Every NFL Team has made mistakes and some are less fortunate than others. The NFC West might be the most successful division of the past decade.
The NF West features the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. In part three of this draft bust series we will be talking about these four teams and what went wrong.
Arizona Cardinals: Matt Leinart
The Arizona Cardinals selected quarterback Matt Leinart with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of USC. Leinart was the last 2006 first round pick to sign a contract, holding out for the biggest possible paycheck.
Leinart ended up signing a six year 50.8 million dollar deal with 14 million guaranteed but he quickly proved that he was not worth the money. Leinart only lasted four seasons in the desert and most of that time was spent backing up future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner once he arrived in 2007.
Leinart’s career was also riddled with injuries and only threw 14 touchdowns and 20 touchdowns in his shirt Cardinals career. After leaving Arizona Leinart would bounce around from Houston to Oakland before calling it a career in 2011.
Los Angeles Rams: Lawrence Phillips
The LA Rams selected running back Lawrence Phillips with the 6th overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. In college Phillips was a stud and led the University of Nebraska to back to back National Championship titles in 1994 and 1995.
Despite his great success in college Phillips would have regular run-ins with the law. In his Junior year at Nebraska Phillips broke into a teammate’s apartment and Phillips proceeded to assault his ex-girlfriend and almost beat her to death.
Despite all of this the Rams took a chance on the embattled running back. In his rookie year Phillips made the second all rookie team and performed quite well. This might be the first bust on this list that their playing on the field was not the biggest issue.
After a failed substance test and passing out at practice after being hungover Rams head coach Dick Vermeil cut Phillips in 1997. Vermeil cared very deeply about Phillips and cried in the press conference after cutting him.
San Francisco 49ers: Jim Druckenmiller
The 49ers selected quarterback Jim Druckenmiller with the 26th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech. The 49ers were looking to replace Hall of Famer Steve Young.
However after only one season as Steve Young’s backup and only one start Druckenmiller was traded to the Miami Dolphins and things never materialized there either. There’s not much else to say about Druckenmiller’s career as a 49er and in the NFL as a whole.
Seattle Seahawks: Aaron Curry
The Seahawks selected linebacker Aaron Curry with the 4th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Wake Forest. Like Matt Leinart, Curry also held out in his rookie season for the biggest possible paycheck. Curry ended up signing a six year 60 million dollar contract and only lasted three of those six seasons
Just two years into his career in Seattle, Curry lost his starting job and was traded to the Oakland Raiders where he only started 13 games. Curry’s NFL career ended in 2012.