The NFL's 10 Biggest Draft Busts
The NFL draft has taken on a life of its own, as fans pour over their team's needs and the year's collegiate prospects in an effort to determine which players their team will take.
However, although the NFL draft has clearly became a much bigger media event over the years, teams are now just as likely as ever to miss on their picks in the early rounds.
With the Raiders' decision to release JaMarcus Russell, let's have a look at the ten biggest NFL draft busts ever.
JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders
Picked first overall in 2007, it took Raiders' owner Al Davis three years and $39-million to realize what others knew much earlier—that Russell lacked the work ethic and character to develop into a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL.
Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers
The Colts got Peyton Manning with the top pick of the 1998 draft and the Chargers took Ryan Leaf second. Has there ever been such a dramatic difference in the careers of the top two overall picks? Leaf flamed out, courtesy of his over-inflated ego and complete lack of maturity.
Heath Shuler, Washington Redskins
The Redskins took Shuler with the third pick in the 1994 draft, expecting he would lead them for a decade. However, he struggled as a rookie, failed to progress in his second year and lost his job to the unheralded Gus Frerotte in 1996. He was out of the league the subsequent year and is now a congressman.
Lawrence Phillips, St. Louis Rams
The Rams took him with the sixth pick of the 1996 draft, figuring they could nurture him and reap the rewards of his tremendous talent. A year and a half later, after frequent reports of missed meetings, insubordination, missed assignments and little production, they jettisoned him. Best remembered for missing the block that led to Steve Young's retirement while he was with the 49ers.
Tim Couch, Cleveland Browns
The resurrected Browns used the first selection of the 1999 draft to select Couch. However, the Kentucky product failed to live up to the hype although, to be fair, the Browns failed miserably in finding talent to surround him with. He lasted five years in Cleveland, never rising above mediocrity before a rotator cuff injury ended his career.
Steve Emtman, Indianapolis Colts
Emtman was an over-hyped college talent not worthy of his lofty draft status as the first overall selection in the 1992 draft. Injuries decimated his career and he played in only 18 games over three years with the Colts.
Blair Thomas, New York Jets
The Jets took the Penn State product with the second pick in the 1990 draft figuring the All-American runner would bolster the team's lackluster rushing attack for years. Unfortunately, Thomas finished his four-year Jet career with just over 2,000 yards rushing. He failed to usurp fullback Brad Baxter and an aging Freeman McNeil for playing time.
Andre Ware, Detroit Lions
Taken seventh overall in the 1990 draft, the Lions quickly realized that Ware's talents weren't suited to the NFL. Ware won the Heisman Trophy as a Houston Cougar courtesy of the innovative run and shoot offense, but couldn't beat out journeyman quarterbacks Rodney Peete and Erik Kramer while with the Lions. He started five games during his third and fourth years in the league and then bounced around the NFL, NFL Europe and the CFL.
Tony Mandarich, Green Bay Packers
When he entered the league in 1989, it was a foregone conclusion that Mandarich would end his career as the best offensive guard to ever set foot on an NFL field. However, he held out as a rookie and failed to win a spot in the starting lineup until his third year in the league. Who can ever forget the 1992 cover of Sports Illustrated that labeled Mandarich "The NFL's Incredible Bust"?
Brian Bosworth, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks used a first round pick in the 1987 supplemental draft to acquire the self promoting linebacker. The Oklahoma product was a complete bust in Seattle, failing to tackle well, unable to rush the passer and a disaster in coverage. His movie career didn't turn out much better.