The 5 Biggest NFL Draft Day Blunders in Recent History
You've probably read enough of the annual NFL draft bust lists, but blunders are a combination of bad picks and missed opportunities. I could give you a list of 50 mistakes made on draft day, but there are really only five that stand out in my mind.
There were several players selected in the first-round in the modern era who absolutely bombed in the NFL. Whether it was poor performances on gameday or poor choices off the field. They had no business playing professional football.
Then there were the missed opportunities that some fans are still disgruntled with. Teams allowed future stars to slide down the draft board without realizing the consequences.
Here are the five biggest draft day blunders in recent NFL history.
5. New Orleans Saints Trade Away All Their Picks in 1999 for Ricky Williams
Ricky Williams alone isn't the blunder in this slot. Instead, the fact that the New Orleans Saints traded away all their 1999 picks in the draft is the reason for this being a draft blunder.
Williams played three seasons with the Saints with two 1,000-yard seasons on record. Other than that, he didn't do very much else. Williams didn't become the face of the Saints franchise, nor did he live up to his hype.
Williams would be later traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002 for four draft picks.
4. Tennessee Titans Select Adam "Pacman" Jones in 2005
In the 2005 draft, the Tennessee Titans took a gamble on Adam Jones with the sixth overall pick. That gamble would blow up in the team's face as Jones quickly became the NFL's poster boy for bad behavior.
Jones was already on probation for a fight in West Virginia, and the Titans still elected to take him. On the field, Jones performed well and had the potential to be a great cornerback in the NFL. A breakout 2006 season of 63 tackles and four interceptions seemed promising for the future.
After a slew of charges and arrests on his record, Jones would eventually be traded to the Dallas Cowboys two years later.
3. Oakland Raiders Select JaMarcus Russell in 2007
JaMarcus Russell has given Ryan Leaf a run for his money for the title of biggest draft bust of all time. Like Leaf, Russell's playing career as abominable to watch and he struggled with off-the-field issues.
Russell's biggest problem as a professional was his weight. Just before the 2009 season, it was reported that Russell weighed close to 300 pounds. The Raiders had enough of Russell's laziness and they released him in May of 2009.
Now there's word that Russell had a codeine syrup addiction just as he was drafted in 2007. A blend of a poor attitude and no talent contributed to Russell's downfall in the NFL.
2. San Diego Chargers Select Ryan Leaf in 1998
Ryan Leaf is without a doubt the biggest draft bust of all time. The San Diego Chargers thought they had their man with the No. 2 overall pick in 1998, but that dream turned into a nightmare.
Aside from his lazy work ethic and history of injuries, Leaf had one of the worst tempers in professional sports. When things didn't go his way, Leaf threw a temper tantrum and lashed out at whomever got in his way. Leaf's playing career wasn't so hot either, as he was forced to retire in 2002.
Ten years later, and Leaf is still getting into trouble.
1. Tom Brady Slides Down To Pick No. 199 in 2000
This has to be one of the most famous draft day blunders of all time. A scrawny kid from the University of Michigan slid down the board to the New England Patriots at pick No. 199. Little did we know that Tom Brady would go on to win three Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVP awards.
Brady quickly made a name for himself in the NFL and has forever been getting revenge on every team that passed him up in 2000. Since then, teams have forever been on the lookout for the next Tom Brady in late-round quarterbacks.