NFL Draft: Top 10 Busts Since 2000

Joe Drake@JoeDrakeDotComContributor IIIOctober 25, 2011

NFL Draft: Top 10 Busts Since 2000

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    Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth and Ki-Jana Carter all have one thing in common: They were top draft picks that imploded at the NFL level.

    But you already know the all-time list. It's been beaten to death.

    Here is a list of players you can actually remember watching. They may not be the all-time worst, but their lack of performance is still affecting their teams today.

    These are the 10 biggest NFL draft busts since 2000.

10. Vernon Gholston, New York Jets

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    Vernon Gholston was selected No. 6 overall by the New York Jets in 2008.

    A defensive end out of Ohio State, he had set the school record for sacks in a season and was fifth all-time on the career sacks list. After tying the record for bench press reps at the NFL combine, Gholston looked like the next great D-end in pro football.

    However, just three years later, he is already out of the NFL without ever recording a sack. The Jets tried him at multiple positions without success. The only reason he doesn't rank higher on this list is that he's young enough to still make a "comeback."

9. Courtney Brown, Cleveland Browns

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    Courtney Brown was a defensive end from Penn State selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns.

    He was a physical freak.

    Nearly 6'5" with almost 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and 26 bench reps at the combine, Courtney Brown was a monster. Throw in his collegiate accolades, including first-team All-American his senior year, and you can see why he was the first pick in 2000.

    But, it was all for naught. After a decent rookie year, his career was marred by injury—beginning with a freak accident of a penalty flag to the eye.

    Sometimes it's just not meant to be.

8. Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints

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    In 2006, everyone laughed when the Houston Texans passed on Reggie Bush for Mario Williams. Bush was quickly scooped up by New Orleans at the second slot. Five years later, the duo has combined for a mere two Pro Bowl appearances.

    However, both belong to Williams.

    Who's laughing now? Certainly not New Orleans.

    Bush has turned out to be a fairly productive player in the NFL, but nowhere near what he was expected to be. You don't draft a scat back and punt returner at No. 2 overall.

    New Orleans has since cut their losses and traded Bush to the Dolphins.

7. Peter Warrick, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Another product of the debacle that was the 2000 NFL draft, Cincinnati selected Warrick fourth overall out of Florida State. Warrick was a two-time first-team All-American and the all-time receiving touchdown leader at FSU.

    But the success ended there.

    He had just one season of more than 700 yards in four years, ultimately replaced by T.J. Houshmandzadeh—a seventh-round pick in 2001.

    Warrick has since had various tryouts and short-lived stints with the NFL, CFL and arena teams. Ouch.

6. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    Joe Montana, Steve Young...Alex Smith? The Utah Ute was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft and next in the line of great 49ers quarterbacks.

    Or so they thought.

    Six years, 60 games and a 59:55 touchdown to interception ratio later, Smith is clinging to an NFL job.

    He's lost his job on multiple occasions and has just 24 wins—five of which have come this season. Not exactly what San Fran was looking for from their No. 1 pick.

5. David Terrell, Chicago Bears

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    Wide receiver David Terrell was selected eighth overall in 2001 by the Chicago Bears—196 picks ahead of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Guess who has 600-plus career catches and is still in the league?

    Not Terrell.

    The 6'3", 215-pound receiver amassed 23 touchdowns in his college career, including a 13-touchdown senior campaign that boosted his draft stock immensely.

    Unfortunately for the Bears, Terrell's career NFL numbers fail to even match that of his senior year at Michigan. Nine touchdowns over five seasons doesn't exactly do the No. 8 selection justice.

4. Ron Dayne, New York Giants

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    Ron Dayne is the greatest running back in college football history. He won every award imaginable at the collegiate level and was chosen 11th overall by the New York Giants in 2000.

    At 5'10", 250 pounds, Dayne was built like a tank and had Tiki Barber to teach him the ropes. There was no excuse for failure.

    But fail he did.

    While Dayne would appear in 96 games over seven seasons, New York had seen enough after four. Never graduating to feature back, he started just 14 games for the Giants.

    The all-time rush-yards leader in NCAA history never surpassed the 770 he posted during his rookie campaign.

3. Charles Rogers, Detroit Lions

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    The second overall pick in 2003, Charles Rogers went to the Detroit Lions—for a little while, at least.

    A superstar at Michigan State, Rogers averaged over 20 yards-per-catch and reached pay dirt 26 times over two seasons.

    But, the 2002 All American didn't experience the same success at the next level.

    Appearing in a pitiful 15 games from 2003 to 2005, the Lions cut their losses after just three seasons. Thirty-six catches and four touchdowns didn't meet their lofty, Randy Moss-esque expectations.

2. Matt Leinart, USC

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    Matt Leinart was the steal of the 2006 draft after being taken at No. 10 by the Arizona Cardinals.

    For about 15 minutes, that is.

    The USC legend started 11 games his rookie year and threw 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

    Not terrible. However, his career touchdown total currently sits at 14.

    That is terrible.

    Leinart has spent his NFL life backing up Kurt Warner and coasting off his massive rookie payout. These days he's in Houston...backing up Matt Schaub. Even Tarvaris Jackson has outperformed Leinart.

1. Jamarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders

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    Jamarcus Russell was chosen as the first pick in the 2007 draft by the Oakland Raiders.


    Russell had a lot going for him. He had a mountain of a frame (a taller C.C. Sabathia), a canon for an arm and a national title.

    But none of that seemed to matter. Russell started all of 25 games (not even two full seasons), won just seven and threw more interceptions than touchdowns. It only cost the Raiders a $61 million dollar contract ($32 million of which was guaranteed).

    Russell was so bad that he may have even beat out Ryan Leaf as the biggest bust of all time.

Honorable Mentions

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    These players were strong candidates, but they were either not as notable coming into the draft, or not enough time has elapsed for them to officially be busts.

    Jamal Reynolds: Tenth pick in 2001 by Green Bay. Recorded 12 tackles in 18 career games.

    R Jay Soward: Twenty-ninth pick by Jacksonville in 2000, Soward played just one season. He appeared in 13 games and recorded 14 catches.

    Troy Williamson: The Vikings took him at seventh overall in 2005, but he only scored four miserable touchdowns in five years.

    Aaron Maybin: Selected 11th by the Bills in 2009, he was released after two seasons without recording a sack.

    C.J. Spiller: The ninth pick in 2010, this Bill has seen just 89 carries thus far and reached pay dirt only once.