Every spring the NFL draft community is inevitably brow-beaten with the same boring “GREATEST DRAFT BUSTS” article. The same shots are taken at the same players over and over. Some of those shots are justified, but most aren’t.
This article will offer something of a different angle. The word “bust” will never be used to describe a player who had his career shortened due to injury. The goal here is to find players who, for just a moment, flashed All-Pro talent.
The NFL is famously said to stand for “Not For Long.” These were the players who over the last decade left us wondering, “What if?”
#10: LB Rolando McClain (2010, Raiders, No. 8 overall)
In 2010 the Oakland Raiders selected the latest of the sideline to sideline drones from Alabama in LB Rolando McClain. McClain had a strong rookie season and was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team. After notching 100 tackles in 2011, things began to unravel for McClain. In 2012 his play remained stellar (90 tackles in 11 games) but various off-field issues and a volatile in house situation threatened his Raiders career. Shortly after the season, he was released.
McClain returned to form in 2014 with the Dallas Cowboys after “retiring” for the 2013 season. McClain missed the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Multiple suspensions in 2016 ultimately led to an indefinite suspension from the league.