Spring is a time for hope and high expectations. The NFL draft is always a good reminder of that. The late-April event is a constant source of optimism for teams across the league.

But inevitably some of those picks struggle in their first contracts and get labeled busts.

For players picked in the first round, having the fifth-year option declined is often synonymous with a bust label. The first two players on this list were deemed not worthy of that fifth-year option.

But we extended this list to other first-round picks and a second-rounder who haven't proved themselves as valuable starters after at least two seasons.

Fortunately, players can shed that label. Progression in the league isn't always linear. Sometimes it takes a chance in circumstances, coaching or opportunity for a player to show their potential and prove they aren't a bust.

The following players have the potential to shed the bust label in the 2023 season.


OT Mekhi Becton, New York Jets

Historically, injuries have been one of the biggest bust factors. Availability is one of the most important abilities, and a player who can't stay on the field will not make an impact.

That's been the story for Mekhi Becton throughout his NFL career.

Becton has missed all but one game over the last two seasons with knee injuries. An injury initially expected to sideline him for four to six weeks ended up costing him the season in 2021, and he had another season-ending injury before the year even started in 2022.

It comes as no surprise that the Jets declined his fifth-year option.

There's still hope that Becton can prove he should be part of the Jets' long-term plan, though. Rich Cimini of ESPN reported the tackle, who was 6'7", 364 pounds at the combine in 2020, has dropped down to around 350 pounds after weighing around 400 a couple of years ago.

Becton had a strong rookie campaign back in 2020. He allowed seven sacks but earned a respectable 74.4 grade from PFF.

When healthy, Becton has the size and strength to erase people in the run game while providing solid protection on the edge.

If he can stay healthy, he's going to be a huge asset for the Jets offense and has the potential to prove he was deserving of a first-round pick.