Top 15 Wastes of Talent in NFL History

The NFL has been home to some of the most talented athletes in the history of sports. These are men who are capable of not only being some of the strongest men on earth, but who are also quick and agile. From a very early age, players eat, sleep and breathe the sport in order to become the best player they can be and realize their dreams of making it to the NFL. Some players work harder than others, while others rely almost solely on natural talent to get by.

However, in order to achieve maximum success at a high level such as the NFL, a good work ethic and hard work are absolutely required. Oftentimes, player’s work ethics aren’t called into question until it’s far too late and a team has already invested time and money into them. This means that players with a ton of natural talent and questionable work ethic can succeed and thrive at the high school and college level, but once they get to the NFL level where everyone is top notch, issues with their work ethic comes to the forefront. When it does, these players are often outed as “slackers,” which is a term that no professional athlete wants to be associated with. Oftentimes, talent itself is not enough to succeed in the NFL as evidence by the individuals on this list.

Talent can be potentially wasted in a number of different ways ranging from things such as work ethic concerns, legal troubles, injuries or just plain stupidity. This list will feature individuals that had the world at their fingertips, but squandered it away due to a variety of the issue listed above. Read on and enjoy reminiscing about what could’ve been if these players had reached their true potential.

15 Adam "Pacman" Jones

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

14 Charles Rogers


13 Todd Marinovich


12 Braylon Edwards

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

11 Randy Moss

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

10 Michael Vick

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

9 Marcus Dupree


8 Vince Young

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

7 Maurice Clarett


6 Ryan Leaf


5 Josh Gordon

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

4 Lawrence Phillips


3 Albert Haynesworth


2 JaMarcus Russell


1 Aaron Hernandez

The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Without a doubt, number one on this list is none other than former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. He was one of the best tight ends in college, but slipped in the draft to the 4th round because of his admitting to failing numerous drug tests. This should’ve been a major red flag, but he was still drafted. Hernandez enjoyed a lot of success in the NFL until the summer of 2013, as Aaron Hernandez was arrested as he under investigation for the murder of his acquaintance Odin Lloyd. And then in another twist, Hernandez was indicted on two more murder charges in 2014. Compared to the most of the entries on this list, while he was a waste of talent, any feelings of empathy for the player are nil.

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Top 15 Wastes of Talent in NFL History