12up Logo12up Logo

5 NFL Draft Busts Who Dominated the NFL Combine

Robert Griffin III
5 NFL Combine stars who turned out to be massive busts. | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NFL Scouting Combine is just a couple of weeks away, much to the delight of NFL Draft fans. The best of the best at the college level will arrive in Indianapolis to show their stuff to team executives at Lucas Oil Stadium, and to the fans watching from home.

Usually, players who impress at the combine have successful NFL careers. However, there are cases where athletes checked all of the boxes athletically, but were unable to translate those skills onto an NFL gridiron.

Here are 5 players who dominated at the NFL Scouting Combine, but turned out to be massive busts.

5. Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III looked to be the next great NFL quarterback, but injuries derailed his career. | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Robert Griffin III had millions of fans following his final year at Baylor. His popularity only grew at the 2012 NFL Combine, as he blew everyone away with his 4.33 40-yard dash. The Washington Redskins gave up huge draft capital to select RGIII. His rookie season was downright historic, but it all went downhill in the playoffs that year, where he tore his ACL, LCL, and meniscus. Griffin's skills diminished, resulting in him losing his job to Kirk Cousins, and he has now been relegated to a backup quarterback. There was so much hope for Griffin, but injuries got the best of him.

4. Matt Jones

Jacksonville Jaguars v Carolina Panthers
Matt Jones shined at the NFL Combine, but substance abuse issues ended his career after four years. | Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Matt Jones was an intriguing case entering the 2005 NFL Draft. Originally a quarterback at Arkansas, Jones was projected to become a wide receiver. The Jacksonville Jaguars fell in love with Jones' 4.37 40-yard dash and 39.5-inch vertical jump. The Jags took him with the 21st overall selection, and after a strong rookie season, Jones fizzled out of the league in four years due to issues with substance abuse.

3. Darrius Heyward-Bey

Darrius Heyward-Bey was the prototypical Al Davis draft pick. Elite talent, but limited results.
Darrius Heyward-Bey was the prototypical Al Davis draft pick. Elite talent, but limited results. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was known for using high draft selections for the fastest player at the NFL Scouting Combine. Once he saw Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey run a 4.30 40-yard dash, Davis fell in love, and selected him seventh overall in 2009. Heyward-Bey never lived up to his selection, but did prove to be a serviceable depth receiver. Still, though...that's not going to cut it for the Combine hero.

2. Aaron Curry

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals
Aaron Curry was hyped as the next great NFL linebacker, but he didn't live up to expectations. | Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Aaron Curry was projected to be the next great NFL linebacker back in 2009. Coming out of Wake Forest, Curry impressed with his vertical jump (37 inches) and 40-time (4.56 seconds). The Seattle Seahawks jumped at the opportunity to select him fourth overall, but he failed to live up to the hype. Nearly two years after his selection, Curry lost his starting job to KJ Wright, who still has a stranglehold on that role today. Curry was a huge investment, but provided the Seahawks with a minimal return.

1. Vernon Gholston

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills
Vernon Gholston is the biggest draft bust in NFL history. | Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Ohio State has the reputation of being the home for dominant defensive linemen, most evidently with both Joey and Nick Bosa. That wasn't the case back in 2008, when Vernon Gholston entered the draft process. The defensive lineman had the measurables and intangibles, while posting impressive numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.58), bench press (tied the top score with 37 repetitions of 225 pounds) and vertical jump. The New York Jets drafted him with the sixth overall pick...and it resulted in Gholston starting five games, while recording a grand total of zero sacks. Gholston is the epitome of an NFL Draft bust.