NFL Draft 2011: Power Ranking the 25 Biggest Draft Busts in AFC History

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Power Ranking the 25 Biggest Draft Busts in AFC History

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    The NFL Draft cannot come fast enough. Until then, we throw out tons of lists for your entertainment and consumption.

    Rather than focus on the entire NFL, we'll focus our efforts on the AFC this time. There are plenty of draft busts from the AFC to fill a list, so there is no need to look at the NFC.

    If you are a football fan, you probably already know who sits on top of this list, so that will not be a mystery. Hang in to find out if Ryan Leaf edged out JaMarcus Russell and enjoy the rest of the list.

    Unless you are a Bengals fan or a Browns fan, in which case you probably should just move on.

25. David Carr, QB Texans

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    David Carr became the Texans first quarterback and promptly was sacked 76 times during his rookie season, setting an NFL record.

    Amazingly, Carr survived the constant barrage in Texas as they slowly built a team and did manage to have okay numbers. But the Texans decided to trade for a guy named Matt Schaub and Carr backed up Alex Smith in San Francisco in 2010.

24. Tim Couch, QB Cleveland Browns

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    Tim Couch also is the first quarterback of a new franchise, or in this case, a returning franchise. The "new" Cleveland Browns selected Tim Couch to be their franchise quarterback and said he would hold the clipboard his rookie season while the team finished building.

    That lasted about two minutes and Couch was thrown to the wolves while having to endure bad coaching, an incompetent front office and a patchwork offensive line that got Couch brutalized on a regular basis.

    Despite flashes of brilliance, injuries took their toll on Couch and an elbow injury eventually ended his career.

23. Ryan Sims, DT Chiefs

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    Ryan Sims was drafted sixth overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played in 74 games for the Chiefs and recorded 54 tackles, 5 sacks and 1 interception.

    That stunning production got him traded to the Buccaneers in 2007.

22. Alonzo Highsmith, RB Oilers

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    Alonzo Highsmith was selected third overall in the 1987 Draft by the Houston Oilers.

    Ordinarily, this would mean the Oilers would be set at running back for at least six or seven years, but not this time. Highsmith was so bad during his rookie season the Oilers drafted running back Lorenzo White in the first round the next year.

    Whatever effectiveness Highsmith had was ruined by knee injuries and he retired after the 1992 season and became a professional boxer.

21. Johnny "Lam" Jones, WR Jets

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    Johnny "Lam" Jones was an elite athlete but he could not catch the ball consistently. While he could run circles around the defenders, they did not have to do much defending because Jones did not have good hands at all.


20. Mike Junkin, LB Browns

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    Mike Junkin was advertised as a "mad dog in a meat market." That phrase only applied if your mad dog was just a slightly upset 14 year-old terrier with arthritis and the meat market was his scrap of bone Grandpa gave him under the dinner table.

    Junkin was a small school phenomenon who could not make the transition to the pros.

19. Jack Thompson, QB Bengals

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    The first of several Bengals quarterback busts on this list, Thompson, or "The Throwin' Samoan," was drafted third overall in 1979.

    Thompson played four unspectacular years in Cincinnati before going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

18. Todd Blackledge, QB Chiefs

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    Todd Blackledge was drafted seventh overall in the 1983 draft. He never played a full season and never played well. His failure was highlighted by the success of fellow draft picks John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.

    After five completely unproductive years with the Chiefs, he finished his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

17. Peter Warrick, WR Bengals

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    Peter Warrick was drafted fourth overall in the 2000 draft. He was a first-round pick despite a shoplifting arrest his last year in college.

    Warrick consistently underperformed, never having a 1,000-yard season, and eventually was replaced by T.J. Houshmandzadeh.



16. Mike Williams, OT Bills

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    Mike Williams was the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft and considered one of the best offensive linemen prospects in the draft.

    Williams was not very good in pass protection schemes and was moved from tackle to guard. Then injuries started mounting and he was cut after the 2005 season.

15. Trev Alberts, LB Colts

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    Trev Alberts, drafted fifth overall in 1994, had four sacks in his three years with the Colts. Injuries defined Alberts' career and he retired after the 1996 season.

14. Vernon Gholston, LB Jets

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    Vernon Gholston was labeled a project coming out of college in the 2008 NFL Draft where he was drafted sixth overall. That project has received an "F," and the Jets cut Gholston on March 3rd.

    Gholston, another brilliant pick by the man-genius Eric Mangini (who would go on to so completely botch the Browns 2009 draft that he set the organization back another three years), Gholston played three seasons for the Jets and did not record one sack.

    Gholston was a healthy scratch from all three Jets playoffs games and his future currently is unknown.

13. Steve Emtman, DT Colts

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    The first overall pick in the 1992 draft, Steve Emtman was not built to play on Astroturf and had his first two seasons ended by knee injuries.

    Emtman then ruptured a disc in his neck in his third season. He tried to play through it but his season ended a few weeks later when surgery was deemed necessary.

    Emtman finished his career with the Washington Redskins at age 27.

12. Reggie Williams, WR Jaguars

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    Reggie Williams was drafted ninth overall in 2004 and played inconsistent football in five years with the Jaguars, only having one good year.

    After the 2008 season, he fought with police at a nightclub and was arrested on felony drug charges.

    Williams attempted a comeback in 2010 with the Seahawks but was cut during training camp.

11. Brady Quinn, QB Browns

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    The Browns traded back up into the first round to pick Brady Quinn with the 22nd pick.

    An ill-advised contract holdout compounded by gross mismanagement by the Browns resulted in Quinn never truly becoming the Browns starting quarterback for more than a few games at a time. Minor injuries also resulted in missed games and the inability to ever build any kind of chemistry with the team.

    Quinn's focus on bodybuilding appeared to rob him of the arm strength NFL coaches want and he was traded to the Denver Broncos after the 2009 season.

    The Broncos, who already had Kyle Orton as a starter, then drafted Tim Tebow and Quinn was relegated to third on the depth chart.

10. Todd Marinovich, QB Raiders

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    Todd Marinovich is in the infamous "biggest draft busts ever" lists that pop up every April. Marinovich had a very difficult childhood while being raised by a father who groomed him from birth to be the perfect athlete.

    The pressures of living up to everyone's expectations resulted in heavy drug abuse, and after three failed drug tests, Marinovich was out of the NFL before the 1993 season began.

9. Dewayne Robertson, DT Jets

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    Drafted fourth overall by the Jets in 2003, Dewayne Robertson was supposed to solidify the middle of the Jets line. While he started almost every game during his time with the Jets, he never lived up to the expectations of a first-round draft pick.

    Robertson was traded to the Broncos for the 2008 season and was cut after the season ended. He is still listed as a free agent but has not played anywhere in two seasons.

8. David Klingler, QB Bengals

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    David Klingler was just one in a long line of Bengals draft busts, and another example of a successful college quarterback being unable to transition to the pros. Klingler was drafted sixth overall in 1992.

    Through three seasons, he tallied a 4-20 record, throwing 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He eventually lost the starting job to Jeff Blake and played two seasons with Oakland.

    He signed with the Packers to back up Brett Favre in 1998 but was cut before the season began. He never played in the NFL again.

7. Ki-Jana Carter, RB Bengals

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    Ki-Jana Carter was the first overall pick of the 1995 Draft. Carter tore his ACL on his third carry of his first preseason game.

    He never fully recovered and he never again was the dominant running back the Bengals had hoped to have.

6. Courtney Brown, DT Browns

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    Courtney Brown was the first overall pick of the 2000 draft for Cleveland. He had a decent rookie season, notching 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks, but he never played as well and injuries slowed him down.

    He finished his career in Denver, where he tore his ACL and retired.

5. Blair Thomas, RB Jets

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    Blair Thomas was the second overall pick in the 1990 draft. He had an impressive college career, but in four years with the Jets, he rushed for only 2,009 yards.

    Thomas had several injuries and was cut by the Jets after the 1993 season. He retired after the 1995 season.

4. Bob Buczkowski, DE Raiders

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    Bob Buczkowski was drafted 24th overall, but was so bad during the preseason, he sat on the bench most of his rookie year in 1986.

    Buczkowski recorded his first sack in 1987 and was released after that season.

    Buczkowski was arrested in 2005 for running a prostitution ring.

3. Art Schlichter, QB Colts

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    Art Schlichter was drafted by the Colts fourth overall in 1982. However, Schlichter had one of the worst gambling problems known to man. He reportedly had accrued about $700,000 in gambling debts by the time the NFL Strike ended in 1982.

    Schlichter ended up going to the FBI to avoid having to pay a mountain of gambling debts and being threatened by bookies. That resulted in a suspension from the league.

    Schlichter's gambling problem did not go away and he was suspended for life by Commissioner Pete Rozelle in January 1987.

    Schlichter started only six games for the Colts.

2. JaMarcus Russell, QB Raiders

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    JaMarcus Russell was drafted first overall in the 2007 draft, reportedly over the objections of head coach Lane Kiffin.

    In three years with the Raiders, Russell was completely ineffective and was benched more than once. He battled weight issues and had a reputation for being lazy and disinterested.

    Russell was known for overthrowing receivers and not being able to keep up with the speed of the pro game.

    The Raiders cut Russell during the 2010 offseason and no team has signed him.

1. Ryan Leaf, QB Chargers

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    Ryan Leaf is the poster child of draft busts. His inability to adjust to any aspect of the pro game combined with his immaturity and attitude were a recipe for disaster and set the Chargers organization back years.

    His failures have been well-documented elsewhere and we'll not pile on by recounting them here.

    Just think, one day there could be a draft bust that might eclipse Leaf.