South Carolina Football: Top-5 (Bottom-5?) NFL Draft busts in Gamecock history

South Carolina football has had a handful of NFL Draft busts in its history. Here are the top-5 (bottom-5?) plus some honorable mentions.

Former South Carolina football receiver Troy Williamson dropping a pass when he played for the Minnesota Vikings.
Former South Carolina football receiver Troy Williamson dropping a pass when he played for the Minnesota Vikings. / James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina football fans are excited to watch the NFL Combine this week and the five Gamecocks who will compete to improve their draft stocks. Spencer Rattler, Xavier Legette, Marcellas Dial, Trey Knox, and Nick Gargiulo all have a chance to be selected in April's NFL Draft, and all of them hope never to wind up on a list like this one.

With the combine being a precursor to the draft, let's take a look at the top-5 (bottom-5?) NFL Draft busts to ever come out of the South Carolina football program. (And, no, Jadeveon Clowney is not a draft bust; Go argue with a wall.)

Honorable Mention

Javon Kinlaw: This one might not be fair, but Javon Kinlaw (drafted Round 1, Pick 14; 14th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers) has not lived up to his draft position so far in his career. The big defensive tackle has been hampered by injuries, but as a 1st round pick, the '9ers had hoped to get more than just 70 tackles and 5 sacks in 4 seasons from their first pick in the 2020 draft.

The good news for Kinlaw, though, is that he has time to change the narrative around him. He had some good moments in 2023, and he hopes to build off of that in 2024.

Kalimba Edwards: Kalimba Edwards (drafted Round 2, Pick 3; 34th overall in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions) was a pretty good pro. However, because of all the awards he won in college and because the team took him with the 35th pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, the Lions were hoping for better than just "pretty good."

Edwards was at his best playing off the bench in Detroit, but after signing with the Oakland Raiders, the new starter held out for more money, and the Raiders (and the rest of the NFL) never allowed him to play again, ending his career before his 30th birthday.

Ko Simpson: One of the best safeties in South Carolina football history, Ko Simpson (drafted Round 4, Pick 8; 105th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills) did not have the type of NFL career he hoped. After being a two-time All-American, he was viewed as a steal in the '06 draft and burst onto the scene as a rookie, starting 15 of 16 games for the Buffalo Bills, seemingly poised to become a really good professional.

An injury in his second year crushed that dream, however, as he missed most of the 2007 season and wasn't the same player upon his return in 2008. He was out of the league before playing a snap in 2010, injuries robbing him from being a productive NFL player.