2011 NFL Draft: 32 Worst 1st-Round Draft Picks of All Time

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IJanuary 5, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 32 Worst 1st-Round Draft Picks of All Time

0 of 32

    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 3: Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens tackles JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders 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

    The 2011 NFL Draft has the usual level of hype already starting to build around it, but with that hype comes the cautionary tales of draft busts.

    The ghosts of drafts past still haunt some teams as they try and overcome bad drafts. Drafting poorly in the first few rounds can set a team back years.

    This is a list of 32 guys taken in the first round who, for various reasons, didn't work out. Some of these stories are funny, some are sad, and some are just plain ugly.

    This list goes as far back as the merger in 1970.

32. Larry Stegent, RB, St. Louis Cardinals

1 of 32

    Drafted: Eighth Pick in the 1970 Draft

    What Happened: He injured his knee in a preseason game, and that ended up being a career-ending injury. While he played seven games that year, he took no hand-offs, and had one career reception for 12 yards.

31. Stan Thomas, OT Chicago Bears

2 of 32

    BOURBONNAIS, IL - AUGUST 4: A Chicago Bears helmet rests on the field during a training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University August 4, 2009 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Drafted: 22nd Pick in 1991

    What Happened: Thomas just never lived up to his potential, playing only two years with the Bears before being shipped off to Houston. He played another two years before he was let go and never returned.

    In his four years, he didn't record one meaningful stat.

30. Jon Harris, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

3 of 32

    27 Sep 1998:  Defensive end Jon Harris #90 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Vetereans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw  /Allspo
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Drafted: 25th Pick in 1997

    What Happened: Harris is another example of a player who just couldn't make the transition to the pros. In two years with the Eagles, he recorded two sacks

    He had stints with the Browns and the Packers in 1999, but never added to his resume.

29. Jamal Reynolds, DE, Green Bay Packers

4 of 32

    CANTON, OH - AUGUST 4:  Quarterback Todd Collins #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs fumbles as he is hit by defensive end Jamal Reynolds #99 of the Green Bay Packers during the Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium on August 4, 2003 in Canton, Ohio.  The Chiefs
    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Drafted: 10th Pick in 2001

    What Happened: Reynolds fell victim to the injury bug, but he never recovered and he only played in a total of 13 games in three seasons, recording only three sacks.

    The Browns picked him up in the 2004 offseason, but he was cut before the season began and never played again.

28. Gerrard Warren, DT/DE, Cleveland Browns

5 of 32

    GREEN BAY, WI- AUGUST 26:  Gerrard Warren #94 of the  Cleveland Browns moves on the field during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on August 26,2002 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packer won 27-20. ( Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Ima
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Drafted: Third Pick in the 2001 Draft

    What Happened: Gerard Warren is one of the main reasons the Browns are continually rebuilding. While he still is in the league and currently on the Patriots roster, he never showed the talent to be a third overall pick, and his numbers never reflected the price of the pick, either.

    Warren also has had stints with the Broncos and the Raiders, where he has had a decent career as a backup, but he never impacted the game the way the Browns hoped. In 10 years in the league, Warren only has 35.5 sacks.

27. Clyde Duncan, WR St. Louis Cardinals

6 of 32

    TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  The Arizona Cardinals helmet is seen on the field before Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Drafted: 17th Pick in 1984

    What Happened: In Clyde Duncan's two years, he recorded a total of four catches for 39 yards and one touchdown. His potential never showed up on an NFL playing field, and the Cardinals moved on.

26. Trezelle Jenkins, OT, Kansas City Chiefs

7 of 32

    KANSAS CITY - DECEMBER 2:  A view of a Kansas City Cheifs helmet that displays Sean Taylors #21 on it during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on December 2, 2007 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Draft: 31st Pick in 1995

    What Happened: Jenkins' unremarkable career included nine games in three years, including one whole start.

25. Don Rogers, S, Cleveland Browns

8 of 32

    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 24:  A helmet of the Cleveland Browns sits on the turf during pregame before playing the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Drafted: 18th Pick in 1984

    What Happened: Don Rogers was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1984, and played another season with the Browns as they went to the playoffs in 1985.

    Then he died of a cocaine overdose the day before his wedding on June 27,1986, eight days after Len Bias died for the same reason.

24. Russell Erxleben, K/P, New Orleans Saints

9 of 32

    Drafted: 11th Pick in 1979

    What Happened: Not only did the New Orleans Saints draft a kicker in the first round, it turned out he wasn't a very good one.

    If you're going to draft a kicker or a punter in the first round, he better be Hall of Fame material from the word go. Erxleben wasn't even remotely close.

23. Kevin Allen, OT, Eagles

10 of 32

    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 05:  A sticker is shown on the helmet of Artis Hicks #77 of the Philadelphia Eagles in support of former teammate Reggie White #92 during the game against the Seattle Seahawks on December 5, 2005 at Lincoln Financial Field in Phila
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Drafted: Ninth Pick in 1985

    What Happened: Allen played one forgettable season in the NFL his rookie year. Then he tested positive for cocaine when he reported to Eagles training camp in 1986. He then spent nearly three years in prison for sexual assault and was eventually banned from the NFL.

    Buddy Ryan gave the most famous quote about Allen, saying he was "a good player to have around if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass."

22. Andre Johnson, OT, Washington Redskins

11 of 32

    TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 25: The helmet of a Washington Redskins player rests on the field during warm ups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium on November 25, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  The Bucs won 19-13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Ge
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Draft: 30th Pick in 1996

    What Happened: Former Redskins general manager Charlie Casserly admits to completely screwing this pick up. Casserly moved up to take Johnson, only for the team to realize by the end of training camp that Johnson not only wasn't first-round talent, he was marginal at best in the NFL.

    He never played one game for the Redskins, eventually playing in only three games for the Detroit Lions.

21. Dimitrius Underwood, DE, Vikings

12 of 32

    29 Aug 1998:  Defensive end Dimitrius Underwood #99 of the Michigan State Spartans looks on during the Black Coaches Association Football Classic game against the Colorado State Rams at the Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. The Rams defeated the
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Draft: 29th Pick in 1999

    What Happened: Dimitrius Underwood signed a contract with the Minnesota Vikings just prior to training camp and then quit the first day. He was reported to be mentally unstable by his college coaches at Michigan State, and he sat out his senior year.

    Underwood had short stints with the Dolphins and the Cowboys, but he never mentally stabilized enough to stay on either team for very long.

    He tried to commit suicide twice. Underwood was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

20. Courtney Brown, DE, Cleveland Browns

13 of 32

    18 Nov 2001 : Courtney Brown of the Cleveland Browns during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The Browns won 27-17. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/Allsport
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Draft: First Pick of the 2000 Draft

    What Happened: Courtney Brown had a decent rookie season, but then spent the rest of his career battling injuries. For a first overall pick, Brown never lived up to expectations, and has become just another footnote in the now long and distinguished list of failed first-round picks from the Cleveland Browns.

    Brown only played in 26 games and recorded just eight sacks between 2002 and 2004, finishing his completely unremarkable career in Denver after tearing his ACL during the 2006 preseason.

19. Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals

14 of 32

    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Quarterback Matt Leinart #7 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the preseason NFL game against the Washington Redskins at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeate
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Draft: 10th Pick in 2006

    What Happened: We're still trying to figure this out. Leinart apparently liked the idea of being a starting quarterback in the NFL more than he actually liked to work at actually being a starting quarterback in the NFL.

    Leinart kept losing his starting job to Kurt Warner, despite numerous opportunities for him to take the job and be successful. At the beginning of the 2010 season, with Warner retired, Leinart relaxed even more, sleepwalking his way through the preseason before losing the job to Derek Anderson and being cut.

    The Houston Texans picked him up a few days later, but he never took one snap for the team. His future remains uncertain.

18. Kyle Boller, QB, Baltimore Ravens

15 of 32

    FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 7:  Kyle Boller #7 of the Baltimore Ravens completes a passing drill before a preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 7, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Draft: 19th Pick in 2003

    What Happened: Boller just couldn't stop turning the ball over. Inconsistent play kept resulting in Boller getting benched in favor of Steve McNair. Once Joe Flacco entered the scene, Boller's days were numbered.

    He now is a backup in Oakland, but his future there is uncertain.

17. Rashaun Woods, WR, San Francisco 49ers

16 of 32

    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Wide reciever Rashaun Woods #81 of the San Francisco 49ers runs on the field during the game with the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on September 26, 2004 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won 34-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Ge
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Draft: 31st Pick in 2004

    What Happened: Woods just wasn't good enough. His rookie season, he had seven catches for 160 yards and one touchdown. He spent the 2005 season on injured reserve before being traded to the San Diego Chargers. He eventually was traded to the Broncos before the season even started.

    One failed physical later, Woods' NFL career was over.

16. Reggie Rogers, DE, Lions

17 of 32

    DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 9:  A Detroit Lions helmet is on the field during the game between the  Cincinnati Bengals against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 9, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bengals 27-26.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Ge
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Draft: Seventh Pick of 1987

    What Happened: Reggie Rogers was a complete wreck of a person who had to go into counseling just to give him a chance of getting on the field his rookie season. Five games into the 1988 season, he drunkenly slammed his car into another, killing three teenagers.

    The Lions waived him the following summer, and Rogers ended up serving 16 months in prison for vehicular homicide.

    Rogers attempted a comeback with the Bills and Buccanneers, but his career never took off

15. Steve Emtman

18 of 32

    1 Nov 1992:  Defensive lineman Steve Emtman of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during a game against the San Diego Chargers at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Chargers won the game, 26-0. Mandatory Credit: Gary Newkirk  /Allsport
    Gary Newkirk/Getty Images

    Draft: First Pick of the 1992 Draft

    What Happened: AstroTurf and bad luck happened to Emtman. Each of his first three seasons ended with Emtman on the injured reserve list. First he tore his left ACL, then he ruptured his pateller tendon, and in his first game of the 1994 season, he ruptured a disc in his kneck.

    He played a few more weeks until the pain forced him to go back on the IR.

    Brief stints with the Redskins and Dolphins followed his time with the Colts, but the injuries forced Emtman to retire at age 27.

14. Bernard Williams, OT, Eagles

19 of 32

    2 Oct 1994:  Offensive lineman Bernard Williams of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The Eagles won the game, 40-8. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allspor
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Draft: 15th Pick in 1994

    What Happened: Bernard Williams liked to smoke the ganja. After his rookie season, Williams was suspended by the NFL for failing a drug test.

    Fifteen failed drug tests later (yes, you read that right, 15), Williams was banned from the NFL.

13. Mike Junkin, LB, Cleveland Browns

20 of 32

    Draft: Fifth Pick in 1984

    What Happened: Mike Junkin was supposed to be "A Mad Dog in a Meat Market!"

    He was anything but. Junkin put up big numbers in college, but they were against smaller schools, and once playing against the big boys, Junkin's career quickly fizzled. He only played in 20 games in three seasons, starting only seven of those games.

12. Lawrence Phillips, RB, St. Louis Rams

21 of 32

    28 Sep 1997:  Running back Lawrence Phillips #21 of the St. Louis Rams carries the football during the Rams 35-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders at UMAX Stadium in Oakland, California. Mandatory Credit: Todd Warshaw  /Allsport
    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Draft: Sixth Pick in 1996

    What Happened: Phillips couldn't control his temper. Phillips was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend in college. Despite this, the Rams traded Jerome Bettis to the Pittsburgh Steelers before drafting Phillips.

    The Rams cut him after he got into a dispute with head coach Dick Vermeil. He continued to have trouble related to his temper off the field and the Rams cut him in 1997. He played for a few more teams, but had trouble wherever he went.

    He became famous for missing a block in 1999 while playing for the San Francisco 49ers, allowing Aeneas Williams to hit Steve Young, knocking him out, and giving him the concussion that effectively ended Young's career

    In December of 2009, Phillips was sentenced to more than 31 years in prison for attacking his girlfriend and driving his car into three teens.

11. Steve Pisarkiewicz, QB, St. Louis Cardinals

22 of 32

    Draft: 19th Pick in 1977

    What Happened: Steve Pisarkiewicz just wasn't any good. The Cardinals drafted him to be the quarterback to succeed Jim Hart, but Pisarkiewicz was barely good enough to be the backup. In three seasons, his last with Green Bay, Pisarkiewicz played in only 10 games.

10. Todd Marinovich, QB, Los Angeles Raiders

23 of 32

    4 Oct 1992:  Quarterback Todd Marinovich of the Los Angeles Raiders looks to pass the ball during a game against the New York Giants at the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium in os Angeles, California.  The Cowboys won the game, 13-10Mandatory Credit: Ken Levin
    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    Draft: 24th Pick in 1991

    What Happened: Marinovich loved to party, and he didn't like other people telling him what to do. After being raised by an overbearing father, famously profiled in Sports Illustrated, who groomed him from birth to be the perfect athlete, Marinovich turned to drugs to relieve the anxiety.

    After too many failed drug tests, and not being able to claim and keep the starting job, Marinovich failed his third drug test during the 1993 preseason and his NFL career was over.

9. Charles Rogers, WR, Detroit Lions

24 of 32

    Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers watches play during  a Thanksgiving Day game, November 24, 2005, at Ford Field, Detroit.  The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Lions 27 - 7. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Draft: Second Pick in the 2003 Draft

    What Happened: Drugs, injuries and poor work ethic. Rogers reportedly failed several drug tests while at Michigan State, and violated the NFL's substance abuse policy three times, drawing a four-game suspension in 2005.

    Rogers was released just prior to the 2006 season and his career was over.

8. Tony Mandarich, OT, Green Bay Packers

25 of 32

    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Tony Mandarich #77 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium on September 24, 1989 in Anaheim, California.  The Rams won 41-38.  (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Draft: Second Pick in 1989

    What Happened: Steroids and ego. Mandarich used steroids to achieve his unbelievable bulk, and his ego didn't want to waste time in a "village" like Green Bay.

    After three years of underperforming, Mandarich was cut. He played a few more years with the Colts before retiring.

7. Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

26 of 32

    7 Sep 1997:  Running back Ki-Jana Carter #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the football during the Bengals 23-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger  /Allsport
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Draft: First Pick in 1995

    What Happened: A torn ACL in his first preseason combined with skills that never developed in the pros. Carter was undersized and never really was able to punch through holes, assuming he could find them to begin with.

    Carter finished his career in 2004 with 1,144 total rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

6. Jim Druckenmiller, QB, San Francisco 49ers

27 of 32

    23 Aug 1998:  Quarterback John Druckenmiller #14 of the San Francisco 49ers in action during the pre-season game against the Miami Dolphins at the 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The Dolphins defeated the 49ers 21-20.
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Draft: 26th Pick in 1997

    What Happened: Druckenmiller was a bust in every sense of the word. He threw a total of 52 passes in his NFL career for 239 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. He was traded to the Dolphins for the 1999 season, but then was released.

5. Akili Smith, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

28 of 32

    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 13:  Akili Smith #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 13, 2002 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Steelers beat the Bengals 34-7. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Draft: Third Pick in 1999

    What Happened: Smith only had one successful season in college, and despite being very gifted athletically, never seemed to grasp the intricacies of the pro game. The Bengals finally moved on after the 2002 season, and he tried out for the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before finishing his career in the Canadian Football League.

    Smith only started 17 career games for Cincinnati.

4. Rae Carruth, WR, Carolina Panthers

29 of 32

    2 Nov 1997:  Rae Carruth #84 of the Carolina Panthers in action during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Panthers defeated the Raiders 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Draft: 27th Pick in 1997

    What Happened: While Carruth had a decent rookie season, his 1998 season was cut short by injury. He played most of the 1999 season until Nov. 16, 1999, when Carruth decided to put out a hit on his pregnant girlfriend and then participated in the shooting.

    Carruth became a fugitive and was found hiding in the trunk of a car a few days after the Panthers cut him, citing a morals clause in his contract.

    Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. He has maintained his innocence and continues to appeal his case while awaiting release no earlier than October 2018.

3. Art Schlicter, QB, Baltimore Colts

30 of 32

    Draft: Fourth Pick in 1982

    What Happened: Art Schlichter had a bit of gambling problem. In fact, he was a compulsive gambler who lost every single penny he ever made. The problem was rumored as far back as his Ohio State days, but there never was enough evidence to do anything with it.

    Schlicter was drafted by the Baltimore Colts, and immediately lost the starting job to Mike Pagel. During the 1982 NFL strike, all Schlichter did was gamble. He lost everything and went to the Feds to protect himself from the bookies.

    As a result, he was suspended for the 1983 season. His NFL career was over by 1985 because he couldn't stop gambling. He tried to revive his career in 1986 with the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills signed this guy named Jim Kelly and Schlicter was cut before the season started.

    Schlicter spent a lot of time in jail after his career ended for various gambling-related felonies.

2. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders

31 of 32

    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders looks on 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

    Draft: First Pick in 2007

    What Happened: This is something the experts still are trying to figure out, because Russell was big and strong, and had the kind of Combine performance Raiders owner Al Davis loves.

    However, once in the NFL, JaMarcus Russell gained a reputation for laziness, and he barely played his rookie season due to a lengthy holdout and head coach Lane Kiffin's unwillingness to start him until the end of the season

    Once in games, Russell looked lost, throwing several interceptions, and he never could hold down the starter's job for very long.

    After the 2009 season, the Raiders quarterback roster grew to five quarterbacks, and Russell's weight reportedly had ballooned to 300 lbs.

    The Raiders released him on May 6, 2010. No team claimed him off of waivers, and he remains a free agent going into the 2011 season.

    Russell also has been charged with drug charges related to codeine syrup, but a grand jury refused to indict Russell this past October.

1. Ryan Leaf, QB, San Diego Chargers

32 of 32

    10 Sep 2000:  Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers looks to pass the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Saints defeated the Chargers 28-27.Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Draft: Second Pick in 1998

    What Happened: Ryan Leaf had all the physical skills necessary to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he lacked any of the abilities needed to claim and maintain the job between his ears.

    Leaf's short career was marked by immature behavior, temper tantrums and confrontations with fans, coaches and the media.

    By the end of the 2000 season, the Chargers had seen enough and released him. However, Leaf injured his wrist toward the end of that year, and that injury plagued him through the next two years along with his attitude problem before he finally retired at age 26 with a career QB rating of 50.

    The name "Ryan Leaf" and the term "draft bust" since have become synonymous. Leaf's post-career activities include resigning as a coach from West Texas A&M due to a pain pill scandal, and Leaf would have further legal troubles due to his involvement in controlled substances.

    As of December 2010, Leaf reportedly signed a deal to write three books about his life.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!