Everyone makes mistakes. But when those mistakes are magnified by intense scrutiny of the NFL draft, well, they become much more embarrassing than, say, my typical Friday morning, mustard-stain-on-khakis incident.
Which is why the NFL FanHouse braintrust got together to determine who is the biggest bust for each NFL team. They're not listed in terms of stupidity -- they're all stupid relative to a team's total draft performance. Meaning, of course, some teams "bust" is much different than another organization's; we did it this way to avoid just linking you to DetroitLions.com.
- 1. Lions: Charles Rogers - 2nd overall, 2003
Rogers is arguably one of the biggest busts in NFL history so, well, yeah. It's fitting that he's here. Also, you may have heard of this Andre Johnson fella the Lions passed on? He's still in the league, I think.
- 2. Rams: Lawrence Phillips - 6th overall, 1996
The '96 draft is littered with Pro Bowlers and Phillips wasn't one of them. Phillips recorded 1,453 yards ... in his career. That's less than what Eddie George (14th overall in 1996) posted in 2000 alone, Phillips' first year out of the league.
- 3. Chiefs: Ryan Sims - 9th overall, 2002
2002 was a weird year for the NFL Draft -- there were some absolutely stellar talents, and then some who weren't so great. The Chiefs, in case you're curious, passed on John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth to snag Sims.
- 4. Seahawks: Rick Mirer - 2nd overall, 1993
Mirer had a long career in the NFL, but, unfortunately, well, so did a lot of other really crappy quarterbacks. The Seahawks snagged him with the second-overall pick, passing up his Notre Dame compatriot Jerome Bettis who beat them some years later, and Mirer rewarded them with 56 picks in four years.
- 5. Browns: Tim Couch - 1st overall, 1999
It was always kind of hard not to feel bad for Couch, who got most of the blame for the Browns' continued failure (how quickly we forget Butch Davis, no?) Of course, when Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams (more on him later!), Torry Holt and Champ Bailey are also in the top-10, you better not be a total failure. Couch was.
- 6. Bengals: Akili Smith - 3rd overall, 1999
Much like the Lions, it was tough to choose. But, perhaps conveniently, the Bengals happened to draft Smith two picks after the Browns took Couch. Hard to figure out why they're still drafting in the top-10, huh?
- 7. Raiders: Todd Marinovich - 24th overall, 1991
I tried to make a case for Robert Gallery (a recent second-overall pick) but was shot down. Perhaps that's because the Raiders grabbed Marinovich in the first round, he was gone before he could play a third season, and Brett Favre (annoying or not, at least he played forever) was drafted less than 10 picks later.
- 8. Jaguars: Reggie Williams - 9th overall, 2004
Speaking of drug abuse ... Williams was a ridiculously horrible pick; he's out of the NFL now after a recent run-in with the law and subsequent tasering. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger and Lee Evans (to name just two) have been a little bit better.
- 9. Packers: Tony Mandarich - 2nd overall, 1989
I'll cut to the chase for everyone who's managed to see the documentary that ESPN has run over the last few weeks: "The Incredible Bust" stuffed needles in his jockstrap. Also, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders were taking immediately afterwards. Ouch.
- 10. 49ers: Jim Druckenmiller - 26th overall, 1997
Devotees may recall that there's a young man named Alex Smith. How-eva, Smith started more than one game for the Niners. And he's thrown for more than 239 yards. Sure, he can't chuck the ball 100 yards on one throw, but still.
- 11. Bills: Tony Hunter - 12th overall, 1983
You know what? If the Bills had been smart enough to not draft a tight end before Jim Kelly (and Dan Marino!) in the first round of the '83 draft, perhaps they would have won a Super Bowl while Kelly was under center. Wideout wouldn't have been a horrible choice either, you know.
- 12. Broncos: Ashley Lelie - 19th overall, 2002
Guh. You've probably heard Wilson and I talk about straight speed versus "actual talent" and Lelie is a perfect example of that (as Doug Farrar pointed out). Javon Walker and Ed Reed were taken within five picks too.
- 13. Redskins: Heath Shuler - 3rd overall, 1994
Briefly: Shuler spoke at my high school and used an acronymic version of our school name to discuss awesome things about the people that attended it. One problem -- he misspelled the school name. It's a microcosm. See how I did that?
- 14. Saints: Ricky Williams - 5th overall, 1999
It's not so much that Williams wasn't good in his career -- he was. The bigger problem? Mike Ditka and the Saints mortgaged the next two years in order to get Williams (the 'Skins used the picks to get Lavar Arrington and Champ Bailey) and people would have questioned that move if they'd gotten LaDainian Tomlinson too.
- 15. Texans: David Carr - 1st overall, 2002
At least the Texans learned their lesson later and took stud defensive end/NC resident Mario Williams; they passed on Julius Peppers to pick up Carr. And obviously you didn't think you were getting out of here without me mentioning those stupid gloves he wore for an entire season in Carolina. MITTENZ4LIFE!!!!1
- 16. Chargers: Ryan Leaf - 2nd overall, 1998
Leaf is easily one of the most famous bust of all time, which is weird, because in basketball Sam Bowie is the biggest because he was chosen over Michael Jordan. Leaf was merely a consolation prize when the Colts took Peyton Manning. Er, not prize. Sorry.
- 17. Jets: Blair Thomas - 2nd overall, 1990
Thomas was a running back out of Penn State who amassed 2,236 yards in his career. Emmitt Smith, the next running back selected (sixteen picks later) on the other hand ... yeeeeah.
- 18. Bears: David Terrell - 8th overall, 2001
There were plenty of options here (hellooooo, Cedric Benson) but one thing really stands out about Terrell. He was the first wide receiver taken in a draft that included the following wideouts: Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers and Steve Smith. Hell, even Koren Robinson was better.
- 19. Buccaneers: Keith McCants - 4th overall, 1990
If you drafted a linebacker in the '90 NFL Draft and landed Junior Seau, you selected a guy who would have a long, Pro Bowl-filled, and quite prosperous career. The Bucs took McCants instead. He played one season at linebacker, stunk it up, was converted to defensive end and then legal/drug problems cannonballed him out of the league. (Pun intended.)
- 20. Cowboys: Bobby Carpenter - 18th overall, 2006
Dallas was one of the hardest teams to identify with a clearly disappointing first-rounder. Either they haven't been picking or they've made good-to-great choices most of the time. Normally I hate to be a knee-jerker, but I look at Carpenter and then glance further down the draft order and see Antonio Cromartie, Manny Lawson, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai and DeMeco Ryans. It's still early, but if anything, it's a good sign for the 'Boys.
- 21. Eagles: Michael Haddix - 8th overall, 1983
The reason Haddix is a bust doesn't completely revolve around the amount of running back talent that was taken after him, but there were four Hall of Famers after the Eagles selected the Mississippi State running back. And then he managed to top 300 yards only once in eight years.
- 22. Vikings: Dimitrious Underwood - 29th overall, 1999
Troy Williamson received strong consideration here, but at least he played enough to register some
dropped ballscatches. Underwood literally went insane and bounced out before getting picked up by Dallas later. Meanwhile, Patrick Kerney and Al Wilson were picked immediately afterwards. Maybe the Vikes should have "passed."
- 23. Patriots: Eugene Chung - 13th overall, 1992
The 1992 draft was littered with busts (the Colts, of course, were busy tanking en route to landing Manning) and, also, Tommy Maddox. So Chung doesn't stand out as badly as some picks. But when you snag a tackle in the top-15 range, you expect them to play more than three seasons.
- 24. Falcons: Aundray Bruce - 1st overall, 1988
A straight-up botchjob by the Dirty Birds, Bruce recorded a mildly-impressive 16 sacks in his first three seasons. But he only lasted four years in Atlanta, and when you consider that the 1988 first round produced 13 Pro Bowlers and two Hall of Famers, it stings pretty badly.
- 25. Dolphins: Billy Milner - 25th overall, 1995
Milner started nine games for the Dolphins his rookie season. Then he got traded. Then he got cut by the Rams. Then he didn't play football again. Derrick Brooks didn't play the same position, but he was taken two spots later and was "slightly" better.
- 26. Ravens: Kyle Boller - 19th overall, 2003
The Ravens have been pretty freaking amazing when it comes to identifying first-round talent. But Boller was a Brian Billick choice and he never panned out. And it cost the team quite a bit for quite a while. I mean, Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl. Come on.
- 27. Colts: Steve Emtman - 1st overall, 1992
Take your pick from the 1992 draft: Emtman or Quentin Coryatt, because they were No. 1 and No. 2 overall that year, both by the Colts. Emtman gets the nod because he was the first pick. But either will be fine here.
- 28. Panthers: Jason Peter - 14th overall, 1998
Peter was one of the few big whiffs by the Panthers in the first round since their inception in 1995. But the linebacker was high on some sort of substance nearly the entire time that he was in Charlotte and didn't ever pan out as much of anything on the football field.
- 29. Giants: Ron Dayne - 11th overall, 2000
Dayne was an absolute workhorse at Wisconsin. Of course, in the NFL, size matters, but not for everything. And considering that that the NEWYORKFOOTBALLGIANTS pulled the trigger on Dayne with Shaun Alexander still on the board, well, yeah. Not swell.
- 30. Titans: Adam Jones - 6th overall, 2005
"Pacman" has a well-chronicled history in the NFL and on the blogosphere. And regardless of his on-field peformance, it's pretty safe to say that Jones was a poor investment for the Titans, especially with Antrel Rolle, Carlos Rodgers, DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman coming off the board within the next six picks.
- 31. Cardinals: Wendell Bryant - 12th overall, 2002
Bryant, much like Sims with the Chiefs, was a poor choice for a DT in 2002. Mainly because $100-million-man Haynesworth was drafted at 15th overall. Also because Bryant started nine games and recorded 1.5 sacks.
- 32. Steelers: Huey Richardson - 15th overall, 1991
A panic-based pick in the 1991 draft (think about when all the guys you have queued in fantasy get yanked right before your pick), Richardson didn't register any stats with the Steelers. And after his first year, new head coach Bill Cowher did what he does and ran Richardson out of town.
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