Double Extra Point has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

They don't put busts like these in Canton - Part I

Nebraska has had great success in producing NFL players over the years. Many of these have gone on to have tremendous careers in the league. For instance, after a long and notable career Bob "The Boomer" Brown was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. Another Husker great, Will Shields will probably receive strong HOF consideration following his retirement. In addition, The Dow Jones College-Football Success Index recently ranked Nebraska #13 for its efforts in turning out NFL caliber talent.

Unfortunately, this piece will have nothing to do with this type of achievement. Instead, I am going to share with you with some of our biggest NFL busts over the past half century. When I began to examine this story, I worried it would involve countless statistics, formulas, equations and Jager shots. What I found, however, was that many of these names seemingly wrote themselves. It was as if they were conceding, in a way, to their rightful place in history. This story will be broken down into several volumes, and today, I am pleased to introduce the:

Defensive All-Bust Team

DE: Jared Tomich, New Orleans, Pick #39, Round 2
A former walk-on at Nebraska who eventually found his way into the Nebraska Hall of Fame, Tomich’s career in the NFL stopped well short of Canton. In four seasons with the New Orlean Saints (1997-2000) and one in Green Bay (2002), Tomich amassed 10 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. His career ended shortly after Kansas City signed him in February 2003.

DE: Jason Peter, Carolina, Pick #14, Round 1
Recently named as the 17th best player in the short history of the Big 12 by College Football News, Peter was a dominating force that helped Nebraska regain and restore its national championship form. After being taken 14th overall in 1998, he accumulated four operations on his shoulder and neck over the next three years, which included fusions of the vertebrae. Peter started only 20 games in his NFL career and recorded 6.5 sacks before being forced to retire in 2001.

DT: Rich Glover, New York Giants, #69, Round 3
Glover’s accolades as a two-time national champion at Nebraska are remarkable and set the standard for our success today. He was an All-American, winner of the Outland Trophy, and named outstanding lineman in the Orange Bowl two years in a row. With standards and expectations set high because of his previous success, Glover managed to suit up two short years in the NFL, and eventually tried his skill in the World Football League for one year. His pro career was so lamentable that I was able to only find one career recovered fumble. He later retired to become a teacher and high school football coach.

DT: Larry Jacobson, New York Giants, #24, Round 1
At 6-7 and 250 lbs, Larry certainly was a force in 1971 when he won the Outland Trophy, played in the Game of the Century, and helped bring a national championship to Lincoln. In three seasons with the Giants, Larry played sparingly before injuries took their toll on his oversized body and forced his retirement at the age of 26.

LB: Mike Croel, Denver Broncos, #4, Round 1
Croel was named to the Mel Kiper's biggest all-time first round bust dihonorable mention team just narrowely missing out of his all time top ten. Croel’s NFL career started with a bang as he was selected as the AP Rookie of the Year in 1991 after amassing 10 sacks. Unfortunately he averaged just two sacks a year for the next six years while playing for four teams. However, his career looked to be rebounding in 2000, when Croel was selected by the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL, where coaches and fans praised his….. okay, Ill stop there.

LB: Tom Ruud, Buffalo Bills, #19, Round 1
Ruud was a tough, blue-collar, linebacker who set the tone for the Blackshirts during his playing days at Nebraska. Ruud also exhibited a nose for the ball while a Husker and set the single season fumble recovery record in 1974. Tragically, Ruud’s sense of smell abandoned him during his rookie season and he amassed just one fumble recovery during a five year career with the Bills and Bengals. Given he was drafted in the first round alongside the likes of Walter Payton, it is safe to say Tom Ruud failed to live up to expectations.

LB: Trev Alberts, Indianapolis Colts, #5, Round 1
Trev’s illustrious Nebraska football career ended with the 1993 Butkus Award, All-America honors, and just two points shy of a miraculous national championship. On Draft Day in 2001, Mel Kiper criticized Colts GM Bill Tobin for drafting Alberts ahead of Trent Dilfer, which prompted the infamous quote, “Who the hell is Mel Kiper?” After deciding there are more important things to do then to show up to your 1997 training camp, Jim Irsay and Alberts reached a settlement that allow him to retire with a portion of his $3.275 million dollar signing bonus and $8.15 million dollar, 6 year contract. During his NFL career Alberts missed 20 of 52 games, started seven times, and recorded just four sacks. He has since had more success annoying the masses as a studio analyst for ESPN and CSTV.

CB: Bruce Pickens, Atlanta Falcons, #3, Round 1
Where do I start with this one? Pickens enjoyed an up and down career in Lincoln and many fans were surprised when his stock soared prior to the 1991 draft. Soon it was the Falcons who were surprised when his obvious athleticism failed to translate to the field. In four seasons with four teams, “Slim Pickens” managed to grab 2 interceptions and officially was named as captain to the All-Bust team in 2006.

CB: Michael Booker, Atlanta Falcons, #11, Round 1
Booker enjoyed a coming out party at the 1996 Fiesta Bowl and was named Defensive MVP for his efforts. He returned a Danny Wuerffel pass the other way for a 42-yard touchdown and gave Steve Spurrier nightmares about his decision to repeatedly challenge him. Regarded as a bump and run corner in college, the Falcons (proving they could in fact be fooled again) took a chance that he could become a backed-off man-to-man corner in the NFL. In five seasons, Booker had eight interceptions and was cut twice by the Falcons and Titans.

S: Russell Gary, New Orleans Saints, #29, Round 2
Russell was a standout safety for Nebraska and earned All-Big Eight and All-American Honors. Drafted with the first pick in the second round of the 1981 draft, Russell had the misfortune of becoming a Saint (of the National Football League variety). In eight seasons, Gary played in 80 games and grabbed a modest 7 interceptions. Whether due to the influence of Tom Osborne and his success at Nebraska or the excruciating and unsuccessful years in New Orleans, Russell has now found the strength to give back to the community of Minneapolis, where he works for the city and for Concordia college.

S: Scott Frost, New York Jets, #67, Round 3
You might be thinking this is a stretch putting Scott Frost at safety. After all, it was as a quarterback that Frost led Nebraska to a 1997 National Championship and sent Tom Osborne out on top. However, when NFL teams deemed his shot-put mechanics unfit for Sunday viewing, Frost was instead drafted as a safety by the Jets. He eventually stuck it out for seven years playing for three NFL teams. He saw action, however, in just 59 games, recording 56 tackles, and demonstrating that he lacked the speed and ability deserving of a 3rd round pick. If you’re still not buying his spot on this team, consider this: Ahman Green was selected by Seattle nine slots after Frost at pick #76, in that same draft.

Honorable Mention: Rodney Lewis (CB), Tyronne Legette (CB), Jeff Mills (LB), Willie Harper (DE), Travis Hill (LB), Troy Dumas (LB), Mike Fultz (DT)