NFL Draft: Every Team's Best and Worst Draft Picks Ever
With all of the hype and excitement that comes with the NFL Draft, it is inevitable that 2012 will see all sorts of noteworthy selections. Unfortunately for all 32 franchises, it is impossible to tell what type of player is about to be brought into the organization.
And that is what makes the draft so spectacular.
This slideshow looks back in time and views the best and worst draft selections for each and every NFL franchise. Obviously, where a player was selected and how their career panned out are combined considerations in this list's choices.
So, hopefully, your favorite NFL team drafts a Joe Montana, not Ryan Leaf in the first round of the April draft. But only time will tell.
Here are the best and worst draft selections among NFL teams.
Arizona Cardinals: Best- Larry Wilson
Larry Wilson was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 1960 NFL Draft. The free safety then went on to have one of the best defensive careers of all time. Wilson was an eight-time All-Pro selection in a 12-year career, and was a member of the NFL's 75th All-Anniversary team. He is still the Cardinals' career-leader with 52 interceptions, had his No. 8 jersey retired and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
Arizona Cardinals: Worst- Andre Wadsworth
The Arizona Cardinals selected Andre Wadsworth with the third overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft with hopes of him being an elite pass-rusher. However, Wadsworth was gone after the 2000 season. After a very lengthy holdout, Wadsworth signed a six-year, $42 million contract. He played in 36 games over three seasons and finished with eight career sacks.
The latter part of his career was plagued with knee injuries and surgeries that ultimately were responsible for his short Cardinals tenure. Regardless of the reasons, Wadsworth selfishly held out for big bucks and never produced what is expected from a top-three pick.
Atlanta Falcons: Best- Tommy Nobis
The Atlanta Falcons took linebacker Tommy Nobis with the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL Draft, the first player ever drafted by Atlanta. He was simply one the best linebackers to ever play the game. As a rookie, Nobis was voted the NFL Rookie of the Year, made the Pro Bowl and had a record 294 tackles in the season. He went on to four more Pro Bowls, had his No. 60 uniform retired and was inaugurated into the Falcons' Ring of Honor.
Atlanta Falcons: Worst- Bruce Pickens
Bruce Pickens was drafted by the Falcons with the third overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft. He was let go in 1993 and was out of the league by 1995. The third pick, sadly, only had two career interceptions, both in 1992. The Falcons struggled with draft picks during that time period, but Pickens was their worst selection ever.
Baltimore Ravens: Best- Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis was selected with the 26th pick of the 1996 NFL Draft. He was the fifth linebacker taken, but perhaps one of the top-five of all time. Lewis has been named to 13 Pro Bowls, won two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and has been a Super Bowl MVP.
He is without question the face of the Baltimore Ravens' franchise and is a future Hall of Famer. He is the only NFL player with 40 sacks and 30 interceptions and has played the position longer than any linebacker in history. Lewis was a terrific steal at No. 26 and is the best player the Ravens have ever had.
Baltimore Ravens: Worst- Kyle Boller
The Ravens drafted Kyle Boller with the 19th pick of the 2003 NFL Draft. He started his rookie campaign with a 5-3 record but things went downhill from there. Boller stayed a Raven until 2008 but never established himself as a starter.
Steve McNair was brought to the organization and Joe Flacco was later drafted to be the starter. Boller consistently turned the ball over and threw for 45 touchdowns and 44 interceptions with Baltimore. Though Boller was mediocre and stayed with the Ravens for some time, he under-performed considering his draft position, and never made the Ravens a better football team.
Buffalo Bills: Best- Jim Kelly
The Buffalo Bills drafted quarterback Jim Kelly with the 14th pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. Once Kelly finally decided to play for Buffalo in 1986, things worked out beautifully for both sides. Kelly made four Pro Bowls and led the Bills to a record four straight Super Bowls. He has thrown for over 35,000 career passing yards with 237 touchdowns. Kelly had his No. 12 retired by the Bills and was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Buffalo Bills: Worst- Mike Williams
When the Bills drafted offensive tackle Mike Williams fourth overall in the 2002 NFL Draft, they thought they would be getting durability and consistency. Things have been completely different. He failed to live up to his potential and was a huge disappointment. Williams eventually got beat out by Jason Peters, an undrafted rookie who had been a tight end for Buffalo. Williams was eventually released in 2006 and burned out quickly.
Carolina Panthers: Best- Steve Smith
The Carolina Panthers selected Steve Smith with the 74th pick of the 2001 NFL Draft. The third-round pick and 5'9'' receiver has gone on to been the best offensive player the Panthers have ever had.
Smith has been voted to five Pro Bowls and was the Co-NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2005. In the 2005 season, Smith led the NFL in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Smith is the Panthers' leader in receiving yards and has been the most productive Carolina draft pick.
Carolina Panthers: Worst- Rae Carruth
Unfortunately, the Carolina Panthers drafted Rae Carruth 27th overall in the 1997 NFL Draft. Carruth had a decent rookie season, missed the 1998 season due to injury and played a portion of the 1999 season.
But tragedy, not performance, made Carruth a huge mistake for the Panthers.
In 2001, he was found guilty of conspiring to murder the woman who was carrying his child. He also was charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, and with using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. (The baby boy was miraculously born and is doing well.)
Carruth was not found guilty of first-degree murder and was not sentenced to death. He was, however, sentenced to 18-24 years in prison. Carruth wasn't the worst pick the Panthers ever had due to football ability, but obviously his criminal record and the fact that he was a first-round pick in 1997 and released in 1999 made him their worst draft decision ever.
Chicago Bears: Best- Walter Payton
The Chicago Bears drafted running back Walter Payton with the fourth pick of the 1975 NFL Draft. Payton had an astonishing career and was the NFL's leading rusher at the time of his retirement.
Payton was elected to nine Pro Bowls, won two NFL MVPs and was the 1978 Pro Bowl MVP. He also won a Super Bowl and had his No. 34 retired by the Bears.
The Hall of Famer tragically passed away in 1999 at age 45, but left behind a great legacy. "Sweetness" has an NFL award in his name and is considered a top-three running back of all time. Any team would be blessed to draft a man like Walter Payton.
Chicago Bears: Worst- Cade McNown
Cade McNown was the 12th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. After a lengthy holdout in the preseason, McNown gradually gained NFL experience before burning out quickly. He was extremely immature and publicly called out people involved in the organization.
His poor decision making off the field, and lackluster performance on the field, led to his trade after just two seasons. McNown started 15 games with the Bears and won just three. He was a wasted pick and was as bad on the field as he was immature off it.
Cincinnati Bengals: Best- Anthony Munoz
Anthony Munoz was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the third pick of the 1980 NFL Draft. Munoz was able to overcome knee injuries and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and nine All-Pro teams as an offensive tackle.
He was selected the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award in 1989 and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1991. Munoz was a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. He was the first Bengal to be enshrined in Canton and was as great of a man off the field as he was on it.
Cincinnati Bengals: Worst- Akili Smith
Akili Smith was the third overall selection and third quarterback taken in the 1999 NFL Draft. Smith missed most of training camp while holding out as a rookie, and was lost when he finally got his contract situated.
Though athletic, Smith wasn't a proven football player when brought into Cincy, and his career was short-lived. He lasted four seasons in the NFL, all with Cincinnati, and finished his career with five touchdowns, 13 interceptions and only 2,212 passing yards. In fact, he averaged two fumbles per season, more than his touchdown average of 1.25. Smith was a big mistake for the Bengals and was a huge waste for the No. 3 pick.
Cleveland Browns: Best- Jim Brown
With the sixth pick of the 1957 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns took running back Jim Brown out of Syracuse. Brown not only went on to be the Browns' best player ever, he was perhaps the best NFL player ever. In fact, NFL.com ranked Brown the No. 2 player of all time in 2010.
Brown was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was an eight-time NFL rushing champion. He was a three-time NFL MVP and a three-time Pro Bowl MVP. He retired in 1965 to pursue an acting career, but left behind a tremendous legacy. He rushed for 12,312 yards with 106 touchdowns and a 5.2 yards per carry average.
He was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971 and is also a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Brown had an unbelievable NFL career and could have extended his records if he played longer.
Cleveland Browns: Worst- Tim Couch
Tim Couch was taken No. 1 by the Cleveland Browns in the 1999 NFL Draft. He was mediocre during his rookie campaign but his career resembled that of a 7th round pick, not that of a first-overall selection.
In his five-year career, Couch threw for 11,131 yards with 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions. Don't let these next stats confuse you. Couch is the Browns' all-time leader in completion percentage with 59.8%, and third in completions with 1,025.
If Couch was a good quarterback, he would not have been released after the 2003 season. He was a terrible pick because the Browns passed on Donovan McNabb and every other player in the first round, for a lame quarterback. Couch even violated the league's drug policy in 2007 while trying to make a comeback.
Not at all what a No. 1 pick should produce.
Dallas Cowboys: Best- Emmitt Smith
The Dallas Cowboys drafted running back Emmitt Smith with the 17th pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. Smith went on to have a Hall of Fame career. Smith was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time NFL rushing champion and three-time Super Bowl champion.
He won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1990, NFL MVP in 1993 and Super Bowl MVP in 1993. Smith owns NFL records with 18,355 rushing yards, 164 rushing touchdowns and 78 games with 100 or more yards. Smith was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.
Though the Cowboys have drafted several outstanding players, Emmitt Smith was the best player brought into the organization through the draft.
Dallas Cowboys: Worst- Quincy Carter
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The Dallas Cowboys drafted Quincy Carter with the 53rd pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He was actually the first player taken by Dallas in that draft and was supposed to be Troy Aikman's replacement.
Carter struggled with injuries and inconsistent play but led to Cowboys to the postseason in 2003. However, Carter was released by the team, shocking the NFL world. Carter failed a drug test and was too immature to be trusted to lead the team.
He finished his three-year Cowboys career with 5,839 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. He started three games for the Jets in 2004 and called it a career. Carter was nothing close to the man he was drafted to replace and was a wasted draft pick.
Denver Bronocs: Best- Shannon Sharpe
First off, the Denver Broncos did not draft John Elway. The Baltimore Colts drafted Elway first overall in the 1983 NFL Draft and traded him to Denver.
Shannon Sharpe was drafted in the 7th round and 192 overall by the Broncos in the 1990 NFL Draft. The tight end out of Savannah State revolutionized the position and became one of the game's best players.
Sharpe was a favorite target of Elway, won two Super Bowls and made seven Pro Bowls with the team. (He added another Super Bowl ring and Pro Bowl with the Ravens after the 2000 season).
When Sharpe retired from the Broncos in 2004, he owned NFL records by a tight end with 815 receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns. Sharpe was inaugurated into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Denver Broncos: Worst- Marcus Nash
The Denver Broncos drafted Marcus Nash with the 30th pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. The first-round wide receiver heavily disappointed the organization and fans alike. Nash finished his four-year career (two with Denver), with four receptions for 76 yards. That is terrible, and he did all of that in his rookie season!
He went three-consecutive seasons with no statistics. There are undrafted players who have put up that stat line after one quarter of a game. Nash was a waste of a pick and virtually did nothing in his NFL career. Nash had the quarterback and offense to succeed, but was a horrible selection for the Denver Broncos.
Detroit Lions: Best- Barry Sanders
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Barry Sanders was the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Sanders was one of the most elusive backs the game has ever seen and could have set the all-time rushing mark if he wanted to.
Sanders finished his NFL career with 15,269 yards, 109 touchdowns and a 5.0 yards per carry average. He had his No. 20 retired by the Lions, and though he shockingly retired in 1998, he left the game as the second-best rusher of all time.
Sanders amazingly went All-Pro in every year of his career, was a four-time rushing champion, was the NFL MVP in 1997 and even rushed for 2,000 yards in a season.
Sanders confessed that if the Lions had a winning history and atmosphere, he would have stayed in the game and would have broken the rushing record. Regardless of how and why his career came to an end, Sanders was an all-time great. He was even recognized by NFL.com in 2010 as the 17th best player ever.
Detroit Lions: Worst- Charles Rogers
The Detroit Lions selected wide receiver Charles Rogers with the second pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for the Lions, Rogers only played in 15 games over three seasons, starting nine.
He started out his NFL career on fire with 22 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns in five games, before a broken collarbone ended his rookie campaign. His career only went downhill from there.
Early in the first game of the 2004 campaign, Rogers broke his collarbone again. In 2005, Rogers was suspended by the NFL for his third violation of the drug policy. Rogers eventually had to repay the Lions $10 million and the organization found out that he failed numerous drug tests while at Michigan State.
Rogers was released prior to the 2006 season because the organization did not believe he was a good fit for the organization. His final statistics for a three-year NFL career: 36 receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns. Hard to find a bigger waste of a No. 2 overall pick.
Green Bay Packers: Best- Bart Starr
Bart Starr was drafted with the 199th pick in the 17th round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Packers. Starr went on to win the first two Super Bowls and have an enormously successful NFL career.
Starr won five NFL Championships and was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and was the 1966 NFL MVP. After retiring in 1971, Starr coached Green Bay from 1975-1983. He was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1977 and had his No. 15 retired by the organization. Starr was ranked the 51st best player of all time by NFL.com in 2010.
Green Bay Packers: Worst- Tony Mandarich
The Green Bay Packers selected Tony Mandarich with the second overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. Though he stayed in the league until 1998, he was not a good selection by any means for Green Bay.
Mandarich was supposed to be the best offensive line prospect the draft had ever seen. Attitude problems and underwhelming play led to his release after a mere three seasons.
Drugs and alcohol tormented Mandarich and it is rumored that he used steroids. Regardless of the speculation, Mandarich simply stunk in the NFL and never played to the potential that made him the No. 2 overall pick. He is widely considered one of the biggest draft busts of all time.
Houston Texans: Best- Andre Johnson
The Houston Texans drafted wide receiver Andre Johnson with the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Johnson has made five Pro Bowls and is a four-time Texans team MVP.
He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2008 and 2009 and has been the most consistent player the Texans have ever had. At the end of the 2011 season, Johnson had 706 career receptions for 9,656 yards and 52 touchdowns. He is still one of the league's elite wideouts and is the most accomplished Texan ever.
Houston Texans: Worst- David Carr
The Houston Texans used their first ever draft pick on David Carr by taking him first overall in 2002. It's not really that Carr completely busted, but due to the brief history of the Texans, Carr is the worst pick the Texans have made.
In five seasons with Houston, Carr threw for 13,223 yards, 59 touchdowns and 65 interceptions. The Texans never really competed for a postseason berth and didn't really improve under Carr's direction.
Carr has won a Super Bowl with the Giants (as a backup), but due to his lack of success with Houston, taking him No. 1 never worked out for the organization.
Indianapolis Colts: Best- Peyton Manning
Manning led to the Colts to seven AFC South crowns, two AFC Championships and one Super Bowl win. Manning has won four NFL MVP awards, has passed for 4,000 yards in eleven seasons and made the Colts a feared team to play.
He led Indianapolis Colts to a record seven-straight seasons with at least 12 wins. He is bound for the Hall of Fame and has had a lot of success with the Colts. Even though he is now a Bronco, the city of Indianapolis will always embrace him.
Indianapolis Colts: Worst- Jeff George
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The Indianapolis Colts drafted quarterback Jeff George with the No. 1 pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. The organization not only traded up to take George, they gave him the richest rookie contract at the time.
The hometown kid was never successful for the Colts. George didn't get along with some of his coaches and disrespected loyal Indy fans. In four seasons as a Colt, he threw for 9,551 yards, 41 touchdowns and 46 interceptions. George bounced around the league until 2004. The Colts drafting the local George never benefited the team, and taking him at No. 1 was a waste for the organization.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Best- Fred Taylor
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected running back Fred Taylor with the ninth pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. Taylor was underrated until late in his career, and at this point in time is better than Maurice Jones-Drew.
Taylor made his lone Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, and was the FedEx Ground Player of the Year. In 11 years with the Jaguars, Taylor rushed for 11,271 yards, 62 touchdowns and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Taylor was a fan-favorite and very consistent year in and year out.
In time, Jones-Drew figures to break Taylor's team rushing records, but Taylor delivered big-time for the Jags.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Worst- R. Jay Soward
R. Jay Soward
R. Jay Soward was drafted 29th overall by the Jaguars in the 2000 NFL Draft. And 2000 would be his only NFL season.
Soward felt that he could not deal with the pressure of being a first-round draft pick and became and alcoholic. Coach Tom Coughlin had no faith and trust in Soward and he wore out his welcome in training camp. He was a constant violator of the NFL's substance policy, leading to several suspensions.
Soward has never applied to be reinstated into the league and continued to fall victim to drugs and alcohol. Soward finished his rookie season and NFL career with 14 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. Not really what a franchise anticipates with their number one pick.
Kansas City Chiefs: Best- Derrick Thomas
The Kansas City Chiefs took defensive end Derrick Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. Thomas tragically died in 2000 but left behind a great legacy.
Thomas was a nine-time Pro Bowler, was the 1989 NFL Rookie of the Year, won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 1993 and has his No. 58 retired by the Chiefs.
Perhaps his greatest legacy, Thomas set an NFL record with seven sacks in one game. He was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and was an elite player and a great man. That's exactly what a franchise wants with its first pick in a draft.
Kansas City Cheifs: Worst- Todd Blackledge
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted quarterback Todd Blackledge with the seventh pick of the 1983 NFL Draft. He widely disappointed in the NFL after a great NCAA career at Penn State.
The 1983 Draft heard John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly have their names called, but the Chiefs got the worst of the quarterbacks of that class. In his five-year Chiefs career, Blackledge threw for 4,510 yards, 26 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. Not only was Blackledge a wasted pick, the Chiefs passed on two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Marino and Kelly.
Miami Dolphins: Best- Dan Marino
Dan Marino was the 27th player taken in the 1983 NFL Draft. Though he never won a Super Bowl, the Miami Dolphins had one the game's best players ever, on their squad.
Marino was a nine-time Pro Bowler, was the 1984 NFL MVP, won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 1984 and was the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1998.
Marino was inaugurated into the Hall of Fame in 2005 and has his No. 13 retired by the Dolphins. At the time of retirement, Marino was the only quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season and set a record with 48 touchdown passes in a single season. The only thing Marino didn't do in his career was win a ring.
Miami Dolphins: Worst- Eric Kumerow
The Miami Dolphins took linebacker Eric Kumerow with the 16th pick of the 1988 NFL Draft. After three seasons with Miami, Kumerow couldn't live up to the pressure and retired. Kumerow never started a game in the NFL and finished his career with five sacks.
The Dolphins thought they drafted a pass-rusher but ended up with practically nothing.
Minnesota Vikings: Best- Fran Tarkenton
The Minnesota Vikings drafted Fran Tarkenton with the 29th overall pick in the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft. Statistically speaking, Tarkenton was the best quarterback of all time when he retired in 1978.
Tarkenton made nine Pro Bowl appearances, won the 1975 NFL MVP and won three NFC championships. His No. 10 has been retired by the Vikings and he is still the franchise leader with 33,098 passing yards and 239 touchdowns.
He was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1986 and is one of the best Vikings of all time.
Minnesota Vikings: Worst- Dimitrius Underwood
The Minnesota Vikings drafted Dimitrius Underwood with the 29th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for them, he never played a snap for the team. He held out until August 1st, 1999, and signed a five-year $5.3 million contract.
On August 2nd, he walked out of practice and claimed that his religious beliefs would keep him from ever playing football. The internal struggle of faith and football led to his release before September of that year.
He then attempted suicide, but survived self-inflicted stabs on his neck. He eventually wanted to play NFL football and played his only 19 games with the Dallas Cowboys in the early 2000s.
The personal issues within Underwood held him back and the Vikings have no idea what type of player he could have been. Underwood was without a doubt one of the worst picks ever. He was a first-round pick in April and waived by August.
New England Patriots: Best- Tom Brady
Brady is a seven-time Pro Bowler, two-time NFL MVP, 2009 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and has five AFC Championships.
Brady owns three Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVPs. He led the Patriots to the league's first perfect regular season since the league adopted a 16-game schedule and set an NFL record with 50 touchdown passes in 2007.
He threw for over 5,200 yards in 2011 and shows no sign of slowing down. He is for sure a Hall of Famer and continues to rewrite the record book to this day.
New England Patriots: Worst- Andy Katzenmoyer
The New England Patriots drafted linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer with the 28th pick of the 1999 NFL Draft. He suffered a severe neck injury as a rookie and was never able to bounce back from it. He missed half of the 2000 season and wasn't healthy enough to play in 2001.
After 24 career games, Katzenmoyer was released and called it a career. He finished with 101 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception. Though its hard not to feel bad for the kid, the NFL is a business, and he never delivered for the Patriots.
New Orleans Saints: Best- Willie Roaf
The New Orleans Saints took offensive lineman Willie Roaf with the eighth pick of the 1993 NFL Draft. Roaf had a stellar career in New Orleans before finishing up as a Kansas City Chief.
He made 11 Pro Bowls, nine All-Pro teams, and was a member of both the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Team. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2012 and will be inaugurated this July. Roaf was a very consistent player who had a great career for the Saints.
New Orleans Saints: Worst- Jonathan Sullivan
Jonathan Sullivan was drafted sixth overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. The defensive tackle was traded in 2006 to the New England Patriots. After an arrest in June of 2006, Sullivan never played in another NFL game.
The Saints gambled and traded up to take Sullivan, who recorded 1.5 sacks in 36 career games for the Saints in three seasons. Obviously, things did not work out like the Saints planned when they traded up to take their guy.
New York Giants: Best- Lawrence Taylor
The New York Giants drafted Lawrence Taylor with the second overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft. He would go on to terrorize the league until 1993. Taylor was a 10-time All-Pro selection, won three Defensive Player of the Year awards and was the NFL MVP in 1986.
He won two Super Bowls with New York and the organization retired his No. 56. Taylor recorded 142 career sacks and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999. Taylor was rated the third best player in NFL history in 2010 by NFL.com.
New York Giants: Worst- Rocky Thompson
The New York Giants drafted Rocky Thompson with the 18th overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft. He was a speedy player but didn't do much for the G-men. Thompson played two full seasons and one game of a third season before being released.
He rushed for 217 yards and caught 16 passes for 85 yards with three total touchdowns in his career. He was primarily used as a kickoff returner. Due to where he was selected, Thompson busted in New York and was a bad draft choice.
New York Jets: Best- Joe Namath
Joe Namath was taken No. 12 overall in the 1965 NFL Draft. He is best remembered for his guaranteed Super Bowl victory, and execution of said guarantee, over the Baltimore Colts.
Namath was a five-time AFL All-Star and made the 1972 Pro Bowl when the Jets were in the NFL. Namath won one AFL Championship, one Super Bowl and two AFL MVPs.
He was the 1974 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and has his No. 12 retired by the organization. Namath was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1985. Though controversial, Namath is exactly what a team wants when they take a quarterback in the first round.
New York Jets: Worst- Vernon Gholston
Vernon Gholston was drafted sixth overall by the Jets in the 2008 NFL Draft for his pass-rushing ability. But Gholston never registered a sack in his three seasons with New York.
Gholston recorded only 42 career tackles in the NFL and failed to find a new home. The Jets moved Gholston from defensive end to linebacker, and back to defensive end in attempt to increase his production. Gholston was a wasted pick and hardly did a thing for New York. They didn't draft him at No. 6 to be a special teams player, but that was exactly what he was.
Oakland Raiders: Best- Fred Biletnikoff
Fred Biletnikoff was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round and 39th overall pick of the 1965 NFL Draft. He played with the Raiders until 1978 and was a very valuable player.
Biletnikoff was a six-time All-Pro selection and was the Super Bowl XI MVP. He finished his career with 589 receptions for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1988 and has a college football receiver award in his name. He was a valuable pickup in the third round and a pair of the greatest hands the NFL has ever seen.
Oakland Raiders: Worst- JaMarcus Russell
The Oakland Raiders made the mistake of drafting JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Russell is considered to be the NFL's biggest bust of all time, even though he was a recent selection.
After a training camp holdout, Oakland signed Russell to a deal that guaranteed him $32 million. In his three seasons in Oakland, Russell went 7-18 in his 25 starts. He threw for 4,083 yards with 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Russell had a poor work-ethic and was often out of shape and unconcerned with football.
He was extremely disappointing and perhaps the worst pick ever made in the history of football. Somehow, the No. 1 pick only lasted three NFL seasons and isn't likely to get another chance in the NFL.
Philadelphia Eagles: Best- Chuck Bednarik
Chuck Bednarik was drafted with the No. 1 pick in the 1949 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. The linebacker played until 1963 and was one of the toughest players and hardest tacklers ever.
He made eight All-Pro teams, won the 1953 Pro Bowl MVP and was a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time team. Bednarik won the 1949 and 1960 NFL Championships and his No. 60 uniform number has been retired.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967 and was rated the 35th-best player of all time by NFL.com. Though he has since butted heads with Eagles coaches and fans, he was the best player they ever drafted.
Philadelphia Eagles: Worst- Kevin Allen
Kevin Allen was selected with the ninth pick in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Eagles. Unfortunately for them, 1985 would be his only NFL season. The offensive tackle tested positive for cocaine in 1986 and was charged with sexual assault shortly after.
In fact, Allen spent more years in jail—three—than the NFL (one). He was later banned from ever returning to the NFL. Things could not really get much worse for a team and its number one pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Best- Terry Bradshaw
The Pittsburgh Steelers made quarterback Terry Bradshaw the first overall pick of the 1970 NFL Draft. And after possibly the worst performance as a starting quarterback in his rookie season, Bradshaw turned things around in a big way.
Bradshaw made three Pro Bowls, won four Super Bowls, winning MVP in two of those games. Bradshaw was also the 1978 NFL MVP and was one of the best postseason performers ever.
The Steelers won eight division crowns under his reign and became the first team to win three and four Super Bowls. Bradshaw was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989. Although he struggled at first, the Steelers would not have been a dynasty without him.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Worst- Limas Sweed
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted wide receiver Limas Sweed with the 53rd pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Before a pre-draft injury, Sweed was projected to be one of the first three wideouts taken.
After playing sparingly as a rookie, Sweed was competing for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart in 2009. He entered the season as the team's sixth receiver. Sweed dropped a potential touchdown in 2009 and due to personal issues, and didn't finish out the season.
He was placed on injured reserve in 2010 and waived in 2011. Most fans remember Sweed for his almost-costly drop in the 2009 AFC Championship game and for his touchdown drop against the Bengals, which led to Pittsburgh losing the game.
He finished his career with seven receptions for 69 yards. That is terrible for a player who was supposed to be one of the best at his position in the draft.
San Diego Chargers: Best- Dan Fouts
Dan Fouts was taken with the 64th pick in the third round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Although he never took the Chargers to a Super Bowl, he was a great quarterback until he retired in 1987.
Fouts was the 1982 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, was elected to six Pro Bowls and won the Pro Bowl MVP in 1983. Fouts was the 1982 NFL MVP and his No. 14 uniform has been retired by the Chargers. He is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1993.
San Diego Chargers: Worst- Ryan Leaf
As all NFL fans know, Ryan Leaf was the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Leaf lasted only four NFL seasons, three with San Diego.
The "franchise" quarterback finished with four wins in his San Diego stint, and his immaturity cost him. He finished with 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Leaf never got out of the limelight as suspensions and legal problems have continued to haunt him. Leaf was not only the Charger's worst pick, he might be the all-time worst pick.
San Francisco 49ers: Best- Joe Montana
The San Francisco 49ers took quarterback Joe Montana in the third round and 82nd overall pick of the 1979 NFL Draft. Montana would go on to be perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time.
Montana made eight career Pro Bowls, won two NFL MVPs and two Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year awards. He is best known for winning four Super Bowls, winning MVP in three of those games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 and his No. 16 is retired by the 49ers. He was ranked as the fourth best player of all time by NFL.com.
San Francisco 49ers: Worst- Jim Druckenmiller
Quarterback Jim Druckenmiller was the 26th overall pick of the 1997 NFL Draft. He would go on to be one of the worst picks ever.
In two seasons, Druckenmiller played in only six games, starting one. He threw for one touchdown and four interceptions. He was traded to the Dolphins and then released from the team. He was awful in his attempt to replace Steve Young and the first-round draft pick lasted only two years.
A big waste of a first-round pick.
Seattle Seahawks: Best- Steve Largent
The Seattle Seahawks drafted receiver Steve Largent with the 117th pick of the 1976 NFL Draft. Before getting into a political career, Largent had an outstanding career with the Seahawks. He made seven All-Pro teams, was the 1988 Walter Payton Man of the Year and won the 1988 Bart Starr Man of the Year Award.
His No. 80 has been retired and he is a member of Seattle's Ring of Honor. Largent was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and finished with 100 career touchdowns. Not bad when a team's fourth-round pick ends up as perhaps the best player in team history.
Seattle Seahawks: Worst- Aaron Curry
Though Brian Bosworth was a Seahawk-bust, he was drafted in the supplemental draft.
The Seattle Seahawks took linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. The linebacker signed a hefty six-year, $34 million guaranteed contract, but was gone by 2011.
Curry disappointed mightily in Seattle and after three seasons was dealt to Oakland for a seventh-round pick and conditional draft pick. He failed to make an impact in Seattle and as of the conclusion of the 2011 season has 5.5 sacks. Not what a team expects at No. 4.
St. Louis Rams: Best- Deacon Jones
Deacon Jones was selected in the 14th round and with the 186th pick by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1961 NFL Draft. The defensive end would terrorize quarterbacks until 1974.
Jones is widely considered to be one of the best defensive players ever and perhaps the best Ram of all time. He made eight Pro Bowls and was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
His No. 75 has been retired by the Rams and he made the Hall of Fame in 1980. He was recently rated the 15th-best player of all time by NFL.com. It's pretty safe to say that Jones is the best player the 14th round has ever seen.
St. Louis Rams: Worst- Lawrence Phillips
The St. Louis Rams made the mistake of drafting running back Lawrence Phillips with the sixth pick of the 1996 NFL Draft. Character problems and attitude issues led to a career with the Rams that ended in 1997.
Phillips ran for a combined 1,265 yards as a Ram before being demoted due to inconsistent play and character issues. His immature reaction to his demotion led to his release, though the Rams acknowledged how skilled he was.
What's Phillips doing now?
Serving part of his 10 years in prison. Not what a team wants with the sixth pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Best- Derrick Brooks
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Derrick Brooks the 28th pick of the 1995 NFL Draft. Brooks returned the favor, and then some. In his 14-year career, Brooks made 11 Pro Bowls and nine All-Pro teams.
He won the 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and won a ring that season. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2002 and the "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year in 2003.
He finished his NFL career with 1,715 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 25 interceptions. Brooks brought stability and physical play to the Bucs, exactly what they intended with the pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Worst- Bo Jackson
This is absolutely no disrespect to the great player that Bo Jackson was. It just happened to be the worst pick the Buccaneers ever made. They took Jackson No. 1 in the 1986 NFL Draft, but he opted to play professional baseball instead in 1986. However, he re-applied for the 1987 NFL Draft and was drafted by the Raiders.
The Buccaneers did not want Jackson to play collegiate baseball before training camp and took him on a plane, costing him his NCAA ineligibility. Jackson never signed with Tampa and was allowed to go in the 1987 draft. So while Jackson had a good playing career, the Bucs literally threw away the first overall pick and got absolutely nothing.
Tennessee Titans: Best- Earl Campbell
The then Houston Oilers drafted Earl Campbell with the first pick of the 1978 NFL Draft. Campbell went on to make five Pro Bowls and win the 1979 NFL MVP.
He won the NFL rushing title in 1978, 1979 and 1980. His final statistics were 9,407 rushing yards and 74 touchdowns with a 4.3 yards per carry average. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. Though the organization has since become the Tennessee Titans, Campbell most the most productive and exciting player the franchise has seen.
Tennessee Titans: Worst- Chris Henry
Chris Henry was the 50th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. He was suspended four games as a rookie for violating the drug policy and only played in seven games that year. As a rookie, he rushed for 119 yards and three touchdowns.
In his second season, he finished with three yards on one carry. He was released early in the 2009 season. The Titans could have addressed several other needs in the second round, but their man rushed for 122 career yards in three seasons. Undrafted free agents have done better in a single game.
Washington Redskins: Best- Art Monk
Art Monk was the 18th pick of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. In his 16-year career, he made three Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls. He was the first player to record a receiving touchdown in 15 consecutive seasons, the first player to record over 900 receptions and the first receiver to catch a pass in 180 consecutive games.
He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2008. Monk had a very good career with Washington and was perhaps the best receiver of all time at his retirement.
Washington Redskins: Worst- Devin Thomas
Devin Thomas was the 34th pick of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He mostly played on special teams as a rookie and his role grew in 2009. He had 323 yards and three touchdowns that year, though 100-plus yards and two touchdowns came in one game.
He didn't have any role four games into 2010 and was released. Thomas was the first receiver taken in 2008 and did not execute for the Redskins. They passed up DeSean Jackson and he will continue to torture the franchise for years. Thomas was simply not what's expected of the first receiver off the board in the draft.