Drafting in the NFL has always been a gamble. Many players have skills that just do not translate to the pro game.
The Georgia Bulldogs produce many NFL-ready players. Some, like Fran Tarkenton and Hines Ward, leave an indelible mark on the league. Yet, some players become collegiate-level legends then fall flat when faced with the pro schemes.
There are a lot of variables when defining who is and who is not a bust. When looking at the draft in general, one would usually compare draft position and actual NFL production. But when looking back at the Georgia Bulldogs in the NFL, I believe you have to take into account how highly regarded they were at the University of Georgia. So, when ranking the biggest busts in UGA history, what position they were drafted only played a small part.
Five Bulldogs Greats That Went Bust
1. David Greene (Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs) 2005-07: Quarterback David Greene left Georgia after setting the NCAA record for wins by a quarterback. He also set school records for career yards (11,528) and completions (849). I even ranked David Greene as one of the greatest Bulldogs of all time. (You can read that here.)
Georgia fans thought Greene was headed to greatness when he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. But in three seasons, Greene never saw the playing field and never made a single pass in the pros.
2. Eric Zeier (Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) 1995-2000: Quarterback Eric Zeier was a record-setting machine when he was at Georgia. In fact, Zeier's name is in the top 10 of almost every positive passing category that the Georgia Bulldogs have.
But Zeier never came close to that success in the NFL. In six years and three teams, Eric Zeier started a total of 12 games. Zeier often held the ball too long. This caused him to be sacked (59) almost four times more than touchdowns he threw (16).
The Georgia native looked like his storybook career would continue when the hometown Atlanta Falcons gave him a shot in 2003. Edwards only appeared in six games and caught only one pass.
4. Johnathan Sullivan (New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots): Defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan was named All-SEC his last year at Georgia. Fresh off an SEC championship, Sullivan looked like a can't-miss starter that was tailor made for the pro game. The New Orleans Saints must have thought so. They traded two first-round picks (17 and 18) to move up to No. 6 just to grab him. Sullivan turned out to be fool's gold. Sullivan only managed 77 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in his four years in the league.
5. Richard Tardits (New England Patriots) 1990-92: Richard Tardits was one of the best sack artists that the Bulldogs have ever had. Known as "Le Sack," the funky Frenchman held the Georgia Bulldogs' record for sacks (29) before David Pollack. This never materialized in the NFL. During his three years with the New England Patriots, Tardits did not start a single game.
Christopher Beheler is a Georgia native and lifelong Georgia Bulldogs fan.