The 2011 NFL Draft Class Could be the Biggest Bust Yet

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2011

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  NFL Commissioner Roer Goodell stands at the podium on stage during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Every NFL fan has either heard of, or argued about, the first round draft busts of years past.

This year’s entire 2011 NFL Draft could end up being the biggest bust yet.

This draft could come and go with little meaning for our NFL teams or even for the draftees.

Sure, the guys that show up on draft day will get to waltz up to the podium and collect their Official NFL endorsed ball cap and get a hand shake from Roger Goodell.

The dance song could very well end right there.

My lack of exuberance about the upcoming draft is a sure sign that the murky foreseeable future of NFL games this coming season is affecting me greatly. I’ve read the scouting reports and prospect statistics, but I can find no joy in my speculations.

I read everyone else’s mock drafts and still can’t feel any flutters of expectation. My own mock still remains as an empty bracket page.

It’s not that there aren’t real NFL possibles entering the draft this year, it’s only that these young fellows may have a harder time proving that they belong.

With the lockout in place, it stands to reason that the new guys will have to either go back to their respective schools and complete their curriculums for their respective majors or go out and get a real job.

Let’s say Joe Linebacker gets drafted early in the second round, he got the ball cap and he held up the jersey, got his picture taken and shook a few hands. After he collects his team's welcome package and calls his agent, what else will he have to do?

Nothing, but wait.

There is no mini-camp schedule there are no salary negotiations. He won’t be getting a signing bonus any time soon.

He very well may get some calls from helpful veteran players from his prospective team offering to get together with him for some workouts, but he won’t be shopping for that new car or home for his Mom.

His decision making at this point might be to get back to school before those student loans come due. It’s not like the NFLPA is going to be floating him any loans to help him make it through the lockout.

So Joe Linebacker actually does end up with a diploma, but still does not have an income—time to get a job.

What if the UFL and arena league are at full roster strength by that time?

Our young prospect won’t have a stage to display his skills and an avenue to further said skills, so instead he becomes a temp as an accountant to pay Pops his rent for staying with the folks for a bit longer, just until the lockout ends.

Let’s say the lockout lasts for the season and finally gets settled in time for next year. This year’s draft choices are going to have to compete against not only well rested and hungry veterans, but also a brand new hungry draft class.

This year’s draft class could become the NFL’s equivalent of the “Lost Boys.”

It’s this kind of thinking that keeps me from getting overly excited about the draft. I can’t force myself to root, hoot and holler about any of these potential players, as I may never see them again after they make the trip to the podium this year.

The first round pick through to the last pick could be a bust if this lockout doesn’t get settled.