32 Worst First-Round Draft Picks in NFL History
In the history of the National Football League, there has always been a tremendous amount of pressure and high level of expectations placed on first-round draft picks. Whether it's fair or unwarranted, these picks are expected to produce early on in their career and are placed under a microscope by the teams, their fans and certainly by football analysts and draft experts.
Sometimes, the first-round picks are made due to the potential upside that a player might offer, so the end results won't be realized immediately. More patience is required by all parties in cases like that, but an athlete that isn't mentally strong is subject to a "crash and burn" conclusion to his career.
For some first-round picks, a change of scenery might be a big help. You only have to look at the way linebacker Aaron Maybin is performing this year with the New York Jets to realize he's not the same player the Buffalo Bills decided to release after just two years with the team.
We also want to distinguish that even more pressure is placed on the rookies that are selected in the top half of the first round of any draft, so we will tread lighter on the first-round players drafted in the 17-32 range. Today, we're going to look at the 32 worst first-round draft picks in NFL history.
Jay Berwanger, RB: Philadelphia Eagles, No. 1 Overall, 1936
OK, this is admittedly a rather obscure choice, but I wonder how many football fans know the significance of Jay Berwanger and what he means to the history of the league and the NFL draft.
The draft began in 1936. The very first player ever drafted in the history of the NFL was Berwanger. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. Berwanger had just won the Heisman Trophy as a running back and was considered a "sure thing" to become a star in the NFL.
The Eagles were surprised to learn that Berwanger demanded a salary of $1,000.00 per game (we are talking 1936, after all), so the Eagles traded him to the Chicago Bears. Now the property of the Bears, Berwanger and owner George Halas couldn't work out a salary figure that satisfied both parties, so Berwanger never played in a single NFL game despite being the very first player drafted by the league.
No matter how you slice this one, the Eagles would have to consider Berwanger a bust.
Tom Cousineau, LB: Buffalo Bills, No. 1 Overall, 1979
Tom Cousineau was an All-American linebacker at Ohio State and then was selected as the first overall draft pick in the 1979 draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Cousineau, however, turned his back on the Bills and signed instead with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, who offered him twice the money Buffalo did.
After playing three years in the CFL, Cousineau came back to the NFL. The Houston Oilers tried to sign him to a deal, but the Bills still owned his draft rights and matched the Oilers' offer. Cousineau was then traded by Buffalo to the Cleveland Browns.
The deal worked out OK for the Bills after all, because the draft pick they got from the Browns eventually turned into the selection of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
As for Cousineau, he played four years with the Browns and two years with the San Francisco 49ers.
For never having played a down for the NFL team that made him the first overall draft pick, Cousineau makes No. 31 on our list.
Blaine Gabbert, QB: Jacksonville Jaguars, No. 10 Overall, 2011
How can we possibly call Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert a bust after just a handful of games?
You won't have proof of that until the 2012 NFL draft rolls around, but if you see the Jaguars select a quarterback in either the first or second round, you'll know that this selection was indeed justified.
Via a report by ESPN Florida, word out of Jacksonville is that after 10 starts, Gabbert actually looks worse now than he did prior to starting in an NFL game.
Gabbert frequently throws off his back foot and has become timid in the pocket. He overreacts to pressure around him, and that has led to his poor performance.
Gabbert has only completed half (60 of 120) of his short passes that are 10 yards or less. Coming into Week 15, Gabbert's current QB passer rating is 65.3, which means he's ranked No. 32 out of 32 QBs.
The latest entry on Gabbert in Rotoworld suggests that the Jaguars are prepared to invest their top-five draft choice in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft on USC quarterback Matt Barkley. It should also be noted that the Jaguars made the curious move on November 25th of signing QB Dan LeFevour from the Colts' practice squad.
If you need more testimony, here's Greg Cosell of NFL Films: "I will say unequivocally that (Gabbert) will not make it in this league as a starting NFL quarterback."
That sure sounds like Gabbert has a future label of NFL draft bust written all over him.
Huey Richardson, LB/DE: Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 15 Overall, 1991
When was the last time that you recall the Pittsburgh Steelers making a bad decision in the first round of the NFL draft?
Well, let's revisit the draft choice of Huey Richardson in the 1991 draft.
In 1991, the Steelers were picking No. 15 overall. They had to be feeling pretty good about their chances because they targeted three players for the 15th pick: WR Alvin Harper, WR Mike Pritchard and RB Leonard Russell. After the first 11 draft choices were announced, all three players were still available.
Imagine the Steelers' shocked reaction when Harper, Pritchard and Russell wound up being the next three players to go off the draft board in succession. The Steelers had to scramble quickly to come up with a name, and the guy they took was Huey Richardson. Richardson was the final first-round draft pick of the Chuck Noll era.
When Bill Cowher replaced Noll the following year, it was clear to Cowher that Richardson would not be a fit for the 3-4 defense, so Richardson was traded to Washington for a seventh-round draft pick after just one year with the team. In his one season, Richardson played in five games and made two tackles on defense and one tackle on special teams.
Aaron Maybin, LB: Buffalo Bills, No. 11 Overall, 2009
As we cited in the cover slide, Aaron Maybin benefited from a change of scenery. But when it comes to first-round draft busts, Maybin proved to be a terrible fit for the Buffalo Bills.
Maybin was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2009 draft for the Bills. He started out on a rocky road by holding out and missing the majority of his first training camp. Things continued to go downhill from there.
Maybin had trouble learning how to make an impact under head coach Dick Jauron. In 2010, Chan Gailey took over but found that Maybin had trouble mastering moves that would allow him to put pressure on the quarterback.
At the Bills' 2011 training camp, Maybin reported weighing 228 pounds, which meant that he had lost weight during the offseason. The Bills wanted him to bulk up; instead, Maybin did the opposite. Bills general manager Buddy Nix had signed Shawne Merriman in the offseason to a two-year contract, and Maybin wasn't drafted by Nix.
Nix felt that Maybin wasn't going to make an impact, so they released him from the team. Another first-round draft pick that went to waste.
In 27 games with the Bills, Maybin recorded 24 tackles and had one forced fumble. He had no sacks, and the rest of his stat line was empty. In 10 games with the New York Jets in 2011, Maybin leads the Jets with six sacks and has also forced four fumbles.
Russell Erxleben, K/P: New Orleans Saints, No. 11 Overall, 1979
In 1979, Russell Erxleben was a kicking phenom for the Texas Longhorns. He had multiple field goals from at least 60 yards out, and as close as many NFL games are, it might make sense to add a weapon like that to your team. In fact, Erxleben made a 67-yard field goal against Rice, which is tied for the longest kick in NCAA history.
Erxleben was also a punter, so the Saints reasoned that he could do both kicking jobs and would save them a roster spot. Thus, they made him their first-round draft pick with the No. 11 overall selection.
The only problem with the Saints' logic was that Erxleben didn't kick field goals very well, as in his rookie season he only went 4-of-8 on field goals before they took the job away from him. He went 1-of-2 from 20-29 yards and 3-of-6 from 30-39 yards. His big leg never became a factor, as the Saints never allowed him to try a field goal longer than 39 yards.
The Saints then had Erxleben focus on punting, which he did for the next four years. The only problem with that was Erxleben wasn't really a great punter either, as he only averaged 40.6 yards per punt over his career. The Saints then released Erxleben and wondered why they drafted him in the first round to begin with.
Ron Dayne, RB: New York Giants, No. 11 Overall, 2000
Ron Dayne was a workhorse running back from Wisconsin. The problem was he probably did his best work at Wisconsin and didn't have much left in the tank by the time he got to the NFL.
Dayne was the first-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2000, going No. 11 overall in the draft. Dayne lasted four years with the Giants and then spent one year in Denver and two years with the Houston Texans before calling it a career.
In Dayne's career with the Giants, he never had a season where he averaged more than 3.8 yards per carry, which is pretty anemic. His highlight year with the Giants was his rookie year, when he rushed for 720 yards. Things went downhill from there, as the totals kept dropping to 690, 428 and then finally 179 in his final season with the Giants.
Dayne did manage to score 16 rushing touchdowns with the Giants, but outside of being a great back down around the goal line, he didn't do much else for the Giants.
Steve Emtman, DE: Indianapolis Colts, No. 1 Overall, 1992
Steve Emtman was a terror on the football field for the Washington Huskies and finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy, unusually high for a defensive end.
With that much acclaim, the Colts figured they had a winner on their hands when they drafted Emtman with the first overall draft pick in the 1992 draft.
Emtman never made it through any season in Indianapolis without landing on the IR list. His career with the Colts only lasted three years, so Emtman played two years with the Miami Dolphins and one year with the Washington Redskins before calling it a career at just 27 years old.
During his NFL career, Emtman registered 134 tackles, eight sacks and one interception. For the first overall draft pick, Emtman came up way short of expectations.
Mike Williams, T: Buffalo Bills, No. 4 Overall, 2002
Mike Williams was a monster coming out of college, standing 6'7" and weighing anywhere from the mid 300-pound range to 410 pounds, depending on what month of the year you weighed him.
Williams was considered a top-tier lineman prospect, but he proved not capable of handling left tackle. Williams was also tried at right tackle and right guard. He was even tried on goal-line defense.
The only good news that came out of Williams failing at left tackle was that it led the Bills to sign undrafted rookie Jason Peters, who wound up becoming an All-Pro at left tackle. The Bills ultimately traded Peters away for a first-round draft pick.
The Bills saw that Williams wasn't handling any position well, so they released him in 2006.
Andre Ware, QB: Detroit Lions, No. 7 Overall, 1990
Andre Ware was a first-round draft pick and the No. 7 overall draft pick of the 1990 NFL draft class. Ware entered the draft with much fanfare, having won the Heisman Trophy while at the University of Houston.
Ware faced an uphill battle, as the Lions already had Rodney Peete and Erik Kramer at quarterback, so the rookie had to beat out the two veterans. At least the Lions had a solid running game with Barry Sanders.
Ware wound up starting six games for the Lions over his four-year span with the team. Getting so few chances for playing time, it was difficult for Ware to develop his game in Detroit. In his years with the Lions, Ware managed to throw just five touchdown passes compared to eight interceptions.
Ware is just one example of a Heisman Trophy winner that failed to have an impact with the NFL.
Peter Warrick, WR: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 4 Overall, 2000
Wide receiver Peter Warrick was drafted No. 4 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2000. At Florida State, Warrick appeared to be a game-breaker type of athlete, as nobody could stay with him. Warrick scored on 32 touchdown catches in college but lost out on the Heisman Trophy when he was caught stealing clothes at Dillard's.
In the NFL, Warrick was never anything special. Warrick never had a 1,000-yard reception season with the Bengals, and his career high was 819 receiving yards in 2003.
Warrick played five years with the Bengals and one final year with the Seattle Seahawks. Considering how great he was at Florida State, compared to how little he did in the NFL, Warrick has to be considered a bust.
Mike Williams, WR: Detroit Lions, No. 10 Overall, 2005
If you're wondering why we picked lineman Mike Williams and not Mike Williams the wide receiver, wonder no more.
This Mike Williams was the No. 10 overall draft selection in the 2005 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions, back when general manager Matt Millen felt they needed to invest a first-round draft pick on a wide receiver every year until they got it right or he got fired, whichever came first.
Williams demonstrated great hands at USC, and I recall watching many of his college games on TV, as I was living in Southern California. But when he got to the NFL, Williams put on weight, and as he continued to grow, the foot speed slowed down as well.
Being slow and overweight is a hard way for any wide receiver to make a living in the NFL. Drafting Williams did not help out Millen's draft track record because the Lions needed help on defense.
To think that Millen passed up players like DeMarcus Ware or Shawne Merriman for Williams is enough for Lions fans to want to roar.
David Klingler, QB: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 6 Overall, 1992
The Cincinnati Bengals thought they had drafted the next "gunslinger" when they tapped David Klingler to be their quarterback with the No. 6 overall draft pick in 1992.
How would the gunslinger Klingler's game translate to the NFL? That was the million-dollar question.
While at the University of Houston, Klingler turned in performances where he threw 11 touchdown passes in a single game. Or how about the contest where he passed for 716 yards? Those were the kinds of results Klingler was experiencing in college, so the Bengals thought they had to take him.
Klingler did manage to start for the Bengals in 1993 and in 1994, but the results did not resemble what he did in college.
Klingler's NFL career stats prove that he wasn't anything special, as he managed just 16 touchdown passes to 22 career interceptions. He threw for 3,994 yards during his career, and his QB passer rating was a less-than-impressive 65.1.
Todd Blackledge, QB: Kansas City Chiefs, No. 7 Overall, 1983
Todd Blackledge proved to be a much better football analyst than he was an NFL quarterback. Blackledge was drafted No. 7 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1983 draft.
Many football fans will recall the 1983 NFL draft class fondly due to the number of high-quality NFL quarterbacks that emerged from that draft class. The list included John Elway, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Ken O'Brien and Tony Eason.
Unfortunately, it's hard to place Blackledge in that same group, as his NFL career had little resemblance to those of the rest of his class.
Blackledge toiled five years in Kansas City before finishing up his career with a two-year stay with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his career, Blackledge had a QB passer rating of 60.2.
Blackledge appeared in a total of 46 games in the NFL and wound up with 27 touchdown passes to 38 interceptions, which helps to explain the low QB passer rating.
Andre Wadsworth, DE: Arizona Cardinals, No. 3 Overall, 1998
The Arizona Cardinals invested the No. 3 overall draft pick in the 1998 draft in defensive end Andre Wadsworth.
Wadsworth was seen as a can't-miss pro when he was lighting up the college scene at Florida State. The Cardinals took Wadsworth but then watched and waited for him to end his holdout before joining the team. Wadsworth managed five sacks as a rookie, but then he got hurt.
Wadsworth was quick and had the right size at 6'4" and weighed 273 pounds. Unfortunately for Wadsworth, his career was hampered by knee injuries, and he was never the same player after that.
The Cardinals are probably still kicking themselves for not taking an offer that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made for Wadsworth. Jones offered them two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder as well. The Cardinals probably wish in hindsight that they took the deal.
Courtney Brown, DE: Cleveland Browns, No. 1 Overall, 2000
The very first overall draft pick of the century has to be a special player, right? Maybe not that special. The Cleveland Browns had the honors, so they decided to start off the 2000 draft with the selection of defensive end Courtney Brown.
Brown began his career in fine fashion with 4.5 sacks as a rookie and even coming up with 70 tackles, which is great for a defensive lineman. But he hurt his right knee in 2001, and things started going downhill from there.
That knee injury was followed up by injuries on the other knee. During four years with the Browns, he had to miss 33 games due to the injuries.
For his NFL career, Brown played in 60 games and recorded 19 sacks, along with 156 tackles.
David Carr, QB: Houston Texans, No. 1 Overall, 2002
In 2002, the Houston Texans joined the NFL, and they were awarded the first draft pick that year to jump-start their franchise. With the honor, the Texans thought they might as well try to land a franchise quarterback to build around, so they selected David Carr from Fresno State.
Texans fans will recall that Carr was sacked about as often as customers use bags at Walmart. Carr managed to endure five years with the Texans, during which time he threw 59 touchdown passes to go along with 65 interceptions and 40 fumbles.
Since leaving the Texans, Carr has bounced around from the Carolina Panthers to the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.
For his NFL career totals, Carr has managed 65 touchdowns to 71 interceptions and the 40 fumbles. His career QB passer rating is 74.9.
Cedric Benson, RB: Chicago Bears, No. 4 Overall, 2005
The Chicago Bears drafted running back Cedric Benson with the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2005. It didn't help Benson that he decided to sit out training camp as a rookie, so that was strike one. Then he had to play as the backup to Thomas Jones.
During his career with the Bears, Benson rushed 420 times for 1,593 yards, which is an average of 3.7 yards per rush. He scored 10 rushing touchdowns while with the Bears. During the three years, Benson caught 26 passes but never scored a touchdown as a receiver.
Benson had some personal problems, and the off-field issues did not endear him to the Bears. He was arrested twice in 2008 due to alcohol-related situations, so the Bears decided it was best to just release him.
Trev Alberts, LB: Indianapolis Colts, No. 5 Overall, 1994
Trev Alberts was a standout linebacker at Nebraska and was thought of highly enough that the Indianapolis Colts drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1994 draft.
Alberts had difficulty staying healthy with the Colts, and after three short seasons in the NFL, he retired prior to the start of the 1997 season.
During his brief career, Alberts managed just four sacks and one interception to go along with 49 tackles in seven NFL starts. Basically, that's a stat line of an NFL bust, especially one drafted fifth overall.
Kelly Stouffer, QB: St. Louis Cardinals, No. 6 Overall, 1987
Kelly Stouffer was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals before they moved to Arizona. The year was 1987, and Stouffer was the No. 6 overall draft pick that year. But Stouffer and the Cardinals never were able to agree on a fair contract, so he sat out his entire rookie season in a contract holdout.
The Cardinals then traded Stouffer to the Seattle Seahawks in 1988, which is where he played from 1988 to 1992. While in Seattle, Stouffer had 16 career starts, during which time he went 5-11 as a starter.
He completed only 51 percent of his passes and threw seven touchdowns to 19 interceptions. He finished with a brutal QB passer rating of 54.5 and had a career average of 3.7 yards per attempt.
Stouffer set back the Cardinals with the contract dispute as well as set back the Seahawks with his terrible quarterback play, which is sort of a double whammy but clearly qualifies him for our list.
Akili Smith, QB: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 3 Overall, 1999
I remember buying into the hype of Akili Smith, the Cincinnati Bengals' first-round draft pick in the 1999 draft. Smith was selected with the No. 3 overall draft pick that year. Why I remember is that I added Smith to my fantasy football team due to an injury, but he cost me a loss in the playoffs. I digress.
Smith was a much better college quarterback (Oregon) than he was a NFL quarterback. During his career with the Bengals, which lasted from 1999-2002, Smith started 17 games. The Bengals' record in those starts was 3-14.
Smith had trouble with accuracy, as his career QB passer rating was just 52.8, which is pretty bad. He threw five touchdown passes to 13 interceptions. Smith couldn't even complete half of his passes, as his career completion percentage was a lowly 46.6 percent. In 22 career appearances, he was sacked 59 times.
Curtis Enis, RB: Chicago Bears, No. 5 Overall, 1998
The Chicago Bears selected running back Curtis Enis with the No. 5 overall draft pick in the 1998 draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were also high on Enis and offered the Bears two first-round draft picks to get Enis. But the Bears said no, and the rest is history. As for the Jaguars, they settled for Fred Taylor, so it's safe to say they got the better end of the deal.
Enis played three tumultuous years in the NFL. During that time, Enis had 18 starts, scored six touchdowns, had five fumbles and averaged 3.3 yards per carry, of which he had 456.
Enis had problems with alcohol and finances, as he accrued $500,000 in debt before his rookie season ever began.
Enis lacked the speed to be effective, and in three years he was done.
Tony Mandarich, T: Green Bay Packers, No. 2 Overall, 1989
Tony Mandarich was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 2 overall draft pick in the 1989 draft. Mandarich was so dominating in college at Michigan State that the Packers were convinced he would be a star in the NFL.
After his career was over, Mandarich admitted to being a steroids user. He dealt with substance problems such as drugs and alcohol and was addicted to painkillers. Mandarich was a huge prospect at 6'6" and weighed 315 pounds, which was big for 1989.
Mandarich only lasted for 63 starts for the Packers. The biggest regret is who the Packers passed over in the 1989 draft to take Mandarich. They had their pick of players like Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders but opted for Mandarich instead.
Rick Mirer, QB: Seattle Seahawks, No. 2 Overall, 1993
When the New England Patriots drafted quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick in the 1993 draft, the Seattle Seahawks thought they drafted the next best available quarterback, Rick Mirer, who starred at Notre Dame. Mirer was drafted next with the No. 2 overall draft pick.
Mirer's career numbers paled in comparison to what Bledsoe did. Mirer played in Seattle from 1993 to 1996. In those four years, Mirer started 51 games, and his record was 20-31.
In his rookie year, Mirer was sacked 47 times. Over the four years in Seattle, that number jumped to 138 times. His QB passer rating with the Seahawks was 65.2. In his career, Mirer threw 41 touchdown passes to 56 interceptions. He was only able to complete 53.4 percent of his passes during his career.
Heath Shuler, QB: Washington Redskins, No. 3 Overall, 1994
In 1994, the Washington Redskins thought they had identified their next great quarterback when they invested the No. 3 overall draft pick in the 1994 draft in selecting Heath Shuler.
Shuler started eight games for the Redskins in 1994 and wasn't terrible, as he came up with 10 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions, showing a degree of promise.
Sadly for Shuler and the Redskins, Shuler never took the next step up and instead regressed. Shuler only received five more starts over the next two years in Washington, and then his career as a Redskins player was done. His starting record was 4-9.
In Washington, Shuler threw 13 touchdowns to 19 interceptions. He had a QB passer rating of 58.3 and completed only 47.7 percent of his passes.
Shuler had one final year in New Orleans in 1997 and then retired from the game.
Ki-Jana Carter, RB: Cincinnati Bengals, No. 1 Overall, 1995
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted running back Ki-Jana Carter with the No. 1 overall draft pick of the 1995 draft. The Bengals wanted Carter so badly that they traded up to draft him and gave him a big signing bonus at the time of $7.1 million. Too bad he couldn't live up to the Bengals' expectations.
Carter's NFL career got off to an ominous start when he tore his ACL in the very first preseason game he played in. Carter was forced to sit out the entire rookie year and then started four games in 1996 and then another 10 games in 1997. He would never start another game after that despite staying in the league for a 10-year span (1995-2004).
Carter wound up with 227 rushing attempts for the Bengals in the five years with the team and averaged 3.3 yards per rush. He managed to score 16 rushing touchdowns for the Bengals and one touchdown as a receiver.
Carter also played for the Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints.
Tim Couch, QB: Cleveland Browns, No. 1 Overall, 1999
In 1999 the Cleveland Browns were back in the NFL, so they decided to invest the very first pick of the new franchise on a quarterback. The pick came down to either Tim Couch or Donovan McNabb. The Browns chose Couch, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In retrospect, the 1999 draft was loaded, as eight of the first 11 players drafted wound up being elected to Pro Bowl teams. Couch was not one of those eight players. But the Browns had their pick of guys like Edgerrin James, Jevon Kearse, Champ Bailey and Torry Holt, just to name a few.
During his career, Couch went 22-37 in his 59 career starts and threw 64 touchdowns to 67 interceptions, which is not a terrible ratio, but not great either. He suffered from a lack of mobility, as he was sacked 166 times in his five years. He was sacked 56 times as a rookie and then 51 more sacks in 2001.
Couch completed 59.8 percent of his passes and had a QB passer rating of 75.1.
Art Schlichter, QB: Baltimore Colts, No. 4 Overall, 1982
Art Schlichter was the fourth overall draft pick in the 1982 NFL draft. The Baltimore Colts took Schlichter to be their future quarterback.
Schlichter was a bust because he couldn't keep his need to gamble separated from his life as a NFL quarterback. The Colts wanted him to chart plays while watching on the sideline, but Schlichter would be following the games he bet on instead.
The NFL stepped in and suspended him for the 1983 season, so the Colts figured they had to try their luck with another quarterback. They drafted John Elway, who refused to play for them. At least in Indianapolis, the Colts had more luck with their quarterbacks.
As for his career, there isn't much to report on. Schlichter played in 13 games, and his career ratio was a very unimpressive three touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He was in the league for three years and behind bars for a much longer period of time.
Lawrence Phillips, RB: St. Louis Rams, No. 6 Overall, 1996
In 1996, the St. Louis Rams drafted Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips with the No. 6 overall draft choice.
Phillips had a way of getting in trouble in college, but the Rams looked past those issues and only saw the talented running back. They released him in 1997, citing insubordination.
Phillips played for three teams in his career, including stops with the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers. As for the Rams, Phillips averaged 3.4 yards per rush and scored 12 touchdowns. Phillips started a total of 20 games and also had seven fumbles in his career.
The Rams could have drafted Eddie George instead, but the Houston Oilers were able to grab him with the 13th selection in 1996.
After his career ended, Phillips was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2008 for assault with a deadly weapon.
Charles Rogers, WR: Detroit Lions, No. 2 Overall, 2003
Charles Rogers was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the second overall draft pick in the 2003 draft. The Lions drafted Rogers as a go-to weapon for quarterback Joey Harrington, who the Lions just drafted the year before.
Rogers started out great with two touchdowns in his first game, but the good news quickly turned to bad news when he broke his collarbone. The same thing happened to begin the 2004 season, and Rogers was now labeled as injury-prone.
Before Rogers started his fourth year in Detroit, the Lions parted ways by giving him his release. When the dust settled, Rogers had only amassed 36 catches in three years, which amounted to 440 yards and just four touchdowns in 15 games.
If all of that wasn't bad enough, there was also a four-game suspension in between for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Rogers had three substance abuse violations in his career due to his need to smoke weed.
Ryan Leaf, QB: San Diego Chargers, No. 2 Overall, 1998
The Indianapolis Colts did the smart thing and drafted Peyton Manning with the first overall draft pick in the 1998 draft. Next up with the second overall pick was the San Diego Chargers, who also needed a quarterback. The Chargers drafted Ryan Leaf, and it set their franchise back many years.
Leaf played three years for the Chargers and in 14 starts went 4-10. His touchdown to interception ratio was an amazing 13 touchdowns to 33 interceptions, which can be translated as amazingly bad.
He would blow up on the media after games and conducted himself like a ticking time bomb. He even cussed out his general manager Bobby Beathard, who did the right thing and suspended the out-of-control Leaf for four games.
In one of the worst stat lines in NFL history, Leaf turned in the following gem in his rookie year. He completed one pass out of 15 attempts for four yards and had three fumbles.
It's safe to say that Leaf personally set the San Diego franchise back many years due to his terrible play and waste of talent.
JaMarcus Russell, QB: Oakland Raiders, No. 1 Overall, 2007
Our final first-round draft bust is JaMarcus Russell, quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. Russell was the first player selected overall in the 2007 NFL draft.
Russell lasted just three years with the Raiders before they gave him the heave-ho. During that time, Russell raked in roughly $39 million worth of reasons for the Raiders and their fans to regret the pick.
Russell started out by holding out of his first camp with the Raiders and finally reported out of shape. Once his career started, he turned in a record of 7-18 as a starter.
As a quarterback, Russell excelled at turning over the ball, throwing 23 interceptions along with losing 15 fumbles. He was only able to complete 52.1 percent of his passes, and his QB passer rating was 65.2.
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