.

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    Mike Williams

    David Stluka/Getty Images

    The 10th pick in the 2005 draft, Mike Williams already has played for three different teams (Detroit, Oakland and now Tennessee).

    9. 2000: Peter Warrick, WR, Florida State -- No. 4 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals
    A true playmaker on a national championship team in 1999, Warrick had that "it" factor coming out of Florida State. Warrick was quick, but he wasn't fast; his 4.60 in the 40 showed in the NFL.

    10. 2005: Mike Williams, WR, USC -- No. 10 overall pick by the Detroit Lions
    Williams was one of my worst evaluations ever. His career is not over, but he's with his third team (Tennessee Titans) in as many seasons. Someone has to light a fire under Williams, who has been a huge underachiever in the NFL. I thought he was the best player in the 2005 draft, but he wouldn't justify a fifth-round pick in this year's draft.
    2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats (38-1)

    Congrats to Wisconsin. Even more congrats to UK haters.

  • #2
    Whats the over-under on when McFraud's version will come out?


    • #3
      Kiper at least is stand up. How many other evaluaters would do that?
      If you like quality gaming, conversation, and crazy antics of Chunder, the live stream of Chunderfluff, live, on Come join the fun at

      Kermit The Frog + Miss Piggy = Yoda


      • #4
        I respect Mel after reading this. A lot of people would have let these mistakes slide and hope that people forgot about them rather than admitting they were wrong.

        Rorshach's Journal


        • #5
          Come on Bob ... Mel was the FIRST draftnik ever. He is the godfather; the pioneer of the Draft.

          We all owe him our respects just for that.

          If it wasn't for Kiper, I would never go on the radio talking about the draft. Kiper paved the way.
          2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats (38-1)

          Congrats to Wisconsin. Even more congrats to UK haters.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Matt McGuire View Post
            Come on Bob ... Mel was the FIRST draftnik ever. He is the godfather; the pioneer of the Draft.

            We all owe him our respects just for that.

            If it wasn't for Kiper, I would never go on the radio talking about the draft. Kiper paved the way.
            This is all true. However, my respect waned for him slightly in recent drafts. He became a bit too preachy for my tastes. He is the draft guru I respect most regardless of said waning.

            I hope Matt Ryan doesn't drop past #8. I could not handle McShay alone.

            Rorshach's Journal