3rd place – David Wilson
It’s hard to categorize David Wilson as a bust. Maybe more of a huge disappointment. He showed flashes of his brilliance on the field. His skill and ability were never in doubt, but injuries cut his career extremely short and prevented him from fulfilling his potential as well as living up to the hype as a first-round draft pick.
Drafted with the expectation of being the heir apparent to Ahmad Bradshaw, the New York Giants selected running back David Wilson out of Virginia Tech, with the last pick of the 1st round in the 2012 NFL draft. Wilson had a surprisingly productive rookie year while being buried on the depth chart behind Bradshaw and Andre Brown.
His 1,533 kickoff return yards led the NFL and set a Giants record. Wilson’s 1,925 all-purpose yards are the sixth-highest total in team history, the most ever by a Giants rookie and the most for any Giants player since Tiki Barber had 2,127 in 2006.
His 26.9-yard kickoff return average was sixth in the NFL. He also rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns on just 71 rushing attempts; and caught four passes for 34 yards and a score. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, two of which he started.
Wilson’s career was cut short at a tender 23-years-of-age. He injured his neck against the Philadelphia Eagles, just five games into his sophomore campaign, which needed to be surgically repaired. Apparently, he had also been dealing with spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), as well. It is the same condition that ended the career of New York Mets legend David Wright.
Shortly after being cleared for full contact, Wilson collided with a teammate at preseason practice and suffered another neck injury. This one didn’t require any additional surgery. Doctors advised Wilson to walk away from the game of football while he still could. That’s just what he did, retiring from the NFL after just 21 games and still only 23-years-old.