5 biggest NFL draft busts in Virginia Tech football history

Virginia Tech football hasn't produced many first-round NFL draft picks, but most of the very highly drafted players have panned out in the league. These later first-round selections, however, haven't worked out as well and are the biggest draft busts.

Tennessee Titans cornerback Caleb Farley (3) drops back in coverage during the first quarter of a
Tennessee Titans cornerback Caleb Farley (3) drops back in coverage during the first quarter of a / George Walker IV / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Brent Pry is starting to build a winning program in Blacksburg, but it’s not translating to NFL talent just yet. No Virginia Tech Hokies were invited to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this weekend. 

Last season only one player off Pry’s roster was drafted into the league, Chamarri Conner in the fourth round. The Hokies haven’t been mainstays at the top of the NFL draft, but the program has produced 13 first-round picks over the years and two players who went first overall. 

Those first overall selections were Bruce Smith in 1985, an NFL Hall of Famer, and Michael Vick in 2001, who was on track for that caliber of career. They were far from draft busts, and even Tech’s other top 10 selection DeAngelo Hall was a three-time Pro Bowler across his 15-year NFL career. 

The draft busts from Blacksburg came later in the first round like No. 5 on this list Terrell Edmunds. 

Terrell Edmunds. Terrell Edmunds, SS. 5. 2018. No. 28 overall. 55. . . Terrell Edmunds, SS. player

Edmunds played with his brother Tremaine at Virginia Tech and Tremaine was taken 16th overall in 2018 as an inside linebacker. Terrell was not projected to be a first-rounder, but Pittsburgh’s head coach Mike Tomlin fell in love with his athletic traits throughout the draft process and took a swing on upside at a position of need. 

Tomlin’s gamble did not pay off. During his five years in Pittsburgh, Edmunds started 75 of his 79 games and in 2019 amassed 105 tackles, but he was never a playmaker in the secondary. To address that prevailing need on the backend of its defense Pittsburgh traded a 2020 first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick during the 2019 season. 

Investing two first-round picks in safeties is far from sound team-building but it was necessitated by the whiff on Edmunds in the 2018 draft. For his career, Edmunds has just one forced fumble and six interceptions. 

The Steelers did not pick up Edmunds’s fifth-year option but resigned him to a one-year deal in 2022 after he struggled to find a new home in free agency. Before the 2023 season, Edmunds signed with Philadelphia but was traded to Tennessee for Kevin Byard when the Eagles decided that they, like Pittsburgh in 2019, needed to upgrade in the secondary.