Top Ten Draft Day Busts

Dave WalkerCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2009

So yesterday the news of Michael Crabtree having a stress fracture in his foot reminded me of one Ki-Jana Carter. Being a Bengals fan I remember that this was gonna be the guy to get them back to the top. A speed back with some punch. A winner. A guy from Penn State. It wasn't to be for Mr. Carter.

On the third carry of the preseason he tore a ligament in his knee and was never the same. A draft day bust many would say, but I disagree. When it comes to major injuries like that, you can never predict how good they may have been.

Nevertheless, it made me want to come up with my list of top ten worst draft picks. I give you, in no particular order, my top ten.


No. 10 With the 6th pick in the 1992 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Benglas select, Quarterback, University of Houston, David Klingler.

Klingler was on of those system QB's in college, piling up impressive stats. However in his brief pro career, he totalled just 16 TD's to 22 INT's and winning only 4 of his 24 NFL starts. He now has a PhD in Theology and lives in the Dallas area.


No. 9 With 6th pick in the 1996 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select, Running Back, University of Nebraska, Lawrence Phillips.

It is a little known fact that Phillips had a green room set up in prison for draft day. Just kidding. Phillips was a guy with tons of talent, but just couldn't stay out of trouble. He had several okay years, and actually helped Montreal win the 2002 Grey Cup. However, Phillips now sits in a California prison after being convicted on seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He will not be up for the NFL draft again until 2019.


No. 8 With the 2nd pick in the 1989 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select, Offensive lineman, Michigan State, Tony Mandarich.

All you can say about this guy was how could he suck? He was a monster. He used roids for God's sake and he sucked.  As far as stats, I don't know how much he could dead lift, or how many cheeseburgers he could eat in one sitting. All I know is that he will not be remembered as a Packer great. He now runs a photography studio out in Arizona.


No. 7 With the 1st pick in the 1988 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select, Linebacker, Auburn University, Aundray Bruce.

Now being only 28 years old, I don't remember too much, except that this guy was supposed to be a difference maker on defense. He racked up only 32 sacks in 10 seasons, and became more of a serviceable linebacker with the Raiders. I have no clue where he is now, but, I am hoping he and Lawrence Phillips aren't sharing a snuggie.


No. 6 With the 12th pick in the 1999 NFL draft, the Chicago Bears select, Quarterback, UCLA, Cade McNown.

Wow, a Bears draft pick bust? What a surprise. I could have easily put Salaam, or Enis, or some other QB or RB that they have wasted a pick on in the last 10-15 years. I won't touch any of his lackluster stats, but just say that Jim Miller took the same Bears team that McNown had lead the prior 2 years to the playoffs in 2001.

Jim Miller! Come on! But, I do respect the guy. He did get a lifetime ban from the playboy mansion for taking Hef's girl on a Mexican getaway. I bet even Brande Roderick sacked McNown, cause I know everyone else did.


No. 5 With the 1st pick in the 1999 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select, Quarterback, University of Kentucky, Tim Couch.

Couch was a standout at Kentucky prior to being drafted by the Browns in 1999. His career stats were not terrible. He threw for over 11000 yards and 60 TD's. But, the fact that he was supposed to be the savior, future, blah blah blah, for the Browns made him a draft day bust. He has attempted many comebacks, and has failed to make a third string spot. I hear he is flipping burgers at a University union somewhere in Kentucky.


No. 4 With the 4th pick in the 1982 NFL draft, the Baltimore Colts select, Quarterback, Ohio state University, Art Schlichter.

I wasn't old enough to remember Art, but have heard plenty about him. Many say he wasted away his talent. I say that he gambled it away. Schlichter was a 4 year starter for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, and the Colts made him their franchise QB with the 4th pick. Stats were mediocre at best. Rumors are swirling that he is sitting at a seat at a penny slot machine in Vegas as we speak....


No. 3 With the 1st pick in the 1992 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks select, Defensive lineman, University of Washington, Steve Emtman.

Emtman was yet another victim of the injury bug. He played on the Kingdome carpet which led to a number of knee and lower body injuries. His rookie year was highlighted by a 90 yard interception return to upset the Miami Dolphins. As big a bust as his NFL career may have been, he was inducted into the College football Hall of Fame in 2006. He now volunteers for the AFL team in Spokane.


No. 2 With 3rd pick in the 1999 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Quarterback, University of Oregon, Akili Smith.

This is the reason the Bengals are the Bungels. Akili Smith? Really? Mel Kiper, how did you have this guy rated so high? His NFL stats, 2400 yards passing, 5TD's, and 18 INT's. This guy didn't even make it in the CFL. He was Henry Burris's backup in 2007.

Yes, Henry Burris. A fun fact that as a Bengal fan I am aware of every draft day: The Bengals were offered 9 draft picks by the Saints to move up to the  No. 3 spot in 1999. They opted to draft Smith, thus remaining the Bungels.




No. 1 With the 2nd pick in the 1998 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select, Quarterback, Washington State, Ryan Leaf.

Tell me you saw this one coming. I mean, the 1998 draft was all about who the Colts thought would be the better pro. The Colts were right by taking Peyton Manning. Mr. Leaf, infamous for his spout with local media, and throwing temper tantrums on the field, lasted just 4 NFL seasons.

He racked up an impressive 36 INT's and was the butt of many jokes both during the NFL draft each year, and each year when they show the best temper tantrums in sports history. Last I heard he was a coach at West Texas A&M, but I think I remember hearing he got the boot, not sure.


I am sure there are many other memorable busts that people remember. I forgot the other 12 Bengals draft picks from 1990 on that weren't Carson Palmer, plus not Charles Rogers or any other Lions receiver. Feel free to add a comment on some of the other gems that I didn't mention.