10 biggest NFL draft busts in Auburn football history

The Auburn football program has produced four first-overall NFL draft picks, but three of them haven't panned out in the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams (24)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams (24) / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 10

The 2024 NFL Draft is fast approaching and Auburn has five draft-eligible players who are heading to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. However, no player from that group is expected to be selected in the first round like the former Tigers on this list. 

Players like Marcus Harris and D.J. James who will be selected on Day 2 or 3 won’t knock a franchise off its course if they don’t perform in the NFL, but a highly drafted player can hijack a team’s future if his career doesn’t go to plan. Unfortunately, that’s what happened with all of the players on this list of Auburn’s biggest NFL draft busts. 

Auburn has produced four first-overall picks in the NFL draft and only Cam Newton avoided this list. Newton lived up to the expectations in Carolina, but as a late first-rounder, this quarterback and No. 10 on our list of Auburn draft busts, didn’t provide a substantial enough return on Washington’s first-round investment. 

2005. 10. player. 58. . Jason Campbell. . No. 25 overall. Jason Campbell, QB. Jason Campbell, QB

In 2004, Washington bounced between Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell at quarterback and stumbled to a 6-10 finish. Joe Gibbs decided the team needed an upgrade at quarterback and after grabbing Auburn defensive back Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick, traded back into the first round to select Campbell. 

Campbell was the third quarterback taken in the draft, behind Alex Smith and Aaron Rogers. He sat his entire rookie season while Brunell led Washington to a 10-6 record, and eve after getting knocked out in the Divisional round of the playoffs, Gibbs started the 2006 season with Brunell at quarterback. 

Eventually, Campbell won the starting job in November and went 2-5 down the stretch. Washington finished the year at 5-11, but went back to Campbell as the starting QB for 2007. He went 6-7 over the first 13 games with 12 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He was injured and Todd Collins won the final three games of the year to make the playoffs before again falling to Seattle, this time in the Wild Card round. 

Campbell won the job back under Jim Zorn the next season and started the year hot with a 6-2 record, but closed 2-6 and missed the postseason. Campbell authored a 4-12 season the next year and signed the Oakland as a free agent.

He played in the NFL for nine seasons and started 79 games, but finished with just 87 touchdowns and 60 interceptions and never won a playoff game. Campbell looked to be on the way to greatness in 2008, but any first round quarterback who doesn’t resign with the team that drafted him is a no-doubt bust.