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Published: Feb. 20, 2014 at 11:33 a.m.

Throwback Thursday - Extraordinary Combine Busts

The NFL Scouting Combine starts this week,and there are two inevitable truths that will come from the proceedings. You will fall in love with a number of players whose measurables will be through the roof. The other is that one of these guys will end up being a huge, huge disappointment. And probably drafted by your favorite team because … football. So our Throwback Thursday today is dedicated to those guys who captured your heart and then tossed it onto the rocks of despair.

9 Photos Total

  • All right, it's a little too early to put Austin into the bust category with a lot of these guys. But he certainly burned up a spot on my fantasy roster this season, so I'm going to go ahead and include him because I needed to round this out to 10 guys. 9

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    Tavon Austin

    All right, it's a little too early to put Austin into the bust category with a lot of these guys. But he certainly burned up a spot on my fantasy roster this season, so I'm going to go ahead and include him because I needed to round this out to 10 guys.

  • Well hello, Mr. Fancy Pants. You aren't leading anything but two things, draft and bust. And the draft just left town. What, do I have no "Army of Darkness" fans here? Just trying to have a little fun here. 8

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    Bruce Campbell

    Well hello, Mr. Fancy Pants. You aren't leading anything but two things, draft and bust. And the draft just left town. What, do I have no "Army of Darkness" fans here? Just trying to have a little fun here.

  • This guy ran a 4.3 40-yard dash in the 2007 combine, and you figured there is no way the Lions will pass on this guy. But credit to Matt Millen, who showed some unusual restraint. However, folks forget the Ravens weren't above taking a flier on a receiver who was bound to be a bust. And they did. 7

    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Yamon Figurs

    This guy ran a 4.3 40-yard dash in the 2007 combine, and you figured there is no way the Lions will pass on this guy. But credit to Matt Millen, who showed some unusual restraint. However, folks forget the Ravens weren't above taking a flier on a receiver who was bound to be a bust. And they did.

  • Sure, he did have some fine years with the Colts after drifting in the abyss for years. However, when you’re wedged between Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders in a draft class, you deserve some mention. And I’m not sure he merits a “combine busts” list but … Mandarich. 6

    Alan Greth/Associated Press

    Tony Mandarich

    Sure, he did have some fine years with the Colts after drifting in the abyss for years. However, when you’re wedged between Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders in a draft class, you deserve some mention. And I’m not sure he merits a “combine busts” list but … Mandarich.

  • From walk-on at Arizona State to Pac-10 defensive player of the year, he impressed scouts with his combine numbers. St. Louis took him 20th overall, and he did have some solid seasons with Lovie Smith, but Archuleta never made it to the Pro Bowl. That didn't stop the Redskins from making him like the highest paid player ever and, well, you can imagine how that ended up. 5

    CHARLES REX ARBOGAST

    Adam Archuleta

    From walk-on at Arizona State to Pac-10 defensive player of the year, he impressed scouts with his combine numbers. St. Louis took him 20th overall, and he did have some solid seasons with Lovie Smith, but Archuleta never made it to the Pro Bowl. That didn't stop the Redskins from making him like the highest paid player ever and, well, you can imagine how that ended up.

  • The Raiders love speed and the vertical game, so it's no surprise that the team became infatuated with Heyward-Bey after he was a top performer in the 40 (4.25), bench press (16 reps) and vertical jump (38.5 inches) among others. The Raiders might have surprised some when they took Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick, ahead of Michael Crabtree, but they viewed him as the next Cliff Branch. 4

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Darrius Heyward-Bey

    The Raiders love speed and the vertical game, so it's no surprise that the team became infatuated with Heyward-Bey after he was a top performer in the 40 (4.25), bench press (16 reps) and vertical jump (38.5 inches) among others. The Raiders might have surprised some when they took Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick, ahead of Michael Crabtree, but they viewed him as the next Cliff Branch.

  • Jones was a quarterback and a member of the basketball team at Arkansas, so it's no surprise that he put up big numbers at the combine, clocking a 4.37 time in the 40, along with a 39.5-inch vertical leap. The Jaguars drafted him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft, but Jones never quite made the transition to receiver as his off-the-field troubles became so big that even the Bengals gave up on him. 3

    Phil Coale/Associated Press

    Matt Jones

    Jones was a quarterback and a member of the basketball team at Arkansas, so it's no surprise that he put up big numbers at the combine, clocking a 4.37 time in the 40, along with a 39.5-inch vertical leap. The Jaguars drafted him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft, but Jones never quite made the transition to receiver as his off-the-field troubles became so big that even the Bengals gave up on him.

  • It's understandable that teams could be duped by a workout warrior back when Mamula made it through the combine in 1995. But what excuse do they have now? Gholston was a physical specimen whose chiseled abs would have made Hugh Jackman and Cesaro jealous. Gholston put on a show at the combine that could be rivaled only by Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV." Yet he's never recorded a sack in the NFL. Is he still playing? (Googling)  Nope, he's done. 2

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Vernon Gholston

    It's understandable that teams could be duped by a workout warrior back when Mamula made it through the combine in 1995. But what excuse do they have now? Gholston was a physical specimen whose chiseled abs would have made Hugh Jackman and Cesaro jealous. Gholston put on a show at the combine that could be rivaled only by Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV." Yet he's never recorded a sack in the NFL. Is he still playing? (Googling) Nope, he's done.

  • You can't spell all-time combine workout warrior without Mike Mamula. No, really, you can't. Mamula, a defensive end, had a 40-time that rivaled linebackers and did more bench press reps than most offensive linemen. His case was so compelling, the Eagles traded up to draft him No. 7 overall in 1995. And you know the rest, as Mamula has become the punch line for the combine ever since. 1

    Rick Havner/Associated Press

    Mike Mamula

    You can't spell all-time combine workout warrior without Mike Mamula. No, really, you can't. Mamula, a defensive end, had a 40-time that rivaled linebackers and did more bench press reps than most offensive linemen. His case was so compelling, the Eagles traded up to draft him No. 7 overall in 1995. And you know the rest, as Mamula has become the punch line for the combine ever since.