Coming out of the NFL Draft, every single prospect wants to impress on the biggest stage right away. In recent times, we’ve seen superstars such as Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson immediately light up the league.
However, some of the best NFL players didn’t immediately acclimatize to the league. These players were initially seen as busts by many fans and analysts before turning their careers around, leaving many embarrassed with their takes. Here are five such examples.
#5 – Reggie Bush
Coming out of USC, running back Reggie Bush was the most hyped-up player in ages, and the New Orleans Saints took him second-overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. Despite the ridiculous college tape, Bush initially failed to live up to expectations in the pros, never rushing for over 600 yards during his time in NOLA.
However, after moving to the Miami Dolphins for the 2011 season, Bush excelled, immediately posting his first 1,000-yard rushing season. He would rush for 986 yards the following year, and then another 1,000 yards for the Detroit Lions in 2013.
While never living up to the hype he initially generated, Bush was hardly a bust, despite being labeled as such early on.
Also Checkout:- Derrick Henry Contract
#4 – Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry may be one of the best running backs in football in 2022, but there was a time when some called him a bust. After being drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2016, Henry was a backup to DeMarco Murray for the early years of his career. In fact, he only rushed for 490 yards and 744 yards in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
However, Henry took over the starting role in 2018 and excelled, rushing for 1,000 yards in three successive years. This run included his historic 2020 season, where he rushed for 2,027 yards, had 17 touchdowns and won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year.
#3 – Alex Smith
Alex Smith was infamously drafted ahead of Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 NFL Draft, but was almost immediately seen as a draft bust. Smith had one of the worst rookie seasons in history, passing for just one touchdown against 11 interceptions in his seven starts.
However, Smith would recover, and would be a star for the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Redskins. He would make three Pro Bowls and pass for 199 touchdowns in his 16-year career.
#2 – Brett Favre
Brett Favre may be one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, but even he was initially labeled as a bust by many. After being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991, Favre was terrible, only attempting four passes, completing none and throwing two interceptions.
Many wondered if his NFL career would come to an immediate halt, with Falcons coach Jerry Glanville saying it would take a plane crash to put Favre in the game.
After getting traded to the Green Bay Packers however, Favre’s luck changed. He would win three MVPs, a Super Bowl, and would be one of the most beloved quarterbacks of his generation. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
#1 – Steve Young
Like Favre, Steve Young was initially labeled a bust before finding success with a new team. Young began his football career in the USFL before being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986.
Young joined a terrible team, and in his two seasons, he only managed to pass for 11 touchdowns against 21 interceptions before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
Young excelled with the 49ers, being part of three Super Bowl-winning teams, as well as the MVP on two occasions. He would end his career with 232 touchdowns and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.