19. Biggest NFL Draft busts of all-time – St. Louis Rams RB Lawrence Phillips
There is a category of NFL Draft busts that get sidetracked by significant off-the-field issues. Perhaps the most prominent example at the running back spot is Lawrence Phillips, who had a ton of trouble with the law during his NFL career.
There were red flags with Phillips dating back to his college career at Nebraska, where he was arrested multiple times for incidents involving assault, vandalism and disturbing the peace. Despite all of Phillips’ issues, his talent was undeniable and it enticed the St. Louis Rams to take him with the sixth overall pick in the 1996 draft.
The Rams believed so strongly in Phillips’ potential that they traded away Jerome Bettis, a future Hall of Famer, to hand Phillips the starting job. Phillips lasted just a year and a half before getting abruptly cut by the Rams after he showed up to practice with alcohol on his breath.
The off-field incidents kept Phillips from establishing a hold on an NFL roster spot and he was completely out of football by 2003. Phillips wound up back in jail and ended up committing suicide in 2016, a tragic ending to a life that had so much unrealized potential.