Every NFL team's biggest draft whiff of all-time

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Every NFL team's biggest draft whiff of all-time

Arizona Cardinals: Matt Leinart

Matt Leinart gained tremendous hype before the 2006 NFL Draft, largely due to a decorated and high-profile college career at USC. As a result, the Arizona Cardinals selected him with the 10th overall pick.

Given his resume, he looked like a future star in the making. In college, he won a national championship, Heisman Trophy and was named a first team All-American twice.

Unfortunately, none of that success translated to the NFL. At USC, Leinart benefited from having talent-laden roster that included fellow Heisman winner Reggie Bush, as well as a solid offensive line and dangerous receiving threat in Dwayne Jarrett.

In the NFL, he could not simply rely on the talent around him, and some glaring weaknesses in his game were revealed quickly. Despite having an all-time great wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald to throw to, Leinart never thrived as a starter in the league, and finished his career with more interceptions than touchdowns thrown.

He also struggled with injuries tremendously. After suffering a second consecutive season-ending injury five games into his second season, Leinart was never able to establish himself as a starter in the league again. He was replaced the following year by Kurt Warner, who stepped in and led the Cardinals to an NFC Championship, before losing a thrilling Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Leinart was able to bounce around the league as a backup for several years, but he has not appeared in a game since 2012, and has only played in a total of four games since 2009.

Adding to the pain, Leinart was selected one pick before Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler. While Cutler is not an elite quarterback by any means, mainly due to his mental makeup, he is an elite talent and has been a starter throughout his entire career.

A decade of Cutler to Fitzgerald would have been fun to watch to say the least, and it definitely would have been an improvement over Leinart.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons: Aundray Bruce

Aundray Bruce was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the first overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, and while he had a respectable 11-year NFL career, it was far from what you would expect from a top pick.

Bruce never reached the potential that many scouts saw in the two-time All-SEC linebacker from Auburn. He recorded a very mediocre total of four sacks during his four years in Atlanta before being cut by the team.

What puts this pick over the top as the worst in the Falcons’ history, however, is the fact that they passed on four future Hall of Fame players, including all-time great wide receivers Michael Irvin and Tim Brown who were selected in the next 10 picks.

This was a very rough period for the Atlanta Falcons franchise. They had a more than serviceable quarterback in Chris Miller that was a first round pick the year before. While he had an abysmal overall record of 23-43 during his stretch as the team’s starting quarterback from 1988 to 1992, he still put up respectable numbers. Miller had his best season in the league in 1991, when he finished with 3,103 passing yards and 26 touchdowns and led the team to a playoff victory.

You have to imagine that having a dominant receiving threat like Tim Brown or Michael Irvin would have put the Falcons over the top and made them an annual playoff fixture, if not a serious contender, during this time.

Instead, Aundray Bruce was very subpar for a No. 1 overall pick, and the Falcons proceeded to win just one playoff game over the next 10 seasons.

(Otto Greule/Getty Images)

Baltimore Ravens: Travis Taylor

Ever since Art Modell picked up and left Cleveland, taking the Browns with him and renaming them the Baltimore Ravens in 1996, the team has been fairly successful in the draft and not made many bonehead selections.

The biggest two busts for the team would have to be either wide receiver Travis Taylor or quarterback Kyle Boller. It is a tough decision, but given that Taylor was selected with the No. 10 pick in the draft versus Boller at No. 19, I have to go with the Taylor here.

Taylor was selected with high hopes as a top 10 pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, but the wide receiver from Florida never came close to filling those expectations. His best season came in 2002, That would end up being the only year of his career where he amassed more than 700 yards or four touchdowns.

Baltimore would eventually part ways with Taylor after five very average seasons. Although he played nine years in the league, he only totaled 4,017 receiving yards and caught just 22 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, seven of the next nine players selected after Taylor would go on to appear in at least one Pro Bowl.

One of the biggest problems that Travis suffered from was a lack of stability at the quarterback position. During his five season with the team, he had eight different starting quarterbacks throwing the ball to him.

Travis Taylor was never going to be an all-time great, but given the disaster of a quarterback situation in Baltimore during his time there, he never had much of an opportunity for success.

(Brian Bahr/Allsport)

Buffalo Bills: Tom Cousineau

With the Buffalo Bills, it is hard not to go with Mike Williams, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2002 draft as the team’s biggest bust. The offensive tackle out of the University of Texas came in with high expectations, but was cut four years later after not fulfilling them, and has been out of the league since 2009.

But he is not the worst pick in team history. The worst pick in the Bills history is Tom Cousineau, a player that never played a down for them. The Bills selected him with the first overall pick in the 1979 draft, but he opted to play in Canada after the Montreal Alouettes offered him significantly more money.

The linebacker from Ohio State was highly sought after around the league, even after three years in the CFL, and Buffalo was able to swap him for a first round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft.

Cousineau had a very average career after the trade, and only made 6.5 sacks during his six years in the NFL. There did end up being a silver lining for the Bills, though.

With the first round pick they received in the trade, the team selected Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly who would go on to lead the them to four AFC Championships.

The Bills did, however, own an earlier pick in that draft, so if they thought Kelly was going to be as great as he turned out to be, they could have easily picked him up.

(Graham Bezant/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers: Tim Biakabutuka

The most regrettable pick in Carolina Panthers history came in 1996. The team had the No. 8 pick on the draft and was in desperate need of a running back. The Panthers decided to go with Tim Biakabutuka out of Michigan instead of the Heisman winner Eddie George from Ohio State, something that turned out to be a very poor decision to say the least.

Biakabutuka was a prospect who had an extremely high ceiling coming into the NFL Draft. He never played football until high school, when his family moved from Zaire to Canada. He excelled immediately, gaining tremendous popularity and recognition from college teams. He went on to play for three years at the University of Michigan, where he had a successful career. Despite only starting during his final season, Biakabutuka managed to run 1,818 yards in 1995, setting the school’s single-season rushing record.

The outstanding junior campaign caused his draft stock to skyrocket, so much so that the Panthers saw him as a more impressive prospect than George, who won several national awards that season.

Biakabutuka’s dominating 313-yard performance in an upset of George’s Ohio State Buckeyes likely played a role in the Panthers’ poor decision. The success for the former Michigan Wolverine would end there, however, while George would go on to have a Hall of Fame career, amassing 10,000 yards in just nine seasons in the league.

Biakabutuka, on the other hand, never rushed for more than 750 yards and washed out of the league after six unimpressive seasons. The disparity between careers of the two running backs gives him a slight edge over Kerry Collins, the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft, for the title of biggest bust in team history.

(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears: Curtis Enis

For the Chicago Bears, Curtis Enis and Cade McNown are side-by-side for the worst draft pick in team history.

McNown was a Johnny Unitas Award winner, given to the nation’s top senior quarterback, and All-American coming out of UCLA when he was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. In Chicago, however, he displayed a poor attitude and subpar arm strength. McNown was traded for to the Miami Dolphins for sixth and seventh round picks after just two seasons with the Bears, throwing  total of 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He never played in an NFL game again.

Enis, however, gets the nod over McNown for two reasons.

First off, he was a No. 5 overall pick, and was widely considered a top prospect in the 1998 draft after the running back had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to finish his career at Penn State, unlike McNown who had many question marks surrounding his abilities. Enis’ was never realized, unfortunately, as knee injuries cut his career short. During his three short seasons in the NFL, he started just 18 games and ran for a total of four touchdowns.

Even worse, though, is who the Bears missed out on as a result of the pick.

Sure, Pro Bowl running Fred Taylor was available at the time, but the miss that hurts the most is Randy Moss. The Bears showed strong interest in the troubled wide receiver out of Marshall, but his off the field concerns caused him to fall to the Vikings at pick No. 21.

Moss would go on to torch the Bears for seven seasons with their division rival, on his way to a historic NFL career.

(Jonathan Daniel /Allsport)

Cincinnati Bengals: Akili Smith

Akili Smith was one of five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, and was arguably the worst of the bunch.

Tim Couch went No. 1 overall and was absolutely a bust, as well as Cade McNown, who the Bears selected at pick No. 12. While Couch was far from what you expect from a top pick and McNown did nothing in Chicago, Smith’s brief NFL career was so bad that he threw more than twice as many interceptions than touchdowns during a four-year NFL career.

Smith shot up the draft boards after an impressive senior season at Oregon in which he threw for 3,763 yards with 30 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. He also showed off his running abilities, adding four more touchdowns on the ground.

The Cincinnati Bengals saw him as franchise quarterback material, and selected him third overall that year. None of that success translated to the NFL game, however.

In college, Smith relied heavily on his athleticism to dominate opponents, and as a result he never thrived in the NFL. During his four seasons in Cincinnati, he finished with five touchdowns, 13 interceptions and just over 2,0000 passing yards in 17 starts. He also completed less than half of his passes, had a passer rating of 52.8 and fumbled 19 times, losing nine of them.

Six total touchdowns compared to 22 turnovers is terrible no matter what way you look at it, and it is an apparent result of Smith’s struggles grasping the playbook and handling the mental aspects of the game.

The young quarterback was simply not ready for the big-time, and unfortunately for the Bengals, seven of the next eight picks went on to appear at Pro Bowls during their careers. To make matters worse, they turned down Mike Ditka’s insane offer of all six of his draft picks and two the next season for the pick, which the Redskins accepted and used to acquire elite defenders Champ Bailey and LaVar Arrington.

Ki-Jana Carter deserves an honorable mention as well for his selection as the first overall pick in the 1995 draft. Carter was plagued by injuries, but still managed to score 15 touchdowns during a healthy two-year stretch. Unfortunately he only appeared in four games during his other three seasons in Cincinnati.

Regardless, Smith’s brief, yet atrocious, NFL career still takes the top spot for the Bengals, and makes him one of the biggest busts in league history.

(Jonathan Daniel /Allsport)

Cleveland Browns: Tim Couch

The Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL in 1999 as an expansion team, and owned the first pick in the draft. As expansion teams almost always are, they were in the market for a franchise quarterback with the No. 1 pick. The Browns selected Tim Couch, a quarterback from Kentucky with an impressive resume.

Couch looked like a solid pick at the time. Donavan McNabb was nearly booed off the stage by Philadelphia Eagles fans when he was selected with the next pick. After finishing 1998 as a Heisman finalist, first team All-American and the SEC Player of the Year, Couch looked like a sure thing. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

His five-year career was filled with ups and downs, but mostly downs. He was the starting quarterback for the duration of his whole career, but injuries and mediocre play was eventually Couch’s downfall.

Couch did show flashes of promise, especially in 2002, when he led the franchise to their only playoff appearance since they came back into the league. Besides that year, though, he was very subpar, and considering the player selected immediately after him in McNabb was a Pro Bowler that made his team a perennial playoff contender nearly every season, the pick was a flop to say the least.

Trent Richardson deserves an honorable mention as well. As a No. 3 overall pick, he was an absolute disappointment, and was traded just two games into his second season with the team.

Botching the first pick in the team’s history and missing out on a franchise quarterback in McNabb, however, slightly edges Richardson as the biggest bust in team history.

Couch attempted to make a comeback in 2007, but was continuously linked to rampant steroid and potential HGH use. He was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and was released after a poor showing in the preseason. He was suspended by the league for failing a drug test shortly after, and has not been heard from again.

Post-NFL life has not been too harsh on Couch however, as he is married to Playboy Playmate Heather Kozar. I know the saying ‘there are no moral victories in football’, but in this case, Tim Couch may have found one.

(Photo by Phil Long/Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys: Bobby Carpenter

The Dallas Cowboys make it difficult to choose a top draft bust. Despite owner and general manager Jerry Jones’ crazy antics throughout his decades at the helm of America’s Team, he has managed to not make too many Draft Day blunders (although I am nearly positive he had to be locked out of last year’s draft War Room to prevent a Johnny Manziel to Dallas fiasco), and there were not many before he arrived in Dallas, either.

The final three for the team’s biggest bust came down to Morris Claiborne, David LaFleur and Bobby Carpenter.

Claiborne was the highest pick of the three, selected with the No. 6 overall pick in 2012. He was a highly decorated cornerback out of LSU, where he received tremendous hype from scouts after earning All-American honors, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and the Jim Thorpe Award during his junior season. Claiborne has been far from productive for the Cowboys during his brief career so far, however. If not for the small sample size, and him still having time to turn things around in Dallas, he would be the team’s top bust.

LaFleur, a fellow LSU Tiger, also deserves mention on this list. In 1997, the Cowboys were looking for the next great tight end after Hall of Famer Jay Novacek’s recent retirement. He was supposed to be the next go-to receiving threat for Troy Aikman, something that never came close to happening. He scored 12 touchdowns in four seasons, and besides a decent 1999 season, never reached 200 receiving yards.

The honors for biggest bust in Cowboys history, however, goes to Bobby Carpenter, the highly-touted linebacker from Penn State. Dallas selected him with the 18th pick of the 2006 NFL Draft after a successful college career at Ohio State.

Carpenter came into the league recovering from a fractured fibula, but the Cowboys saw promise in him regardless. The promise they saw did not translate to NFL success, unfortunately. In four years in Dallas, he only started three games and recorded just 3.5 sacks.

The list of players selected after Carpenter in the 2006 draft includes several successful Pro Bowlers, including defensive back Antonio Cromartie, who was picked immediately after him, and Defensive Rookie of the Year linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who was still available at the time as well.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Denver Broncos: Tommy Maddox

Amidst a growing feud between head coach Dan Reeves and star quarterback John Elway, the Denver Broncos selected Tommy Maddox with the 25th pick in the 1988 NFL Draft. Elway was in the prime of a Hall of Fame career and the team had several glaring needs at the time of the pick, something that further angered him and worsened the relationship.

Imagine if Denver had given Maddox the reigns of the franchise. Fortunately for the organization, they did not. Reeves was out of a job following the season, and the former UCLA quarterback received his only four starts with the team during is rookie year while Elway was injured, losing each one.

Maddox did redeem himself, however, and revived his career in 2001 with the Los Angeles Xtreme of the XFL. The league folded after one season, but during that one year, Maddox took home MVP honors and led his team to the only XFL Championship.

The performance was enough to land himself back in the NFL, and he went on to start 27 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the next two years. Maddox won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2002, but he would eventually lose his starting job to a rookie quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.

The pick was really not that bad when looking at all of the busts in league history, and is a testament to the Broncos success in the draft.

Ted Gregory, a defensive tackle for Syracuse is a close second to Maddox.  Gregory was a highly-touted player, but was too undersized to play on the line in the NFL. The team drafted him with pick No. 26 of the 1988 draft, and he would never play a down for the team.

Regardless, you have to wonder what the Broncos were thinking, drafting a quarterback in the first round with seven years remaining in John Elway’s decorated career.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Detroit Lions: Charles Rodgers

Charles Rodgers is one of several top draft picks who simply could not handle the pressure and responsibilities of the NFL, and is also one of the biggest draft busts of all-time.

Rodgers was a record-setting wide receiver, Biletnikoff Award winner and All-American during his time at Michigan State, but his arrival in the NFL was a rude awakening for the player selected by the Detroit Lions with the No. 2 overall pick in 2003.

Rodgers career was a huge disappointment to say the least. He put up only 440 yards and 4 touchdowns during his brief career, and was out of the NFL for good after just three seasons that were marred with injuries and substance abuse issues. Rodgers failed numerous drug tests, resulting in suspensions, and admitted after he retired to being addicted to pain killers and smoking marijuana regularly throughout his brief playing career.

Who was the player selected immediately after him?

Future Hall of Fame and perennial Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson. I imagine that the Lions wish they could have this disaster of a pick back, considering that despite all of Matt Millen’s horrible moves as a general manager, none come close to Charles Rodgers.

Rodgers’ life after football has been troubling as well, which has featured at least seven arrests in the years since he ran himself out of the league.

(Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Green Bay Packers: Tony Mandarich

When offensive tackle Tony Mandarich was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 2 overall pick in 1989, he was arguably the top prospect of a draft that was loaded with talent.

Mandarich was an absolute monster of a physical specimen. He spent his whole career at Michigan State dominating opponents. He was freakishly athletic and had unmatched strength, and when that was combined with his 6-foot-6, 320 pound frame, you had a potentially transcendent player. Sports Illustrated even went as far as to call him the ‘best offensive line prospect ever’ in a cover article titled The Incredible Bulk.

As it turns out, his dominance in college and impressive strength that amped up the hype surrounding him and left scouts in awe while leading up to the NFL Draft was all fueled by steroid use.

Mandarich stopped using steroids before the draft in fear of failing drug tests at the NFL Combine, but a much bigger problem was secretly emerging in his life. He was becoming severely addicted to painkillers, and it was just the beginning of a downward spiral of alcohol and prescription drug abuse that was a constant during his four-year stretch in Green Bay.

He did sober up and redeem himself with the Indianapolis Colts in 1996 after a five-year absence from football, and had three successful seasons before retiring.

Regardless, considering the next three players selected after him were future Hall of Famers Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders, it is safe to say that the Packers blew this pick.

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Houston Texans: David Carr

The NFL’s newest expansion team, the Houston Texans, selected David Carr with the first overall pick in the 2002 draft, a quarterback out of Fresno State with a cannon for a arm and an impressive college resume.

His time in Houston was a dark period for the franchise, and he never led the team to a playoff appearance, or even a winning season.

His tremendous arm strength actually came back to haunt him at times, especially in the redzone, as he could never seem to find touch on his passes. This cost the Texans a game at one point during his tenure, as he threw a rocket pass from inside the 5-yard line, striking a wide open receiver in the end zone in the chest before he had any time to react as time expired.

The troubles were not all his fault, as the first years of his career were spent playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in NFL history, and as a result he was sacked a record-setting amount of times.

The constant influx of big hits shellshocked the young quarterback, and he never could recover in Houston. Carr was able to continue his career as a backup after leaving Houston, but never was ever seriously considered as a franchise quarterback after his poor performance with the Texans.

Probably the worst part about the David Carr pick and what makes him such a bust is that the team stuck with him as their starter for five years. Even after throwing an unacceptable 59 touchdowns and 65 interceptions during that stretch, Houston never elected to draft a second option at quarterback, despite constantly picking at the top of the board.

In the process, the team passed up on the opportunity to select many talented quarterbacks, including Super Bowl winners Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Indianapolis Colts: John Elway

Many Colts fans will point to Art Schlichter or Jeff George as the biggest bust in team history, but I am going to go with a Hall of Fame quarterback that never put on a Colts uniform.

The legendary John Elway was selected by the team No. 1 overall in 1983, despite publicly stating that he would never play for them. Elway kept his word, and the Colts shipped him to the Denver Broncos for what amounted to Chris Hinton, Mark Herrmann and Ron Solt, not exactly household names.

Adding to the pain for the Colts, as a result of the Elway selection, they missed out on five other Hall of Fame players, including all-time great quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino who could have easily turned the franchise around. Eric Dickerson was also selected with the following pick.

As for the two biggest busts to suit up for the Colts, I have to go back to the season before the Elway selection, when they selected Schlichter with the No. 4 pick in the draft. The whole reason they were in such need of a quarterback in the 1983 draft was because their pick from the previous year was suspended for the season for gambling. Schlichter’s addiction to gambling would continue to grow and eventually have him kicked out of the league after only six starts in three years.

The quarterback’s troubles followed him after his career. He has been in prison and legal troubles for the majority of the past two decades, and is currently serving a 10-year sentence for the latest of a string of fraud convictions.

It is pretty safe to say Elway has experienced much more on and off the field success. Too bad he never suited up for the Colts.

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made several terrible Draft Day decisions, especially at the wide receiver position. Reggie Williams was a Top 10 pick that never amounted to his potential and former Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones could not make the transition to the position or kick his drug habits.

In 2012, the team elected to take another chance on a wide receiver, selecting former Oklahoma State star Justin Blackmon with the fifth overall pick.

Blackmon was coming off of a Fiesta Bowl MVP performance and back-to-back All-American and Biletnikoff Award winning seasons, and appeared to be a sure thing. He was considered to be just as talented as his former teammate, Dez Bryant, without the off-the-field concerns. It turns out that assessment could not have been further off.

Ever since a decent rookie season in 2012, when he totaled 865 yards and five touchdowns, Blackmon has only played in four games due to several failed drug tests and arrests for driving under the influence and marijuana possession, with the latter occurring while already serving a substance abuse related suspension.

The team missed out on on Pro Bowl wide receivers Alshon Jefferey and T.Y. Hilton that year, though neither player was selected in the first round, so it is not like the Jaguars were the only team that was wrong about those two.

As for Blackmon, he is currently suspended indefinitely by the league as a result of his constant troubles, and his future in the NFL looks very bleak at the moment.

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Kansas City Chiefs: Todd Blackledge

The year of 1983 featured a franchise-changing draft for teams in the market for a quarterback of the future.

Three teams won the draft that year. The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins both selected Hall of Fame quarterbacks in the mid and late first round in Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, respectively. The Denver Broncos were able to land the No. 1 overall pick John Elway after he refused to play for the Baltimore Colts.

The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, mangled this fateful draft terribly. With Kelly and Marino still available, the Chiefs went with Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge; a move they would regret for the next two decades.

Blackledge was a popular prospect, coming into the league fresh off of leading the Nittany Lions to a national championship and winning the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the best quarterback in the nation. That is about where his football success would end, however.

During his time in Kansas City, he never managed to take control of the starting job, only starting 24 games in his five seasons with the team. During his career, Blackledge threw for more interceptions than touchdowns, had a horrific passer rating of 60.2 and would only appear in six more NFL games after leaving the Chiefs in 1988.

Despite several other bad picks throughout their history, their mishap during arguably the greatest quarterback draft class ever takes the top spot as the organization’s biggest draft day blunder.

With three solid receiving threats in Henry Marshall, Stephoine Page and Carlos Carson on the roster during the 80’s, it must be tough for Chiefs fans to wonder what could have been if they had Marino or Kelly slinging the ball to them, instead of having 11 different starting quarterbacks over the next 10 years.

(AP Photo/Barry Sweet)

Miami Dolphins: Ted Ginn Jr.

The Miami Dolphins definitely made the most shocking first round selection of the 2007 NFL Draft, selecting Ted Ginn Jr. with the ninth overall pick, despite many experts projecting him as a second or third round pick.

The organization fell in love with his blinding speed, and thought Ginn had potential to be a transcendent player at wide receiver, as well as an elite return specialist. His career at Ohio State provided plenty of optimism for team’s, but his biggest knock was that, while he was a versatile and dangerous weapon in college, he never truly mastered the wide receiver position and it immediately showed in the NFL.

Besides in the return game, Ginn has never been much of an impact player throughout his career, and never lived up to the play that is expected from a Top 10 pick. He only lasted three seasons in Miami, catching just five touchdown passes during that stretch.

To Ginn’s credit, his athleticism and abilities as a return specialist have allowed him to hang around in the league, and he is currently with the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, his small 5-foot-11, 185 pound frame prevented him from ever experiencing much success as a receiver.

To make matters worse for Dolphins fans, they passed on premier defensive players Darrelle Revis and Patrick Willis, who were both selected shortly after Ginn. While Ginn never amounted to much in the league, Willis was an absolute monster and arguably the best linebacker in the NFL during his career before retiring earlier this offseason, and the same can be said about Revis to this day.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Minnesota Vikings: The Herschel Walker Trade

Sure, the Minnesota Vikings have drafted plenty of busts throughout their history.

Troy Williamson is probably the most popular choice for the title of top bust. He was drafted seventh overall in 2005, with the intention of having him replace the recently departed Randy Moss at wide receiver. Williamson caught three touchdowns in three seasons with the team, not exactly what the team was hoping for when replacing one of the best receivers in NFL history.

He does not come close, however, to the disaster of the Herschel Walker trade in 1989 that sent eight draft picks, including three first rounders, to the Dallas Cowboys, and resulted in one organization’s rise to greatness and another missing out on some of the best players of their generation.

After the former Heisman winner ran for over 1,500 yards the previous season in Dallas, the Vikings thought they were getting an elite running back in his prime. Instead, Walker only spent three seasons in Minnesota, never amassing more than 900 yards during any of them.

The picks that they traded away, on the other hand, were used to build a dynasty in Dallas that won three championships over four seasons in the 1990’s. Players that the Cowboys acquired from the picks include five-time Pro Bowler Darren Woodson, defensive anchor Russell Maryland and the NFL’s all-time rushing yards and touchdowns leader, Emmitt Smith.

Minnesota considered Walker to be the missing piece to becoming a Super Bowl contender, and the Cowboys’ Jimmy Johnson was able to talk Vikings general manager Mike Lynn into agreeing to the ridiculous trade.

Minnesota’s vision of a championship never came close to happening with Walker on the roster, and in doing so mortgaged their future and lost out on several really good players and one of the all-time greats.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

New England Patriots: Ken Sims

Ken Sims was selected by the New England Patriots with the first overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, and never lived up to the hype or success that came along with the selection.

Sims had a very average career. Although he lasted eight seasons in the league, the defensive end out of the University of Texas only accumulated 17 sacks during that time, quite subpar for a player who was supposed to be an elite pass rusher. He also struggled with injuries and constant problems on and off the field throughout his career. Sims was released in 1990 after being arrested for cocaine possession.

The picks that came after him, however, are what makes the selection such a bust.

Two Hall of Fame players in Marcus Allen and Mike Munchak were selected in the next 10 picks that year, and given Sims’ mediocre play, the move must have had the Patriots organization kicking themselves for the next decade.

Tony Eason was another awful pick with the 15th pick in the 1983 draft. He had a decent NFL career, but is best known for a horrible performance in Super Bowl XX in which he went 0-for-6. This made him the only starting quarterback to not complete a pass in the Super Bowl, something that earned him the title of worst Super Bowl starter in NFL history.

Almost as bad as his performance on the big stage was the fact that he was drafted over Dan Marino.

Fortunately for the Patriots organization, they have been masterful in the draft during their successful run under Bill Belichick. Their draft day success, most notably selecting Tom Brady in the sixth round, has played a large role in their five Super Bowl wins since the turn of the century.

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Sullivan

While Ricky Williams is a legitimate, and probably the most popular choice, Jonathan Sullivan slightly edges him as the New Orleans Saints‘ worst draft pick.

The infamous trade up and select Williams at the No. 5 pick in 1999 cost Mike Ditka his job and cost the Saints a total of eight draft picks, including the No. 2 overall pick the next season after the team went 3-13 the next season. Clearly the team had bigger holes that should have been addressed, and they gave up way too much to move up just seven spots in the draft.

Despite what the team gave up for him, he still led the Saints to their first playoff win in the organization’s history, and was a 1,000-yard rusher for them twice during his three years.

The biggest bust in team history is actually one of the players that New Orleans drafted with the four draft picks acquired from trading Williams to the Miami Dolphins in 2002.

Jonathan Sullivan is a player that the team saw as a difference maker, much like Williams. They were so high on him that they wasted a chance to build a foundation for success and traded their two first round picks in 2003 to select the defensive tackle out of Georgia sixth overall.

Sullivan never amounted to anything with the Saints, recording 1.5 sacks in three very disappointing seasons with the team before falling out of the league by 2006.

To put that 2003 draft in perspective, the Saints had their choice of Troy Polamalu and Terrell Suggs, two of the most dominant defensive players of the 2000s, and went with a player that most people outside of New Orleans have never heard of.

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)

New York Giants: Cedric Jones

The New York Giants have not made too many memorable mistakes on Draft Day, but selecting Cedric Jones with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1996 draft was definitely the worst one.

Jones was supposed to be an elite pass rusher at defensive end. After five seasons with just a total of 15 sacks, that was hardly the case. During his first two seasons in the league, he started two games and made zero sacks.

He managed to start every game during last two seasons, but after an unimpressive five-year run with the team, he was out of the league.

Who were some of the players they missed out on that year that were on the board at the time?

Ray Lewis, Eddie George and Marvin Harrison, just to name a few.

Another noteworthy bust is former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. Dayne set the NCAA’s division one career rushing yards record after a decorated career at Wisconsin, and was selected 11th overall in 2000.

He was a decent backup in the NFL, but could never make the transition to becoming an every down back, possibly a result of putting tons of miles on his legs in college.

What hurts the most about his selection is that six of the next seven selections would play in Pro Bowls, while Dayne never reached 800 yards during his eight year career.

(AP Photo/Dave Oxford)

New York Jets: Vernon Gholston

The New York Jets saw Vernon Gholston’s freakish combination of speed and strength to pair with his 6-foot-3, 260 pound frame,the organization thought they were getting a getting a dominant pass rushing outside linebacker. Instead, they got the complete opposite out of the sixth pick of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Gholston finished his career with zero sacks in three seasons. He was not even a bad pass rusher, he was not a pass rusher at all. Despite appearing in all but three of the team’s games during his three years with the Jets, he only cracked the starting lineup five times, and was never the difference maker he was expected to be.

The most disappointing part about the Gholston selection is there were several players that could have been legitimate weapons for a team on the cusp of a Super Bowl, and lost in the AFC Championship game the following two seasons. Jerod Mayo, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Chris Johnson are just a few of the several Pro Bowl players they missed out on that year.

Another honorable mention is tight end Kyle Brady. Brady was selected ninth overall in 1995, and was infamously picked over a player that went on to be one of the game’s most dominant defensive linemen in Warren Sapp.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell

In an article dedicated to the biggest draft busts for each team, the Oakland Raidersgive you plenty of viable options to choose from, but a big name with a big arm and a big contract has earned the label of the team’s biggest bust, and quite possibly the biggest NFL Draft bust of all-time.

JaMarcus Russell was considered to be a mid-first round prospect entering the final game of his college career, a Sugar Bowl showdown with consensus No. 1 pick Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both quarterbacks’ careers ended up taking drastic turns on that fateful night.

Russell led a high-powered LSU offense and put his elite arm strength on full display, throwing for 332 yards and two touchdowns en route to a dominating 41-14 blowout of the Irish. Quinn, on the other hand, had an abysmal performance, completing just 15-of-35 passes and throwing two interceptions, with his team being shut out in the second half.

The Raiders were so impressed with Russell’s Sugar Bowl performance that they selected him with the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, a move that turned out to be quite possibly the biggest draft blunder in NFL history.

To say his brief stint in the league was a disappointment would be a tremendous understatement. His time in Oakland began with a lengthy holdout that resulted in a ridiculous six-year, $61 million contract, with $32 million guaranteed; the biggest rookie contract in NFL history at the time. Russell’s play never came close to matching the money he was making, and after recording a passer rating of 50.0 in 2009, the worst by any quarterback since 1998, the team cut their losses and released the former top pick after just three seasons.

During the following offseason, Russell reportedly ballooned to nearly 300 pounds. To top it all off, he was arrested on a felony drug charge for possession of codeine syrup. Russell was never indicted for the crime, but he has yet to throw an NFL pass since.

Todd Marinovich is an honorable mention as well. Labeled Robo QB, the highly-touted, yet troubled prospect was drafted by the Raiders with the 24th pick in the 1991 draft, fresh off an arrest for cocaine possession. The Raiders, located in Los Angeles at the time, brought in the local college star anyway, despite substance abuse concerns.

Marinovich never amounted to any of the hype surrounding him, and was out of the league by his third season after multiple failed drug tests. Considering that a young quarterback named Brett Favre was on the board at the time, it makes the selection even more painful for Raiders fans.

As for Russell, he has been attempting to make a comeback since 2013, although it looks far from promising. He has shown surprisingly great work ethic, losing over 40 pounds, but the strong-armed quarterback appears to have worn out his welcome in the league.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Philadelphia Eagles: Leroy Keyes

Leroy Keyes is player that many people do not remember, but if you were a Philadelphia Eagles fan around from the late 1960’s through the 70’s, it is a name that is hard to forget.

The reason why Keyes was unforgettable was far from his play on the football field. Although he was a heralded college running back and safety who nearly won the Heisman Trophy during his career at Purdue, he was never able to reach anywhere close to that level of success in the NFL.

Keyes’ selection will always be remembered for the two Hall of Fame players who the team missed out on that year. The Eagles were in position to select Heisman-winner and unanimous top prospect O.J. Simpson, but threw away the first overall pick in the draft by going on a late-season winning streak.

Philadelphia still could have recovered if they had chosen the next player selected in the draft; legendary defensive lineman “Mean Joe” Greene. Instead they were left with a running back who, after rushing for 361 yards and three touchdowns during his rookie season, he only carried the ball four more times during his career.

Keyes went on to make the move to defensive back, which he played at Purdue, and experienced some minor success at in the NFL.

Considering he only played five mediocre seasons before falling out of the league, he is easily the team’s biggest draft bust, and imagining what could have been with either Simpson or Greene has to still burn for an Eagles organization that is yet to acquire its first Super Bowl.

(AP Photo/WGI)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall

The Mike Tomlin regime has produced several draft busts during his eight seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers, including an infamous 2008 draft in which the organization selected seven players, none of which were very successful, and none of which are still with the team.

For the worst draft in recent memory for the team, I have to select the first round pick that never panned out from that draft; Rashard Mendenhall, who was selected 23rd overall that year. Although Mendenhall was able to amass 1,000 yards twice during five seasons in Pittsburgh, injuries and turnovers caused him to become a liability and the organization cut their losses after the 2012 season.

Mendenhall’s worst play of his career came on the biggest possible stage, as well, something that earns him a spot atop the list of Steelers’ draft busts.

On the first snap of the fourth quarter of 2012 Super Bowl, Mendenhall took a handoff from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and was hit in the backfield by Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Clay Mathews. The football popped out of Mendenhall’s grasp, and the Steelers’ championship hopes disappeared as the Packers recovered the fumble, putting an end to what was on the verge of becoming the biggest Super Bowl comeback in history.

Fortunately, the Tomlin regime has produced a Super Bowl win and two AFC Championships, so I do not feel sorry for Steelers fans one bit. Another honorable mention for biggest draft bust is the tragic story of Gabe Rivera, who was a promising defensive lineman that was paralyzed in a car accident during his rookie season. Dan Marino was selected a few picks later, but the Steelers, well aware of his party-animal reputation, passed on the hometown quarterback out of Pitt.

Pittsburgh’s general manager Kevin Colbert and Tomlin both recently condemned NFL leaks regarding players’ character concerns, so the team could very well be in the market to draft a high-risk prospect this year. We will have to wait and see how that turns out for them.

As for the biggest bust, Mendenhall slightly edges Rivera, simply because Pro Bowl running back and electric talent Chris Johnson was selected immediately following him. While Tomlin’s run has brought a Super Bowl to Pittsburgh, they never made it back after the Mendenhall fumble debacle, making you wonder what could have been if an elite running back that wasted his prime playing for the bumbling Tennessee Titans had been drafted by a Super Bowl contender in the Steelers.

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

San Diego Chargers: Ryan Leaf

In 1998, the San Diego Chargers had the second pick of a draft that appeared to have two elite quarterbacks at the top of everybody’s draft board. Both the Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts, who owned the first pick, were in dire need of a franchise quarterback, and there was a serious discussion on who was better; Peyton Manning out of the University of Tennessee or Ryan Leaf, the man who had just led Washington State to their first Rose Bowl appearance in 67 years.

Indianapolis took Manning No. 1 overall, the Chargers were left with Leaf as a consolation prize and the rest is history. One quarterback, Manning, went on to have a legendary NFL career. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about his counterpart.

Leaf’s tenure in the NFL was an utter disaster, and he is widely considered the biggest NFL Draft bust of all-time, alongside JaMarcus Russell.

Leaf was thrown to the wolves immediately, and his performance on and off the field reflected that in no way was he ready for the spotlight. He compiled 2 touchdowns and 15 interceptions to go along a horrific 39.0 passer rating during his rookie season.

In addition to the terrible play on the field, his immaturity off of it was just as much of a foretelling sign of a pending disaster. Leaf blew up on reporters frequently, and as a result had a very poor relationship with the media. He was therefore portrayed as a crybaby, and rightfully so.

Leaf was injured for the entire 1999 season, had another awful season in 2000 and after a brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, the once highly-coveted prospect was out of the league. His short NFL career amounted to a 50.0 passer rating, 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions, completing less than half of his passes in the process.

Leaf’s life after football has been equally turbulent. He has spent the majority of the past decade in and out of prison and rehab while battling what appears to be a very severe addiction to painkillers.

Ryan Leaf will always sit atop the lists of NFL Draft busts, but imagine if the Colts had taken him over Peyton Manning. There would be no discussion at all regarding the biggest bust in league history if that were the case.

(AP Photo/Kent Horner)

San Francisco 49ers: Rashuan Woods

Rashuan Woods appeared to be a major steal for the San Fransisco 49ers with the No. 31 in the 2004 draft. With two-time first team All-American receiver from a high-powered Oklahoma State offense, what could go wrong?

Apparently a lot.

Woods had a very subpar rookie season, catching seven passes for 160 yards and one touchdown, and it turns out that would be all for the decorated college star, with injuries playing a big role in his problems. He spent the next season on injured reserve, was released the following offseason and he never played a down in the NFL again. Woods spent the next few years bouncing around practice squads, the CFL and NFL Europe, but never was able to make it back into the leagues

I hate to put such a late first round pick on the list, but the fact that he only caught seven passes and lasted just one season makes him a worthy choice.

Jim Druckenmiller, the No. 26 pick in the 1997 draft is right behind Woods in second place. The organization saw him as a future starter with a cannon arm, but instead only played in six games over two seasons, completing just 21 of 52 pass attempts, while throwing only one touchdown to go with four interceptions.

The decision was a tough one, but given that Woods was an elite wide receiver in college that was supposed to be replacing all-time great Terrell Owens, he gets the nod over Druckenmiller.

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks: Brian Bosworth

Before there was Johnny Football, there was The Boz, one of the original hype machines in college football, and the prima donna of all prima donnas.

Brian Bosworth gained both notoriety and fame during his illustrious career with the Oklahoma Sooners as a loud-mouthed linebacker that backed up his play on the field. He was a two-time Butkus Award winner and first team All-American, but he was also a byproduct of the juice, and as a result missed the final game of his collegiate career after a failed drug test for anabolic steroids.

His boisterous, self-promoting attitude did not sit well in the NFL, however, and his play never amounted to much in the league. The Seattle Seahawks selected Bosworth in the 1987 NFL Supplemental Draft with hopes of him recreating his college success. Unfortunately, the steroids that fueled his collegiate greatness broke down his body very quickly, and he never appeared in a game beyond his second season.

Bosworth got completely embarrassed by Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football, which symbolized the nail in the coffin of his career. Just days earlier, he claimed that he could contain the multi-sport superstar. Instead, Jackson ran wild for over 200 yards, including bulldozing The Boz into the end zone on a memorable touchdown run.

As a consolation prize for Bosworth, he has experienced some success during his life after football on the big-screen. His outspoken and recognizable personality has made him a formidable actor, as long as his roles are limited.

As an embattled player throughout his career, it is only fitting that his most recognizable recent roles was as one of the villains, a prison guard in the 2005 The Longest Yard remake.

Koren Robinson, the ninth overall pick in the 2001 draft is another popular choice as the team’s biggest bust. Robinson was another decorated college player who could not get it together in the NFL, and the troubled wide receiver washed out of the league due to substance abuse and legal issues. While he was never a star in the league, he did last eight seasons, including a 1,000 yard season in his second year in the league.

Despite Robinson’s disappointment, Bosworth’s self-marketing combined with his very brief NFL career, gives him the top spot.

(AP Photo/Barry Sweet/stf)

St. Louis Rams: Lawrence Phillips

Lawrence Phillips was a monster on the football field in college, and was part of a legendary Nebraska Cornhuskers rushing attack.

He was also a monster off the field, a major head case and the perfect example of what happens when star athletes are coddled to the point of no return.

Phillips had numerous red flags from his time at Nebraska, including an arrest for assaulting his girlfriend, but that did not stop the St. Louis Rams from taking a chance on the troubled running back with the No. 6 pick in the 1996 draft. The decision backfired quickly.

Phillips continued to find himself in trouble off the field once he reached the NFL, and the Rams grew so tired of his constant trouble that they decided to part ways with him after his second season. By 2000, he was out of the league completely.

His post-football life was as much of a disaster as his NFL career, and he has served several stints in jail. He is currently imprisoned for domestic abuse, vehicle theft and an array of other charges. To make matters worse, he allegedly murdered his cellmate earlier this month.

The worst part about the Rams choosing Phillips as their running back of the future, and what makes this pick even worse than it is already was the young player they traded away upon his arrival; Jerome Bettis.

So to sum up the St. Louis Rams’ 1996 offseason, they traded away a Hall of Fame running back and replaced him with a lifelong criminal that finished his career with 1,453 yards, and 3.5 yards per carry. Ouch.

(Brian Bahr /Allsport)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson was a transcendent star. He also had no desire to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bo Knew. The Bucs knew.

His story with the Buccaneers was always a tumultuous one to say the least. A visit with the team cost him his eligibility for the remainder of his senior college baseball season. He held a grudge against the team as a result. To make matters worse, he was never given the record contract that the team promised him, and the Bucs gave him an ultimatum between choosing football and baseball.

Bo said he would never play in Tampa Bay, and kept his promise. He refused to sign with the team after they selected him No. 1 overall in the 1986 NFL Draft, electing to signing an MLB contract with the Kansas City Royals instead.

He re-entered the NFL Draft the following season and was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders, dropping 182 spots from his selection the year before. The Raiders got a bargain to say the least.

Jackson would gain fame from becoming a multi-sport star, and was far from a bust throughout his career, but the fact that the Bucs drafted him, knowing that he had no intention of playing there, easily makes him the top bust in team history. Though defensive end Charles Haley, the only Hall of Fame player from the 1986 draft, was not selected until the first round, there were eight other Pro Bowl players that they missed out on in the first round alone.

The Bo Jackson fiasco was quite symbolic of their owner Hugh Culverhouse, who further established himself as a moron when he allowed Jackson to walk for nothing, rather than trade away his draft rights. The Bucs would not make the playoffs for over ten years afterwards.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Tennessee Titans: Vince Young

Vince Young is the epitome of what could have been. He was a superstar at the University of Texas, coming off of a thrilling BCS National Championship victory. The athletic and extremely gifted young quarterback took down Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart in one of the most exciting college football games in recent memory, and his performance was historically the greatest by any quarterback in a BCS Championship Game.

As a result of his hype, as well as his hometown team, the Houston Texans, owning the first overall pick, it was thought that he was a lock to take over in Houston, a team that had struggled for years under quarterback David Carr. Fortunately for Texans fans, they passed on Young. Tennessee Titans fans were not so lucky, although at the time they thought they had a steal.

Young was not always a bust. In fact, he was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl during his first season in the league. That would become the high point of his career, however. Despite making the Pro Bowl and winning the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2009, he still managed to throw more interceptions than touchdowns during his career, and the only reason he was Comeback Player of the Year is because he lost his job to an aging Kerry Collins, who led the team to the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Young, his poor attitude and mental incapacities were too much to overcome, even with his tremendous athletic abilities. Struggles with coaches, particularly head coach Jeff Fisher, as well as his poor play had him out of Tennessee by 2010, and out of the league one year later.

An honorable mention is the quarterback brought in to replace Young, Jake Locker. Locker could never stay healthy, and retired after four subpar years in the NFL this offseason.

(AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)

Washington Redskins: Heath Shuler

When you are a third overall NFL Draft pick who loses his job to the seventh round quarterback selected with the purpose of being your backup for the next decade, it is safe to call your career a bust.

That is exactly what happened to Heath Shuler, a Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1993 and the Washington Redskins‘ first pick of the 1994 draft.

Shuler was a star at Tennessee, but that was as far as his football success would go. He started 13 games over two seasons before losing his starting job to Gus Frerotte for good before the 1996 season.

The next year he would be traded to the New Orleans Saints, and his abysmal career would continue there for just one more season. Despite hanging around the league for five seasons, he only made starts in three of those, appearing in a total of one game in the other two years of his career, with his only statistics being one fumble on one rushing attempt.

He finished his career compiling horrific numbers of a 49.2 completion percentage, 3,691 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

I feel much worse for Redskins fans than I do for Shuler, however, as Shuler’s career after football includes owning a very successful real estate firm and a six-year run as a member of the House of Representatives.

In addition to his successful business ventures and political career following his time in the NFL, Shuler has also managed to find humor in his shortcomings as a professional football player. Just last year, he appeared alongside fellow NFL Draft busts Brian Bosworth and Matt Leinart in a Dish TV commercial in which the trio reminisces about their much more successful college days, wishing that they could go back.

(AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Whether it is a chance to redeem a horrible season by selecting the next big superstar, witnessing your favorite team make a franchise-changing blockbuster trade or cheering on your fellow alumni who are embarking on their new career and hopefully bringing good exposure to your school, the draft gives sports fans plenty of reasons for optimism.

It also gives them plenty of reasons to worry.

Every team has botched important draft picks over the years, whether it has been selecting a coveted player that completely flops, passing over a future Hall of Fame player or drafting someone who never even suits up for them.

The Minnesota Vikings even failed to get their selection in on time one year. As a result, they dropped two spots back, as the next two teams rushed their picks to the podium.

More craziness is sure to ensue as the draft kicks off on Thursday, and no matter how smart you think your team's Draft Day braintrust is, even the best football minds in the business have their regrettable moments from this fateful day. In the NFL Draft, no team is safe from big-time blunders.

The draft may have moved from New York City to Chicago, but the stakes are just as high as they always are, and each organization has plenty of room to make the next disastrous move.

Here we take a look at each team's biggest mistake in the draft, and in doing so, remind people that there is no such thing as a sure thing come Draft Day.

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