Mario Williams, DE -- Selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans.
Remember when the "Holy Cow, they're actually taking Williams over Reggie Bush" conversations were all the rage? Yeah, that died down pretty quickly. I think Tickle Me Elmo stayed around longer than that in 2006. Williams became one of the best defensive linemen in football, but injuries cut short his 2010 and 2011 seasons. The Texans' defense was still dominant last season without him, and Williams left via free agency, signing with the Buffalo Bills in March. So I ask you, is he still the same player? That's not worth a $100 million contract for me to find out (this is why Tom Cruise gets pre-nups). Houston divorced themselves from him at the right time.
Reggie Bush, RB -- Selected No. 2 overall by the New Orleans Saints.
Bush was going to bring the Saints a Super Bowl...and he did, sort of. Out of the gate he was a great pass-catching running back, but when New Orleans handed him the football he still thought he was playing against Fresno State. "Why can't I dance past these linebackers like I did at 'SC? They're faster than I'm used to. That's not fair." Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins before the 2011 season and finally showed flashes of the production he was thought capable of back when "Happy Feet" was in theaters. Can he do it again? I think he's finally learned, because his mantra is now "four yards every play" instead of thinking he was going to score no matter where he was on the field. But he'll always have doubters.
Associated Press/US Presswire
Vince Young, QB -- Selected No. 3 overall by the Tennessee Titans.
Here's Young's career timeline: After his rookie season, he said he thought about retiring. He was benched for the first preseason game of his second season. He feuded with Jeff Fisher and threw his shoulder pads in the stands. He disappeared and police had to frantically search for him. He was benched for Kerry Collins and later Rusty Smith. He was released. In his one season with the Philadelphia Eagles, his major contribution was saying they were a "Dream Team." They finished 8-8. Now he's been cut by the Bills, who thought Tarvaris Jackson was a better option. At least Tennessee can say this: It's not like the other guy they could have taken at No. 3 turned out to be a world-beater, either. Speaking of Matt Leinart...
Matt Leinart, QB -- Selected No. 10 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.
Poor Matt Leinart. We watched him free fall in the first round on draft day, then watched his career do the same after Dennis Green was fired in Arizona. Well, I don't feel too bad for him; after all, partying with Paris Hilton was popular in 2006. Now, "partying with Paris" means you write down a song request for her to play and you slide it through to her in the D.J. booth. Leinart didn't have the work ethic needed to succeed as a starting quarterback. Nor did he have the arm strength. I was at his USC pro day where the ball hit the ground way too often, and he had trouble throwing the ball more than 50 yards. Had he declared for the draft coming off his Heisman season the year before, he would have been picked No. 1 overall, and at least had $50 million to assuage him when he got demoted. What does it say when he has a chance to restart his career in Seattle, fighting for a starting job with his former college coach, but instead picks to be a backup in Houston? His career as a backu
Jay Cutler, QB -- Selected No. 11 overall by the Denver Broncos.
He was supposed to be the next great quarterback in Denver. Someone to finally step out of the Elway Shadow. Trouble is, Mike Shanahan got fired and Josh McDaniels, hired to replace him, didn't like Cutler. He wanted Matt Cassel, but the Broncos couldn't make a deal with the Chiefs. At this point, Cutler was so upset he felt he couldn't play for the team anymore, so the Broncos dealt him to Chicago. Then Kyle Orton was supposed to make Broncos fans forget Cutler. Yeah. Not so much. There are so many things you can say about McDaniels' tenure in Denver, but I'll sum it up by saying this: He pushed the two best players on the team (Cutler and Brandon Marshall) out the door and traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn. Cutler seems to have rebounded from the "My knee hurts too much for me to play in the NFC Championship Game, but I can watch from the sidelines and then be seen walking on it at a restaurant and then in Beverly Hills a few days later" controversy to make the Bears a Super Bowl
Laurence Maroney, RB -- Selected No. 21 overall by the New England Patriots.
What a backfield in Minnesota! Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney! How did those two lose any games there? Both were high draft picks, but both showed they were unable to carry the load. Maroney's career was just ... ordinary. He was serviceable, but not a star. Maroney was traded to the Broncos in September of 2010 and proceeded to be ... ordinary. The Broncos didn't re-sign him for 2011, and he hasn't been in the league since. Had he been better, at least he could have made some royalties off the inevitable "Laurence Maroney" song done to "Boney Maroney" lyrics. "I got a back name of Laurence Maroney ... do do do do, do do do do ..."
Santonio Holmes, WR -- Selected No. 25 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A Super Bowl hero with the Steelers in 2008, he could have then starred in either "Expendables" movie because the Steelers sent him to the Jets for a fifth-round pick after a myriad of legal difficulties that take up about six inches of his wikipedia page. (Oh, and don't ask him to shut down his iPod while the airplane is trying to take off.) He rebounded in New York and signed a four-year, $40 million contract with the team before the 2011 season. He became disenchanted with his role in the offense, however, and his season-long issues came to a head after arguing with offensive tackle Wayne Hunter on the field during the Jets' final game in Miami last season and subsequently getting benched. A glass-half-full guy would say Holmes was ahead of the curve on Wayne Hunter. The reality is you have no idea when Mount Santonio will erupt again, spewing hot lava and ash over MetLife Stadium and Rex Ryan's new diet pancakes.
Joseph Addai, RB -- Selected No. 30 overall by the Indianapolis Colts.
He was a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his first two season with the Colts and a top-five fantasy pick following his 12-touchdown year in 2007. Addai would never again reach either of those numbers on the field, and his time in Indianapolis ended after the 2011 season. He jumped to the New England Patriots in May and was let go by the team in July. I think even Terrell Owens has stayed with some teams longer than that. I think Randy Moss was a member of the Tennessee Titans for longer than that. I think it's taken me longer to finish a bag of marshmallows than that. I think...
More Photo Essays:
- 16 for '16: College football's most freakish athletes
- Mind-blowing stats for the Top 100 Players of 2016: 70-61
- 16 for '16: Offensive players who will be NFL stars
- All-X-Men Team
- 16 for '16: Defenders who will be NFL stars
- Top 30 undrafted players in NFL history
- 16 for '16: Impact transfers
- Mind-blowing stats for the Top 100 Players of 2016: 71-80
- Eleven NBA-NFL player comparisons