When a team drafts a player in the early rounds of the NFL Draft, the hope is that player can make an impact immediately, if not a few years down the road. When that doesn't happen, teams quickly regret their decision that seemed like a good idea at the time.
No team is immune to the draft bust. Over the course of the league's history, every team has had to face the music for taking the wrong player, whether it's on offense or defense. A team like the Cleveland Browns are the best in the business at this, while other teams like the New England Patriots don't see busts quite as often.
Poor upper management and terrible draft scouting are the major causes for these busts being taken. Granted, there are some players who just absolutely surprise us all when they don't work out, however normally there are at least some red flags to help figure it out ahead of time.
Sometimes teams ignore these red flags altogether hoping they can change a player, which is almost always a bad idea. You can certainly say some of the guys on this list had those red flags, like quarterback Johnny Manziel and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.
But others, like offensive tackle Greg Robinson and wide receiver Kevin White weren't so obvious. Regardless of whether it was apparent or not, the teams who took these players are now suffering through their respective mistakes - and those same mistakes can often set franchises back for years.
Here are some players drafted in recent years that NFL teams are already regretting.
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15 Greg Robinson
The no. 2 overall pick from the 2014 draft has bust written all over him. Robinson was decent in his first two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and bought himself time because he was young. Now in his third season, that same excuse isn’t working for him anymore. Robinson is getting smoked by defensive linemen on a regular basis and as a result, both the Rams passing and rushing attacks are near the bottom of the league.
Granted, the entire Rams offensive line is to blame for that, however Robinson plays left tackle, the most important position on the offensive line. To make matters worse for the third-year lineman, he has compiled more penalties than any other player in the NFL over the past two seasons and is even running away from answering the media's questions now. Sinking ship comes to mind when talking about Robinson's career.
14 Kevin White
The Chicago Bears thought they were drafting a receiver they could pair with Alshon Jeffery to help go back to the days of a killer wideout combo when the team sported Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. That hasn’t turned out to be successful for the Bears, as the no. 7 overall pick from the 2015 draft can’t get on the field.
White missed his entire rookie campaign in 2015 with a stress fracture in his leg. The 2016 season wasn’t much better with White playing in just four contests before being placed on injured reserve with a fractured left fibula and a high-ankle sprain in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. To say White’s tenure in Chicago thus far has been a disaster is an understatement. Now the Bears are looking at a future without Alshon Jeffery if he leaves in free agency and are left with damaged goods in White.
13 Bryce Petty
One of many draft failures at the quarterback position in New York Jets history, Petty has proven he is not going to be the future of the team beyond this season. Petty sat behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith for most of the 2016 campaign and didn’t get his chance until both quarterbacks got hurt. Even when he got his chance, Petty didn’t do much with it.
In his one start this season, Petty completed less than 60 percent of his passes and threw for just 163 yards and one touchdown to one pick in the losing effort. Despite the fact that the Jets have no chance to make the playoffs, they continue to send a veteran quarterback out there who has no future with the team after this year. It says a lot about Petty that the Jets aren't interested in giving him a chance to prove himself with nothing to play for.
12 Nelson Agholor
The Philadelphia Eagles were looking for a stud No. 1 receiver in the 2015 draft and decided to select Agholor with the No. 20 overall pick. After a quiet rookie season that saw Agholor total just 283 yards and one touchdown in 13 games as a receiver, many believed he’d breakout in 2016.
So much for that. Agholor hasn’t been much better in his sophomore campaign and will be lucky to break 300 yards receiving. He has only found paydirt once and to make Eagles fans bang their head against the wall more, Agholor admitted his mental state wasn’t right and the Eagles may look to reduce his role as a result. If we played as bad as Agholor has in his first two seasons, we’d have mental problems too.
11 Ereck Flowers
When a player is drafted in the top 10 of a draft as a left tackle, that player is supposed to be the anchor of an offensive line. Flowers, who was drafted No. 9 overall by the New York Giants in 2015, has been the opposite of that. He has not improved the Giants’ lackluster offensive line at all, which is a major problem considering the Giants have spent almost no money on it the past few seasons.
Not only has he been rated as one of the worst offensive lineman in the game by Pro Football Focus, he also shoved a reporter after a loss to the Green Bay Packers earlier in the 2016 season. So, not only is Flowers a bad lineman, he’s also not mentally tough enough to handle the NFL. Those are two very bad traits to have when playing in a big market like New York.
10 Paxton Lynch
With Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler signing in Houston, the Denver Broncos had a major hole at the quarterback position. Sure, Manning wasn’t much before he retired, but he was still smarter than any signal-caller at his talent level. The Broncos have quickly found that out with Lynch, who hasn't proven to be any better than the aged version of Manning after he was taken as the 26th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Lynch competed with and lost to fellow quarterback Trevor Siemian for the starting job out of camp. And, if you’ve seen how badly Siemian has played this season, you’d understand why that’s so bad for Lynch. He wasn’t good enough to surpass a mediocre quarterback and his two appearances this season have left a lot to be desired. You know the Broncos are kicking themselves for drafting Lynch, especially considering Dak Prescott, a rookie sensation in 2016, was taken three rounds later.
9 Breshad Perriman
Another first-round receiver looking like a bust, Perriman was unable to get into a single game during his rookie season. A PCL sprain in camp sent him to injured reserve before even playing a snap and the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft looked to be headed for the same fate after it was believed he tore his ACL before the 2016 season.
While that turned out not to be the case, Perriman still needed a stem-cell injection to get right. Since then, Perriman has played in every game for the Ravens, however he’s averaging less than 30 yards per contest and has only scored one touchdown. He still remains behind Steve Smith, Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken on the team’s depth chart and it’s doubtful that will change before season’s end. If injuries weren’t enough to be concerned about with Perriman, his seeming lack of talent might be a bigger worry.
8 T.J. Yeldon
Yeldon is proving exactly why you don’t draft running backs earlier in the draft. Yeldon was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2015 draft and has yet to come close to looking like the talent he was at Alabama. The 23-year-old has averaged an unacceptable amount of yards per carry in his first two seasons and has only scored a handful of touchdowns.
The 2016 season hasn’t been a good one for Yeldon. Not only is he on pace for less rushing yards in more games this season, but he’s also being outplayed by veteran running back Chris Ivory, who the team signed even though they had a running back in place already. In fact, Ivory deserves the bulk of the work the rest of the season and might just get it even though the Jags are in evaluation mode and won’t make the playoffs. For a team that is building for the future, Yeldon has been a costly second-round waste.
7 Bishop Sankey
Sankey was taken as the first running back off the board in the 2014 draft when he was selected in the second round at 54th overall. As it turns out, Sankey might have been the worst running back drafted in that class. After 29 games over two dreadful seasons for the Tennessee Titans, Sankey was released and the team cut its losses once the realization hit that he was no good.
He wasn’t a particularly good runner, his blocking and pass-catching skills were horrid, and it was clear those deficiencies were never going to change. He last played a snap in the NFL in 2015 and hasn’t been able to hang on with a team since. The New England Patriots did sign him to their practice squad and he was later signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, however that didn’t last long and he was cut shortly thereafter. Sankey may have played his last snap in the NFL.
6 Christian Hackenberg
With reports suggesting Hackenberg is nowhere near ready to take the field, the Jets are quickly regretting taking the Penn State product in the second round of the 2016 draft. Hackenberg started the season as the team’s No. 4 quarterback behind Fitzpatrick, Smith and Petty, and the only reason he has moved up the depth chart this season is because Smith suffered a serious knee injury.
Now that the Jets are out of it, you would think head coach Todd Bowles would go to Hackenberg now that it’s clear the team isn’t going to Petty, however that isn’t the case. The Jets are sticking with Fitzpatrick and will continue to ignore their two young quarterbacks on the roster. When you consider the Jets could have taken Prescott later in the draft, this pick is even more regrettable.
5 Johnny Manziel
It didn't take long for the Cleveland Browns to regret drafting Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. After 14 games over two seasons in Cleveland, Manziel's numbers were wholly unimpressive and he looked lost behind center for the Browns. His play on the field was not the only concern, though.
His own father admitted he may not make it to his 24th birthday with the amount of boozing and partying he was doing. Manziel also did a stint in rehab after his rookie season and was even the subject of a grand jury investigation and was later indicted for a misdemeanor assault charge involving his girlfriend. The Browns were done with Manziel before that when he was released by the team one month before his indictment. Manziel is just another name on the list of failed Browns quarterbacks, although his failure might be one of the worst.
4 Ameer Abdullah
Abdullah’s rookie season with the Detroit Lions was a mixed bag. He only averaged 4.2 yards per carry and scored just three times, however he was a solid receiver for the Lions out of the backfield and showed some flashes of talent here and there. Still, that isn’t exactly what you’d hope to get out of a second-round pick, and that’s especially true considering a former sixth-round pick, Theo Riddick, has routinely outplayed Abdullah.
After playing in just two games for the Lions in 2016, Abdullah’s season turned into a major letdown. Not only did the 23-year-old back have to recover from offseason shoulder surgery before camp, he also suffered a torn ligament in his foot in the team's second game and needed surgery that led to his being placed on injured reserve. There is no clear indication if he will return in 2016 and now there should be concerns about his long-term viability as foot injuries are the absolute worst for a running back and can take forever to heal fully.
3 Cordarrelle Patterson
It’s hard to believe that Patterson was one of the most coveted receivers in the 2013 NFL Draft. Since entering the league, he’s been a poor route-runner and has done nothing to contribute as a receiver. As a result, Patterson is no more than a trick-play guy who can be an explosive player in the kick return game.
While that’s nice, Patterson wasn’t drafted in the first round to be a special teams player. He was supposed to be a No. 1 stud for the Vikings, but has yet to even come close to hitting that expectation. In a season where the Vikings offense is struggling to find any kind of spark offensively due to numerous injuries, Patterson has once again failed to be the answer. Sure, he is on pace to top his career-high mark in receiving yards for a season, however that isn’t saying much considering it’s just 469.
2 Robert Nkemdiche
Having played in just four games for the Arizona Cardinals this season, Nkemdiche is on his way to being a bust after a successful collegiate career. The defensive tackle has notched just one tackle this season in his limited action and has yet to get to the quarterback. What’s even worse is that now his head coach is calling him out for a lack of motivation.
Bruce Arians recently questioned the work ethic of his first-round pick from the 2016 NFL Draft. Certainly Arians knows Nkemdiche has the talent, although talent means nothing in this league if you don’t have the drive. I’m not sure why Arians would be even remotely surprised at Nkemdiche’s ineptitude, as questions about his motor were raised before he was drafted. Arians is a no nonsense coach and it won’t be long before Nkemdiche is shipped out of Arizona.
1 Jared Goff
Once Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott - two quarterbacks taken after Goff - were starting and playing well for their respective teams, people began wondering what was up with Goff, a player the Rams mortgaged their future for in order to trade up and pick. The 2016 No. 1 overall pick wasn’t good enough to surpass Sean Mannion on the depth chart to start the season and it took him 10 long weeks of offensive ineptitude by Case Keenum to finally get the starting job.
Goff was more of a project than the Rams had hoped, which shouldn’t have been a surprise. After all, he came from a far different system in Cal than what he’s seen in the NFL and the jump has been difficult for him to say the least. Not to mention, the Rams threw Goff into a situation that is far from ideal for a rookie quarterback. Goff has hardly any talent in his receiving corps and the offensive line stinks, therefore leading to no ground game to support the 22-year-old. The jury is still out on Goff, but the Rams were not ready to develop a rookie quarterback with the roster as is, and Jeff Fisher is not the right head coach to get it done.
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