10 biggest NFL draft busts in Clemson football history

With the season over, players are declaring for the NFL draft, but these are a few cautionary tales of Tigers who went to the NFL and it didn't quite work out.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) tackled by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) tackled by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Clemson’s season on the field ended with a 38-25 last-second win over Kentucky in the Gator Bowl, and the rumors have already started swirling. Who’s staying, who’s going?

This Clemson roster isn’t quite as talented as other teams Dabo Swinney has assembled in the past, but there are still a few players who will hear their names called this April. Nate Wiggins has already declared for the NFL draft and will likely be a first-rounder. 

Will Shipley is the next name being speculated about. Shipley could go early like Travis Etienne did in 2021, but will he be as productive as his predecessor has been in the NFL? A lot is still up in the air, but the careers of the players on this list are all but finished, and were mostly disappointing.

The Tigers that do decide to depart for the league will hope to have better careers than the names on this list. Clemson has produced a fair amount of “busts” over the years. Especially at the top of the draft. These are the 10 biggest NFL draft busts in Clemson history. 

No. 23 overall. Steve Fuller, QB. 10. . Steve Fuller, QB. player. . 1979. Clemson Fuller. 124

Steve Fuller was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his career at Clemson but after the Chiefs selected him in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft, he didn’t live up to the hype. 

Fuller took over as the starter for 12 games his rookie year and went 6-6 but with 14 interceptions to just six touchdown passes. He only threw for 92.8 yards per game that season but was still given a chance to start in Year 2. 

His sophomore season in the pros didn’t go much better. He averaged 160.7 passing yards a game and threw for 10 touchdowns, but had 12 interceptions in 13 starts. The Chiefs went 6-7 in those games. He never started more than five games in a season for the rest of his career but did win a Super Bowl as the backup quarterback for the 1985 Chicago Bears.