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News » The seven deadly sins of an NFL draft bust

The seven deadly sins of an NFL draft bust

The seven deadly sins of an NFL draft bust
To the 256 players selected in last weekend's NFL draft:


Sure, it's a tremendous achievement. But as so many of your predecessors have proven, just getting picked doesn't automatically guarantee pro success.

It takes more than talent to make it here. Sometimes, a rookie can do himself in for reasons that are completely preventable.

So everyone from Mr. Stafford to Mr. Irrelevant should listen up. Here are the seven deadly NFL sins that you want to avoid and some examples of the players who have committed them:


The easiest way to get off on the wrong foot with veterans is by not making a concerted effort to fit in. It's more than singing college fight songs or carrying pads after practice.

Running back Cedric Benson provides a perfect example of how not to gain respect.

When selected by the Bears with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2005 draft, Chicago already had a proven starter. Thomas Jones was well liked among his teammates and a workout warrior. Jones also believed he was underpaid (sound familiar, New York Jets fans?). The situation was made even more volatile by the $16 million guaranteed that an unproved commodity like Benson received in his rookie deal.

Under these circumstances, a shred of modesty would have gone a long way. Instead, Benson bragged that he could become a starter in just two weeks after ending a lengthy preseason contract holdout. So much for Jones' willingness to show Benson the ropes.

Benson and Jones co-existed for two seasons and were an effective tandem in 2006 during Chicago's Super Bowl run. But after Jones was traded to New York during the subsequent offseason, Benson could never fill the hole he dug. Benson didn't work as hard in the weight room or produce like Jones. He also never read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."


With a beefed-up steroid policy, players like former Green Bay offensive lineman Tony Mandarich (the No. 2 overall pick in 1988) have a much harder time getting away with doping than two decades ago. Drug and alcohol abuse is another way to get a one-way ticket out of the league.

In 2005, the Miami Herald reported that 2005 third-round pick Maurice Clarett was caught drinking in Denver's weight room (a Broncos source couldn't confirm the story but said he was suspicious because Clarett always used his own water bottle). The running back was cut during the preseason and never played in the NFL. A star at Ohio State, Clarett is currently in prison after striking a plea deal on robbery and weapons charges.


There's a reason so much emphasis is placed on offseason conditioning programs. Unlike in yesteryear, players aren't supposed to use training camp to get into shape. A truncated preseason makes it even more imperative to remain fit on a year-round basis.

Wide receiver Robert Meachem and defensive tackle Manny Wright learned that the hard way. A 2007 first-round pick, Meachem was reportedly 19 pounds overweight when reporting for his first rookie minicamp. He didn't play that season and had only 12 catches in 2008 on a team that attempted an NFL-high 636 passes.

The slovenly Wright was an even bigger embarrassment in Miami after being a 2005 fifth-round supplemental choice. He literally cried on the field when berated by then-coach Nick Saban during a preseason practice. Having wasted loads of athletic potential, Wright is out of the league.

The same could happen to you, rookie, if you too leave behind a trail of tears by not avoiding the seven deadly NFL sins.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

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