Skip to main content

Where Kevin White Fits in Among Bears Draft Busts

The Chicago Bears have had their fair share of draft busts, both today as well as in olden times.

Ryan Pace's first draft pick, Kevin White, on Monday did an interview over Skype with NBC Sports Chicago and admitted to being a draft bust.

No argument there and the fact he owned this shows he's not in a state of denial.

Let's face it, though, he's not alone. Every team has busts in the draft and a Bears list of all-time draft busts shows this.

However, White would have to rate the No. 1 bust since the turn of the century in terms of Bears draft busts.

Do players injured who never panned out then count as busts? 

White was injured, but his injuries didn't prevent him from playing later and he still never produced.

"I got dealt bust cards and can't cry about it, complain about it, but it is kind of a punch in the stomach," White told NBC Chicago's J.J. Stankevitz. "It’s like, I got all the talent in the world, done it the right way. Like why, God? What am I doing wrong? What do you want me to see out of being hurt year after year after year?"

White blamed many of his problems on injuries, but did acknowledge he still had the opportunity to play later.

The word draft bust is used rather loosely these days. Many websites have attached the term to Mitchell Trubisky, which is rather silly.

He has played 41 games for them, put up rather average numbers—not horrible numbers—and quarterbacked them in a division title year. Those facts alone make Trubisky just a player who didn't meet expectations, but hardly a bust. Just because he's no Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson does not make him a bust. He's merely not Mahomes or Watson. 

There are plenty of first-round picks like Trubisky, who didn't live up to the lofty status but still played for a while and had some moments.  

The late John Thierry is an example, with 131 NFL games but he never lived up to being the 11th pick in the draft.

Some would call Leonard Floyd a bust, but he did serve a purpose and made plays for three years. He just didn't make enough to fufill his early draft status.

Until the modern era of football with the AFL-NFL merger, draft scouting was less sophisticated and all kinds of strange things happened.

  • Menan "Tex" Shriewer, an end from Texas, was a 1956 first-round pick by the Bears and he didn't play for them. He went to Toronto and played for the Argonauts because George Halas didn't offer him as much money.
  • The Bears actually took a player from Marquette named Ron Drzewiecki in 1955. He was a halfback and not a power forward, and he gained 65 rushing yards for them with one touchdown in a 20-game career.
  • Somehow they drafted Billy Anderson in 1953 in Round 1, straight outta Compton. That's Compton Community College. He played in the secondary, dabbled at running back and played 19 total games.
  • One of their bigger busts was Notre Dame quarterback Bob Williams, who played only 29 games with 981 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions after being the second pick taken overall in 1951.
  • Injuries frequently ruined picks in the old days, as well. Joe Moore was supposed to be the back to replace Gale Sayers in Round 1 in 1971. He suffered an injury and only gained 281 yards as a Bear.

Here were their top modern busts:

Scroll to Continue

Read More

10. Alonzo Spellman

Last seen by Bears media running down Route 22 from the hospital without a shirt on, Spellman was bi-polar and had his troubles. He did make 43 career sacks for three teams, but failed to live up to his first-round status or superhero physique. He later was arrested and reportedly taken to a psychiatric hospital after an incident on an airplane when he was said to have been yelling about the possibility of a crash, then cursed at and threatened passengers. 

9. Rashaan Salaam

Salaam brook Beattie Feathers' decades-old team rookie rushing record as a first-rounder  from Colorado, but couldn't hold onto the ball. He had nine fumbles in his first year, 14 for 20 Bears starts, and blew out a knee. Tragically, he died of suicide at the age of 42.

8. Chris Williams

Selected 14th in 2008, Williams had a back injury at the start of his first training camp, went on to play in four-plus seasons and 38 starts, had to change from tackle to guard and never stood out. He later played a season for the Rams and a few games for Buffalo.

7. Gabe Carimi

Started 16 games for the Bears and 26 total in the NFL after being the 29th pick in the 2011 draft. A knee injury a couple games into his career definitely didn't help.

6. Michael Haynes

One heck of a nice guy and a defensive end chosen in 2003 from Penn State. He couldn't play. He made 5 1/2 sacks in 43 games and three seasons, not quite what you ideally expect from the 14th pick of the draft.

5. Shea McClellin

The 19th pick of the 2012 draft, Phil Emery could have chosen Chandler Jones or Whitney Mercilus. Both have had fine careers. He took McClellin ahead of both and Shea made 8 1/2 sacks for his career, which lasted 35 starts, including 31 in Chicago.

4. Stan Thomas

The 22nd pick of the 1991 draft, he played two years for the Bears and two years for the Oilers and started only seven games. He couldn't block, but other than that was fine. He engaged in a shouting match on the sideline with Mike Ditka, but who hasn't? Ditka later called him a "steaming pile." He was shot in the head before his second season following a bar dispute and survived a grazing blow but never did become a legitimate player. Ditka never wanted anything to do with Thomas and blamed the pick on Michael McCaskey.

3. Curtis Enis

Normally he might qualify for special dispensation because he showed some promise as a player initially and then blew out his knee. His personality redefined bust. The Bears didn't do their homework on him and Joe Paterno had called him a con man for a reason. He averaged 3.3 yards a carry in 36 games and 18 career starts and went home after being the fifth pick of the 1998 draft.

2. Kevin White

He kept coming back from the injuries to his legs but the injuries couldn't hide one fact: He couldn't play the game and it showed up with just 25 career receptions.

1. Cade McNown

No list of Bears busts is complete without the 12th pick of the 1999 draft, who had a 67.7 career passer rating. He told the Bears at the combine he was the most NFL ready of a list of supposedly great NFL quarterbacks and he wasn't. He did beat the Packers in a pair of starts but did nothing else beyond infuriating veteran teammates by bragging about how much money he was making and infuriating everyone else by parking in handicapped spots. He also was said to have "stolen" Tim Couch's Playboy bunny girlfriend, Heather Kozar.  Later, Couch wound up married to Kozar. Nowadays they give out reality TV series for this type of stuff.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven