NFL Draft: 5 Biggest Mistakes of the Last 5 Years
Over the years, the NFL draft has provided viewers with exciting draft day trades and the sight of many future stars of the league.
However, the draft has also produced a plethora of ill-fated decisions, including the selections of players who just didn't live up to the hype.
Some teams draft well.
Others make mistakes that set their franchises back for years.
Here's some of the worst mistakes made in recent NFL drafts.
2011: Teams in Need of QB Pass on Andy Dalton
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Going into last year's draft, there were many teams that we knew were going to take a quarterback early.
The Panthers took Cam Newton first overall, Jake Locker went to the Titans eighth, the Jaguars grabbed Blaine Gabbert at No. 10 and the Vikings reached for Christian Ponder at No. 12.
With the exception of Carolina, it seems that the other teams' best option was left on the board for almost another round.
Additionally, other teams that needed a quarterback, such as the Redskins and the Seahawks, chose to ignore that need altogether. It hurt them this past season.
So, Andy Dalton fell all the way to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 35. The Bengals were looking for a replacement for the then-retired Carson Palmer.
And what happened after that?
Dalton threw for almost 4,000 yards and 20 TDs and led the Bengals to the postseason as a rookie.
2010: Eagles Draft Brandon Graham over Jason Pierre-Paul
Unless your an avid follower of college football or the Philadelphia Eagles, chances are you have no idea who this guy is.
And rightfully so.
After being drafted by Eagles at 13th overall in 2010, Graham has disappeared.
Graham only started six games in his rookie year, while collecting only three sacks. He followed up that sub-par season by recording a mere four tackles this year.
While it's bad enough to waste a top 15 draft pick, the biggest mistake was the player they passed on to take Graham.
That player was Jason Pierre-Paul.
Taken two picks after Graham, Pierre-Paul had a quiet rookie season and then exploded this past season for 16.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl.
2009: Jets Trade Up to Draft Mark Sanchez
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Yes, I know that Sanchez made it to the AFC Championship game as a rookie, and then he made it again the next year.
And, he has started every game of his career.
But lets not kid ourselves, Sanchez has only thrown 55 touchdowns compared to 51 interceptions and 12 lost fumbles.
Additionally, he has never eclipsed 3,500 passing yards in season and has been carried by a strong defence and strong running game his entire career.
At the 2009 Draft, the Jets needed to grab a franchise quarterback, so they traded their first and second round pick along with three journeyman players to the Browns to move up to the fifth pick and draft "Sanchise."
But what if the Jets had stayed put at the 17th pick? They could have selected Kansas State star quarterback Josh Freeman and been just fine.
While essentially carrying the Buccaneers for the past two seasons, at times Freeman has shown that he can be a true franchise quarterback in the NFL.
The Jets would be a different team if they selected Freeman, and it would be interesting to see them in the playoffs with an actual quarterback.
2008: Teams Take Running Backs Too Early
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
In the 2008 draft, something happened that will probably never happen again—there were five running backs taken in the first-round.
The value was simply not there for them to taken in the first round.
If you look at the production of the five first-round running backs versus the five highest producing running backs from the rest of the draft—Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, Tim Hightower and Jamaal Charlesthe numbers are eerily similar.
The first-round running back gained 17,465 yards on the ground compared to 15,903 yards from the rest of the draft. Also, the first-round running backs have a total of one Pro Bowl appearance while the rest of the draft has four.
The stats show that teams who waited for their running backs got tremendous value. Teams that took running backs in the first-round got first-round talent, not first-round production.
2007: JaMarcus Russell Is Taken No. 1 Overall
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
This one was too obvious.
There is a reason why people were skeptical of the Panthers drafting Cam Newton at No. 1 last year.
When the word "bust" comes to mind, it is usually garners an image of JaMarcus Russell.
After the Raiders drafted Russell first overall, they agreed to six year contract worth $61 million with roughly $32 million guaranteed.
It turned out to be a tremendous waste of money.
A glass-half-full approach to Russell's career would be that it simply didn't work out.
A realistic look would show that Russell only won seven games in his career, cost the Raiders approximately $100,000 per completion and his career 4,083 passing yards is a total that good quarterbacks achieve in one year.
Not only is JaMarcus Russell the biggest draft mistake of 2007, but he is probably the biggest mistake in draft history.