NFL Draft: Worst Selections Ever

John LewisSenior Writer IApril 14, 2008

As the 2008 NFL Draft quickly approaches and teams are sizing up their selections, I got to thinking about some of the worst picks in draft history.

1996-Lawrence Phillips

Lawrence Phillips could've been the worst pick in the history of the NFL draft.  Phillips already had a rap sheet stemming from altercations with girlfriends and driving a car into a group of teenagers after a pick up football game, however the St. Louis Rams took a chance and made him the sixth pick in 1996.

The next year Phillips was cut and ended up with the Miami Dolphins for two games and again received the ax after very little effort.  He then missed the entire 1998 season and found his way to NFL Europe to rebound his career.  In 1999 he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers and during a Monday Night Game against the Arizona Cardinals he missed a key block that got Steve Young knocked out of the game and would eventually retire from that injury.

The notable players picked after Phillips are none other than Eddie George, Marvin Harrison and Ray Lewis.

1989-Tony Mandarich

Sport Illustrated called him "The Incredible Bulk" and the Green Bay Packers fell for it and selected him no. 2 overall in the 1989 draft.  After a long hold out which was resolved a week before the season started, Mandarich spent most of his rookie season on special teams.  After three lack luster seasons the incredible sulk was cut. 

Mandarich did find his way to the Indianapolis Colts a couple of seasons later and only lasted three seemingly more successful seasons.  He retired without a bang and had to shake off questions of steroid use.

The notable players selected after Mandarich were Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders.

1998-Ryan Leaf 

Leaf was selected no. 2 overall, after Peyton Manning, by the San Diego Chargers who traded up to be guaranteed this great quarter back.  At 6-5 240 pounds Leaf was regarded as more athletic and stronger than Manning and signed a four year contract worth $31.25 million with $11.25 of that guaranteed in a signing bonus.

Leaf once said he was looking forward to a 15 year career, with a couple of trips to the Super Bowl, and wanted a parade through downtown San Diego.  Quite lofty goals for an NFL bust.

The most notable pick after Leaf was Charles Woodson.

1987 Brian Bosworth  

Brian Bosworth was regarded by many scouts as one of the greatest linebackers to ever set foot on a football field.  But before "The Boz" was drafted he sent letters to many teams stating that he wouldn't play for them and for them not to pick him.

So the Seattle Seahawks must've known something we didn't because they selected him in the supplemental draft in 1987 and proceeded to sign him to a 10 year $11 million contract. 

Bosworth-less only lasted three years in the NFL and retired in 1989 because of a career ending shoulder injury.  He worked as a color commentator during the one season of the XFL in 2001. 

The Boz made the transition from the NFL field to the Hollywood stages and he would star in the 1991 action packed film Stone Cold.  He would also make an appearance in the remake of The Longest Yard.

1991 Todd Marinovich 

Marinovich was chosen in the first round, no. 24 by the Los Angeles Raiders and started the third game of the season after starting QB Jay Schroeder was benched.  He would throw for 395 yards in a loss and would find some success going 3-6 as a starter.

But in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles he was intercepted three times and was replaced by Schroeder.  Marinovich would never play in the NFL again as the Raiders cut him. 

Marinovich's legal troubles would ultimately do him in with arrests on drug assault and rape charges.  When Marinovich left for the NFL he said "Well, I may not be the best quarterback ever to don the Trojan uniform, but there's little doubt I was the prettiest and the one who used them (i.e., Trojan Condoms) the most."

Other notable flops were Heath Schuler from the University of Tennessee, Heisman trophy winner Andre Ware of the University of Houston and Ricky Williams out of the University of Texas.