Thursday, November 20, 2008

The NFL's Biggest Draft Busts

Not exactly the best time of the year, but this is another post I've had kicking around for a couple of months. In no particular order, these are the NFL's top ten draft busts since 1994. I'm using 1994 as a starting (or ending) point so as to best rely on my own actual perspective and to make this most accessible to my regular readers. The only real criteria here is that these are all top 10 selections who not only failed to live up to expectations, but literally failed to cut it in the NFL. I've excluded some players, like Ki-Jana Carter (1st pick 1995) and Trev Alberts (5th pick 1994), whose careers were sidetracked by injuries before they even had a chance to get started. I'd be curious to here comments, particularly about those who may have been left out. But without further ado, here is the list.

2005: With the 10th pick the Detroit Lions select, Mike Williams, WR USC

As opposed to the usual workout wonder, Williams was a college stud who got fatter and slower the longer he was in the NFL. In two years on the Lions, Williams caught just 37 balls for 449 yards and 2 touchdowns. Other receivers have recovered from slower starts to their careers, but Williams was cut by the Lions and couldn't even hang on in receiverless Oakland and receiverless Tennessee.

2003: With the 2nd pick, the Detroit Lions select, Charles Rogers, WR, Michigan State

Noticing a trend here? Roger's problem wasn't his weight, but a complete inability to stay healthy. In three years on the Lions he played in only 15 games, catching 36 passes for 440 yards and 4 touchdowns. As the injuries kept piling up for Rogers, there just wasn't a football player left over.

2003: With the 6th pick, the New Orleans Saints select, Jonathan Sullivan, DT, Georgia

Sullivan lasted only three years with the Saints, during which time he totaled 77 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was traded to New England before the 2006 season, but didn't make the team and was never heard from again.

2002: With the 4th pick, the Buffalo Bills select, Mike Williams, OT, Texas

Offensive linemen are supposed to be safe picks and Williams was supposed to be anchor the Bills offensive line for the next decade. He was huge at 360 plus pounds, but unfortunately for the Bills, couldn't pass protect at a pro level. They tried moving him to guard, but four years later, the experiment was over, and Williams was out of the league in 2006.

1999 : With the first pick, the Cleveland Browns select, Tim Couch, QB, Kentucky

Couch wasn't as terrible as some other first round quarterbacks, but quarterback selections are weighted extra heavily, as a bad quarterback selection tends to set a team back for years. In 5 years on the Browns, Couch did throw 64 touchdowns, but he also threw 67 picks and never really developed into a consistent starting quarterback. He failed to catch on anywhere after leaving the Browns.

1999: With the 3rd pick the Cincinnati Bengals select, Akili Smith, QB, Oregon

17 starts in 4 years, only 5 touchdown passes. One of the worst quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.

1998: With the 2nd pick the San Diego Chargers select, Ryan Leaf, QB, Washington State

In 4 years Leaf started 21 games, managing just 14 touchdown passes compared with 36 interceptions. Even today, he can't cut it as a small time assistant college coach.

1998: With the 5th pick, the Chicago Bears select, Curtis Enis, RB, Penn State

One of the biggest running back busts in recent history, Enis totaled only 1497 yards and 4 touchdowns in three seasons in Chicago. He was cut by the Bears and didn't even rate a tryout elsewhere in the league.

1996: With the 6th pick, the St. Louis Rams select, Lawrence Phillips, RB, Nebraska

The undeniably talented Phillips failed in the NFL because of numerous off the field problems and not because of a lack of ability. The Rams cut Phillips after he missed a number of practices and meetings and made then coach Dick Vermeil cry. Phillips tried to give it a go with Miami and San Francisco, but faced more arrests and more off the field drama.

1994: With the 3rd pick the Washington Redskins select, Heath Shuler, QB, Tennessee

In 5 years with the Redskins, Saints, and Raiders, Shuler tossed just 15 touchdowns to go with 33 interceptions. But for all his lack of skill as an NFL quarterback, he made up for it with his political acumen, winning a North Carolina Congressional seat as a conservative Democrat in 2006.


Blogger McMc said...

I feel like this list has become a bit predictable over the years. What would be a good idea would be the worst picks or something like that. Remember the Raiders cut a third round pick in camp? And how about Ahmad Carroll over Chris Gamble that set the Packers secondary back so far they dropped 40 million on Charles Woodson? Stuff like that would be fun to look at.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

Vernon Gholston.

and for Mmcms list, Kyle Brady over warren sapp by the jets. your "worst picks" list will be dominated by jets selections. they've got some youtube stuff dedicated to it. its pretty good.

9:40 AM  
Blogger McMc said...

Brady over Sapp would be a great one. Stuff like that is key. The Jets were awful at d-line for so long, and you just gotta wonder how things would've been different if they had a Warren Sapp all those years.

9:53 PM  

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