The Top 30 NFL Draft Busts of the Decade
Well, now that the decade is over, it's time to look back and see all those bad decisions that all 32 NFL teams (Matt Millen) made in the NFL Drafts of this decade.
Of course, if you're talking about this past decade and NFL draft busts, who better to be on the front of the slideshow than a Detroit Lions wide receiver? Can you guess who it is?
30. Reggie Bush (2nd overall, 2006)
483 carries, 1905 yards, 17 TD, 260 catches, 1934 yards, 11 TD 2006-Present
Don't call me crazy. Bush is certainly not your traditional bust, but he is one in my mind. Bush is a decent player. I'm not saying he's a total bust.
But considering he was the second overall pick and he's never had more than 157 carries in a season says something about how much faith the Saints have in his full-time running abilities.
In his career, he's only started 35 games and has never had more than 6 rushing touchdowns in a season. Bush's receiving is very prominent, as he has had at least 47 catches in each of his four seasons, with a career-high of 88 receptions in 2006.
Bush isn't bad, but he's certainly not what anyone was talking about before the 2006 NFL Draft.
29. Peter Warrick (4th overall, 2000)
275 catches, 2991 yards, 18 TD 2000-2005
Warrick didn't play in the league very long, but his first four seasons were very good. From 2000 to 2003, Warrick had 253 catches for 2684 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Warrick's best season came in 2003, when he had 79 catches for 819 yards and seven touchdowns, all career highs.
An injury-plagued 2004, and the emergence of T.J. Houshmandzadeh got Warrick cut from the Bengals, and he then signed with the Seattle Seahawks for the 2005 season. Warrick spent the playoffs, including Super Bowl XL as the punt returner.
He was cut right before the 2006 season started, and hasn't played in the league again. I put Warrick lower on this list because unlike most players on this list, he actually had four really good years.
28. Cedric Benson (4th overall, 2005)
935 carries, 3591 yards, 18 TD 2005-Present
Benson has definitely resurrected his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, but his career with the Chicago Bears was surely a disaster. Had I made this list a year and a half ago, Benson would have definitely been in the top 10.
He lasted just three years in Chicago and had just 1593 yards over three seasons. In most of two years in Cincinnati, Benson has nearly 2000 rushing yards and has almost as many touchdowns as he did with the Bears.
So Benson doesn't go so high up because of his career resurrection, but he gets on for how bad he was with the Bears.
27. Reggie Williams (9th overall, 2004)
189 catches, 2322 yards, 18 TD 2004-2008
Williams holds one Jaguars record to be proud of—most touchdowns in a single season—which he set in 2007 with 10.
But other than that, Williams was a big bust. He never had more than 52 catches in a single season and never had more than 629 yards.
Besides lasting only five years, Williams was taken over more successful receivers such as Michael Jenkins, Michael Clayton, and Lee Evans.
26. Matt Jones (21st overall, 2005)
166 catches, 2153 yards, 15 TD 2005-2008
Jones was a bust in the NFL as a player, but being arrested for cutting up cocaine with a credit card (wonderful alliteration there) and never playing wide receiver prior to the NFL does not help his cause.
Jones only started 15 games in his career, but played pretty well at times. In 2008, Jones had 65 catches for 761 yards and two touchdowns. Jones was cut after getting arrested for possession of cocaine.
25. Alex Smith (1st overall, 2005)
643/1144, 6807 yards, 36 TD, 43 INT, 2005-Present
Smith has shown signs of greatness, and also signs of confusion and awfulness. In 2006, he nearly got the 49ers into the playoffs, but they just missed, finishing 7-9.
Smith had an awful 2007, with a completion percentage under 50 percent and throwing just two touchdowns in seven starts.
After missing all of 2008 with a shoulder injury, Smith came back stronger than ever in 2009. After Shaun Hill starting the season at QB, Smith got the job mid-season, and never looked back.
Overall, Smith is looking promising towards the future, but with the struggles of his rookie season, the horrible 2007 season and missing the 2008 season makes him a bust so far.
The fact that he was taken over Aaron Rodgers isn't making the pick look much better.
24. David Terrell (8th overall, 2001)
128 catches, 1602 yards, 9 TD 2001-2005
Terrell's career statistics are the equivalent to one Marvin Harrison season in his prime. The fact that Terrell did it over five seasons is very disconcerting.
He started just 29 games and his season high in catches is just 43. He played just four years in Chicago, and made a one game cameo appearance with the Denver Broncos in 2005.
He tried to get back in the league, with the Patriots and again the Bears, but it just never worked out. Terrell was a true bust. He was taken just eight spots over Santana Moss.
23. Sylvester Morris (21st overall, 2000)
48 catches, 678 yards, 3 TD 2000
Morris's rookie season wasn't bad. Too bad it was his only season. He was fourth on the Chiefs in catches and third in yards in 14 starts.
Repeated knee injuries kept him out for the next three years, and Morris was cut by the Chiefs after the 2003 season.
22. Rashard Anderson (23rd overall, 2000)
54 tackles, 1 INT 2000-2001
Anderson only lasted two years in the league, and his rookie year was completely unproductive, with just 13 tackles in 12 games.
His second season was better, with 41 tackles and an interception in nine starts.
But that was it for Anderson, as he was suspended from the league and never returned.
21. Erik Flowers (26th overall, 2000)
31 tackles, 5 sacks, 2000-2004
Flowers had 26 tackles and four sacks in his two years in Buffalo, which got him released.
But he somehow lasted three more years in the league, in which he pulled off only five tackles and a sack. So he didn't even average two tackles a season the final three years of his career. That's how you get on this list.
20. R. Jay Soward (29th overall, 2000)
14 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD 2000
The USC alum had numerous drug problems in college and in the NFL, and he only lasted one year with the Jaguars, catching just 14 passes.
After his first season, Soward was suspended numerous times for drug and alcohol abuse, and he hasn't played in the NFL since.
He did spend three seasons in the Canadian Football League. Soward was taken over Dennis Northcutt, Todd Pinkston, and Jerry Porter.
19. Willie Middlebrooks (24th overall, 2001)
30 tackles 2001-2005
Along with having one of the strangest last names in the history of last names, Middlebrooks had one of the worst careers in the history of NFL careers.
In five NFL seasons, Middlebrooks totaled just two starts, garnering 30 tackles and not one interception to his name.
His breakout season was 2004, in which he had both of his starts, totaling a productive 17 tackles and a sack. And there is the career of the pride of the University of Minnesota.
18. Patrick Ramsey (32nd overall, 2002)
511/913, 5930 yards, 35 TD 30 INT 2002-2008
The Tulane graduate lasted just four seasons with the Redskins, getting 24 starts and compiling a 10-14 record as a starter.
Ramsey has played in just four games since being cut by the Redskins after the 2005 season, and hasn't started a game since.
17. Dewayne Robertson (4th overall, 2003)
192 tackles, 16 sacks, 2003-2008
Robertson just never seemed to fit (no put intended) with the Jets. His career highs in tackles and sacks were 39 and four respectively, and after a disastrous move to nose tackle in 2007, Robertson was traded to the Denver Broncos.
In Denver, he lasted just one season. He was taken just five spots above Kevin Williams of the famed Williams Wall.
16. Rashaun Woods (31st overall, 2004)
7 catches, 160 yards, 1 TD 2004
Woods only played for one season, and he didn't even start a game. He only made seven catches and caught just one touchdown.
After missing all of 2005 with injuries, he was traded to the Chargers, but never appeared in a game.
After bouncing around with a few other teams, he landed in the Canadian Football League, where he has most recently been cut by the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Woods was taken over Devery Henderson.
15. Michael Haynes (14th overall, 2003)
49 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2003-2005
Haynes was one of four Penn State players taken in the first round in 2003. Haynes is the only one who is currently not playing in the league.
The other three are Jimmy Kennedy, Bryant Johnson and Larry Johnson, who are not a bad bunch of players.
Haynes, unfortunately does not compare in NFL standards. Haynes's best season came in 2004, when he had four starts, totaling 25 tackles and two sacks, all career highs.
He was taken just four spots above Calvin Pace, who became a very productive defensive player.
14. John McCargo (26th overall, 2006)
32 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2006-Present
I don't like putting players on this list who have only been in the league for four or less years, but McCargo, combined with the Bills insane selection of him and his ridiculous disappointment, has to be high up on this list.
He has never made a start in his career, and most of his stats come from the 2007 season, in which he had 25 tackles and two and a half sacks.
Remember that McCargo was supposed to be a late second round pick at the EARLIEST, and possibly a mid- to late-third round pick, but I guess the Bills had to pull a Michael Mitchell on us.
13. Courtney Brown (1st overall, 2000)
156 tackles, 19 sacks, 2000-2005
Brown was disappointing, but he wasn't absolutely awful. Over five seasons with the Browns, he had 19 sacks, including at least four and a half sacks three times.
The 156 tackles weren't anything special, but he wasn't as huge a bust as people always make him out to be.
What also gets him on this list is because he was taken over Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, and the fact that he was the No. 1 overall pick.
12. Joey Harrington (3rd overall, 2002)
1424/2538, 14693 yards, 79 TD, 85 INT 2002-2007
Harrington has had a pretty up-and-down career in the NFL, even though the ups weren't that high. Harrington led the league in interceptions in 2003 with 22, and only lasted four seasons in Detroit.
He then started 11 games with the Dolphins in 2006, taking over the Trent Green mess, and then started 10 games for the horrible 2007 Atlanta Falcons. He hasn't played since.
11. Mike T. Williams (4th overall, 2002)
53 games, 47 starts, 2002-2005, 2009
This Mike Williams was indeed a bust, but not to the extent of the wide receiver Mike Williams. Williams started 47 games over four seasons for the Bills, and then didn't play for three seasons.
In 2009, he made a two game comeback with the Washington Redskins, where he is currently on the IR. He was taken six picks ahead of Levi Jones and just three picks ahead of Bryant McKinnie.
10. Troy Williamson (7th overall, 2005)
87 catches, 1131 yards, 4 TD 2005-Present
You know you're a bust when you blame a whole season on bad vision, AFTER the season. The kicker? It was his best season. 2006 had career highs for Williamson in catches (37) and receptions (455).
After the 2007 season, Williamson was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 6th round pick. Williamson continued to struggle in Jacksonville, as he has made just eight catches over the last two seasons.
Williamson was taken over Mark Clayton and Roddy White.
9. Freddie Mitchell (25th overall, 2001)
90 catches, 1263 yards, 5 TD 2001-2004
The UCLA star played just four years with the Eagles, with a career high of just 35 catches. Mitchell had just 17 starts, and never had more than two touchdowns in a season.
The thing that makes Andy Reid's mouth taste bitter? Mitchell was taken just five picks over Reggie Wayne and 11 over Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him Ochocinco even if it is his legal name).
8. Erasmus James (18th overall, 2005)
30 tackles, 5 sacks, 2005-2008
Erasmus James, besides being a huge bust, is at least the answer to the trivia question, who was the Vikings defensive end before Jared Allen?
James' career season consisted of 23 tackles, four sacks and nine starts, all career highs. In fact, over the next three seasons, James would total just seven tackles and one sack.
James was taken ahead of Marcus Spears and Luis Castillo. He is now currently a free agent.
7. Jerome McDougle (15th overall, 2003)
30 tackles, 3 sacks, 2003-2004, 2006, 2008
McDougle was taken one pick behind Michael Haynes, but was much less productive, though he lasted one more season. McDougle's season high in tackles is 12, and his high in sacks is two.
To make matters worse, he never even started a game. McDougle was taken just three selections over Calvin Pace.
6. Mike Williams (10th overall, 2005)
44 catches, 539 yards, 2 TD 2005-2007
Williams was so bad that he only lasted two years with the Lions. Most of his career statistics come from his rookie season, which he compiled just 29 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown.
He only had seven starts in his career, one of those coming with the Raiders in 2007.
Williams has been out of the NFL since 2007. This move was particularly bad on the Lions part because Williams didn't play all of the 2004 college season, and still decided to take him 10th overall.
Williams was taken over Mark Clayton and Roddy White.
5. Jamal Reynolds (10th overall, 2001)
12 tackles, 3 sacks, 2001-2003
It's hard to do as little as Reynolds did. He played in only 18 games over three seasons, and never started a game.
There's really not much to say other than he was so bad that the only picture I could find of him is him tackling a teammate of his who successfully tackled Michael Vick.
The only reason Reynolds is not higher than Wendall Bryant is because there wasn't a defensive end taken after Reynolds until the second round, though that DE would be the much more successful Kyle Vanden Bosch.
4. Adam Jones (6th overall, 2005)
121 tackles, 4 INT, 2005-2008
Pacman Jones had everything necessary to be shutdown corner, except discipline.
After two good seasons to start off his career, Jones was suspended all of the 2007 season for numerous well-documented legal problems.
Prior to the 2008 season, the Titans released Jones, who would appear in a few games with the Dallas Cowboys before being cut again.
Last time we heard from him, he had entered some crazy wrestling league. The worst part for the Titans is that they could have had Antrel Rolle, Carlos Rogers, or Fabien Washington.
3. Wendell Bryant (12th overall, 2002)
29 tackles, 1.5 sacks 2002-2004
The Wisconsin alum appeared in just 29 games over three seasons, making just nine starts.
But what puts Bryant so high up on this list is not just the poor performance, but the fact that he was taken just three spots up from some defensive tackle named Albert Haynesworth.
2. Johnathan Sullivan (6th overall, 2003)
57 tackles, 1.5 sacks 2003-2005
Sullivan had the perfect body — 6'3," 313 lbs — for a rugged, monster defensive tackle ready to succeed in the NFL. Too bad for the Saints, he never quite did that.
Sullivan's best season came in his rookie season when he had career highs in tackles—26—and sacks, with just one.
Over the next two years, Sullivan would total just 31 tackles and half a sack before being traded to the New England Patriots prior to the 2006 season.
But Sullivan would never play for the Pats, as he was cut before he could even play a down.
1. Charles Rogers (2nd overall, 2003)
36 catches, 440 yards, 4 TD 2003-2005
The Michigan State product was expected to be the next big thing at wide receiver, but bad breaks and stupid decisions get Rogers a No. 1 ranking he doesn't want.
Any time your best season consists of 22 catches, 243 yards and three touchdowns, it doesn't look good. After just five starts, Rogers broke his collarbone and missed the remainder of the season.
Rogers compiled no statistics in 2004, in which he played only one game and broke his collarbone again.
In 2005, he caught just 14 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, only after missing four games due to a drug-related suspension.
Rogers would never play in the league after 2005, and Matt Millen still didn't learn his lesson about wide receivers high up in the draft.
Also, being taken one spot over Andre Johnson certainly doesn't help your cause on this list.
Honorable (or not so honorable) Mentions
Chris McIntosh (22nd overall, T) 24 games, 13
Ron Dayne (11th overall, RB) 983 carries, 3722 yards, 28 TD 2000-2007
Trung Candidate (31st overall, RB) 240 carries, 1095 yards, 7 TD 2000-2003
William Green (16th overall, RB) 568 catches, 2109 yards, 9 TD 2002-2005
Andre Woolfolk (28th overall, DB) 96 tkl, 3 INT 2003-2006
Marcus Tubbs (23rd overall, DT) 38 tkl, 7 sacks 2004-2006
Chris Perry (26th overall, RB) 177 carries, 606 yards, 2 TD, 2004-2008
I tried avoiding guys from 2006, but I ended up using quite a few. I pretty much ruled out using players who have been in the league for three years or less because it is unfair, as they haven't really had a chance to prove themselves yet. Four years is my bare minimum for this list.
I tried avoiding second round picks, because generally a bust is not a second rounder, as you put much more money into a first round pick. The position that the first round pick is is usually more important and will have more of an impact than your second round pick.
Please, if you don't agree with something, comment and tell me (there's a reason I didn't put David Carr, if you are wondering).