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Tony Mandarich: NFL Draft Bust

Every year when the NFL Draft rolls around we are reminded of some of the biggest draft blunders, the busts, of all-time. At the forefront of many of these annual discussions is Tony Mandarich, “The Incredible Bulk,” and “The Best Offensive Line Prospect Ever,” as Sports Illustrated famously dubbed him back in 1989. Mandarich was huge. Massive. With an ego and a mean streak to match. Video clips of his college exploits featured Mandarich either flattening opponents or simply tossing them around like a man playing with boys. In the end, he turned out to be a posted boy for steroid use in the NFL and synonymous with the term “Bust.”

Mandarich was taken by the Packers with the 2nd pick in the 1989 draft, but was a complete washout in Green Bay. Making matters worse is the fact that of the top 5 picks that year, the other 4 are NFL Hall of Famers. TheDallas Cowboys selected Troy Aikman with the first overall pick. The Mandarich selection was followed by Barry Sanders by the Lions at #3, Derrick Thomas by the Chiefs at #4, and Deion Sanders by the Falcons at #5.

Mandarich made #2 on the NFL Network’s list of biggest draft busts of all-time. In stark contrast to the college defenders he tossed around in college is footage of the late Reggie White tossing Mandarich around in much the same fashion.

Mandarich, to his credit, made a successful comeback with the Indianapolis Colts in the mid-90s. Although he never came close to being a dominant player, he did manage to play 3 years for the Colts. In these following videos from HBO’s Inside the NFL, Mandarich discusses not only his use of Steroids, but his abuse of painkillers and other medications.

Here’s Part 2 of HBO’s Inside the NFL segment on Mandarich:

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