From David Carr to Charles Rogers: An NFL Draft Decade of Infamy

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IApril 22, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

With the 2010 NFL Draft less than 24 hours away, there's no better time to reflect on the past decade's grave mistakes by NFL franchises.

We're merely 20 hours away from seeing NFL GMs and coaches trade and draft their way into over-hyped and bust-candidate oblivion. But before we can even begin to fathom what this year's class might bring us in terms of flat-out disappointment, it's best to take a look back.

Here's a look at the worst top 10 picks in each draft through the last decade, starting in the 2000 NFL Draft, with what NFL Soup deems as "true busts".

Note: While players outside of the top 10 can definitely be considered busts, we're being nice and limiting it to the top 10 of each year's draft. After all, these are the guys Mel Kiper Jr. and so many other experts wasted their time hyping up for an entire year, so they deserve the shame more than anyone else.

2000 NFL Draft

Courtney Brown, DE, Penn State

Brown was a mammoth defensive end drafted with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns, and what a waste of space he turned out to be.

He was actually a fairly serviceable end for a few years, but for the first pick in a draft, he went beyond disappointing or failing to live up to expectations.

Brown recorded just 19 sacks in just six seasons in the NFL, while missing a total of 35 games due to injury. Brown was last seen in the league as a Bronco in 2005, having his uninspiring career halted at the age of 27.

Dishonorable mention: Peter Warrick

2001 NFL Draft

Jamal Reynolds, DE, Florida State

With former Michigan star receiver David Terrell in the top ten of this draft, it's painfully clear just how big of a bust Reynolds was to take the cake as the top bust in the 2001 draft.

Reynolds was drafted 10th overall by the Green Bay Packers as their next great pass-rusher, but never had the height, frame, or size to truly compete with opposing offensive linemen.

With under-developed skills and toughness, Reynolds eventually wore out his welcome in Green Bay, and was done with the league at age 24, finishing his three-year career with just three sacks.

Dishonorable mentions: David Terrell, Gerard Warren

2002 NFL Draft

Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon

Harrington was in fierce competition for the top (or bottom) spot in 2002's top 10, as he squared off with top overall pick David Carr for the (dis)honors.

Carr received a lot of ridicule for his lack of success in Houston, but many people forget how energetic and passionate of a player he was for the first three to four years with the Texans. It wasn't until he took an unbelievable pounding behind their atrocious offensive line that he finally wilted into a bust.

Harrington, on the other hand, while playing on a horrible Lions team and often with very few weapons, didn't ever truly have the same flair Carr possessed.

Harrington was never accurate, wasn't prolific, and didn't perform well in the clutch. He wins/loses in this race, if only by a hair.

Dishonorable mentions: David Carr

2003 NFL Draft

Charles Rogers, WR, Michigan State

For at least the first few games of his rookie season, Rogers appeared to be the answer Matt Millen and Co. were so frequently searching for at receiver.

However, a broken collarbone early in the season set in motion a tragic sequence of injuries and inconsistency, which led to Rogers losing all of his speed and eventually falling out of favor with the Lions and, inevitably, all of the NFL.

Dishonorable mention: Byron Leftwich

2004 NFL Draft

Reggie Williams, WR, Washington

Williams was as over-hyped as receivers get, failing to crack 40 receptions in each of his first two seasons, and never finding his way over 700 receiving yards.

He did have one impressive season in 2007 when he somehow scored 10 touchdowns, but then quickly reverted to his disappointing self with 9.8 yards per catch and just three scores the following season.

Williams was out of football in 2009, and has since resurfaced in Seattle's camp, along with fellow first-round receiver bust Mike Williams. Wait for it...

Dishonorable mentions: Robert Gallery

2005 NFL Draft

Mike Williams, WR, USC

Sure, you could conted that Alex Smith deserves this spot. However, with somewhat of a rebound season in 2009, it's fair to say the jury is still out.

You could then say Troy Williamson is the next big bust. You'd be extremely close, but not quite there.

You see, Williams was supposed to be the next Keyshawn Johnson. He was the most hyped receiver we had seen in some time. He dominated the Pac-10, had great size and ball skills, and was booming with confidence (or cockiness).

But then he sat out the 2004 collegiate season and turned into mush. Williams was taken with the 10th overall by the Detroit Lions (another receiver!?) and never even cracked 30 receptions in a season.

In fact, after recording 29 catches as a rookie, he never topped 10 catches again. Like Reggie Williams, he too is trying to salvage his "gone horribly wrong" career in Seattle.

Dishonorable mentions: Alex Smith, Troy Williamson, Adam "Pacman" Jones
2006 NFL Draft
Reggie Bush, RB, USC
You could argue Matt Leinart or A.J. Hawk as the top bust in this group, but we don't feel Leinart's gotten a fair shake, and while Hawk hasn't been elite, he's been at least a decent addition to the Green Bay Packers.
Bush, on the other hand, has not become what he was supposed to be.
Granted, he's an electrifying returner with great receiving and play-making skills, he just isn't living up to what the No. 2 pick in the draft is supposed to be.
He's not a traditional running back and almost certainly never will be, making him a bust, whether all of New Orleans likes it or not.
Dishonorable mentions: A.J.Hawk, Matt Leinart
2007 NFL Draft
JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Gaines Adams passed away this year and Ted Ginn Jr. hasn't lived up to expectations, but no one in this top 10 even begins to touch Russell.
Russell has never found the touch, timing, accuracy, or work ethic it takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL, and even more, has never even come remotely close to putting up respectable numbers.
I mean, when you can't beat out the likes of Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye, you know you're not very good.
At least David Carr and Alex Smith have thrown for more than 13 touchdowns in a season in their careers.
Dishonorable mention: Ted Ginn Jr.
2008 NFL Draft
Vernon Gholston, OLB/DE, Ohio State
Gholston was hyped up as an elite, athletic, and versatile pass-rusher that could fit any scheme. It looks like Eric Mangini and Co. were wrong—dead wrong.
Gholston has started just three games in his two seasons in the NFL, recording 11 tackles and zero sacks.
True, he still has time to prove he was worth the pick, but if the early signs are any indication, the Jets should cut their losses and move on.
Dishonorable mentions: Glen Dorsey, Darren McFadden
2009 NFL Draft
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Drafted for his pure straight-line speed and elite athleticism, Heyward-Bey struggled (as expected), and recorded just nine receptions and one touchdown in his rookie season.
Heyward-Bey is an example of a classic Al Davis overbuy, as the Maryland product could have easily been available near the bottom of the first round, and possibly even the second, and Davis drafted him in the top 10, regardless.
There's still a chance Heyward-Bey turns into a solid pro, but considering he runs poor routes, doesn't have a quarterback, and has terrible hands, we wouldn't bet your life's savings on it.
Dishonorable mentions: None
With a gun to our head, the player with the most potential to be an NFL bust and picked in this year's top 10 is...Sam Bradford.
We love his accuracy and mechanics, but he's got David Carr written all over him. He's bound to get flat-out abused behind the St. Louis Rams' offensive line. That is, of course, unless he goes elsewhere...
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