Top 10 Illinois football NFL Draft busts of all time

Illinois football has had some talent over the decades, but some of that talent hasn't translated into the NFL ranks. Some NFL teams have taken a chance on an Illini player and have been burnt.
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1st Round, #1 Pick. 1990 NFL Draft. player. 46. . QB Jeff George. QB Jeff George. 2. George.

  • 27,602 yards, 154 TDs, 113 INTs
  • 131 games, 124 starts, 46-78 overall
  • 0 Pro Bowls
  • 5 NFL teams
  • 12 seasons

Some people are going to scratch their heads at having Jeff George No. 2 on this list. The great college quarterback soared up the NFL Draft boards with his marvelous play at Illinois in 1989.

George came to Champaign via the transfer route. He started his college career at Purdue, throwing for four touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 11 games. George then transferred to Illinois where he threw for 2,257 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 1988. He then broke out in 1989 with 2,417 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

The great play by George had NFL scouts fawning over his arm strength and talent. He ended up getting selected No. 1 overall in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

George never played as the top overall pick should play. He had a couple of good years of 4,143 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 1994 with the Atlanta Falcons and 3,917 yards, 29 touchdowns, and nine interceptions with the Oakland Raiders in 1997.

The reason George isn’t No. 1 on the top 10 Illinois football draft busts of all time is that he had a long career and a ton of starts under his belt. He didn’t exit the NFL early. George threw for 27,602 yards, 154 touchdowns, and 113 interceptions. He started 124 games and had a career record of 46-78.

If George was a second or third-round pick, he wouldn’t even be on this list. But he was the No. 1 pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, and he was not the answer to the Colts’ problems. Or the Falcons, Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, or Washington Redskins for that matter.

1st Round, #30 Pick. 1. Jenkins. . . 2012 NFL Draft. 42. WR AJ Jenkins. WR AJ Jenkins. player

  • 223 yards, 0 TDs
  • 28 games, 3 starts
  • 0 Pro Bowls
  • 2 NFL teams
  • 3 seasons

The No. 1 player on the top 10 Illinois football NFL Draft busts of all time belongs to a wide receiver. I thought AJ Jenkins was going to have a lucrative NFL career after what he did in Champaign.

Jenkins was a big-time wide receiver for the Illini. The playmaker was a big part of the bowl-winning Illinois team in 2010, and he came back for his senior year and led us to another bowl victory. In that final season in 2011, Jenkins had 90 receptions for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns.

NFL teams wanted a great wide receiver, and the San Francisco 49ers came calling. The 49ers were coming off an NFC Championship game appearance, and adding a weapon like Jenkins should have gotten them over the edge. That didn’t end up being the case, though.

With pick No. 30 in the first round, the 49ers selected Jenkins. San Francisco saw great success during his rooking season, getting to the Super Bowl, but Jenkins can’t say the same. He played in three games and had one target as a rookie.

Jenkins was on the chopping block after year one, as there were rumors he would be cut by the 49ers. He ended up getting traded to the Kansas City Chiefs after playing just three games for the 49ers. Jenkins went on to play 28 games with three starts in his career. He played three seasons in the NFL with 223 yards and zero touchdowns.

You can’t take away the great career Jenkins had with Illinois. He was sensational for the program. But he is the biggest NFL Draft bust the Illini have ever had. Being a first-round draft pick and not even getting to 300 career receiving yards notches the top spot for Jenkins.

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