I didn’t realize it when I did Volume I, II and III, but I might have saved the best (or worst) NFL Draft busts for last. The two divisions out west more than held their own in the race for worst divisions picking in the first round. There are top ten picks all over the place and some of the most famous busts in last twenty years.
Kansas City Ryan Sims 2002 6th overall North Carolina
Sims was considered the number one defensive lineman in the draft. Sims however lasted just four years in KC before being traded for future considerations. Once Herman Edwards was hired to coach the Chiefs, Sims quickly found a spot on the bench. His totals as a Chief – 54 tackles, 5 sacks and one interception.
Big miss: Dwight Freeney
Oakland JaMarcus Russell 2007 1st overall Louisiana State
This is possibly the easiest pick in this series. Russell had all the physical skills, but only lasted three seasons in the league. Holding out until after the first game of the regular season his first season was a wash, making just one start in the final game of the season. His second season he started fifteen games but didn’t impress enough to earn the job back in year two. Russell made nine starts in year three until getting benched for good. He got the wrap of being lazy and coming into camp overweight. The combination of a lack of results, a lack of motivation – oh yeah – and a drug wrap, has kept him out of the league since.
Big miss: Calvin Johnson
Denver Jarvis Moss 2007 17th overall Florida
Due to my belief that Tim Tebow as an NFL quarterback will eventually be a joke, it was hard not to pick Tebow, but he basically saved the season for the Broncos last year. Denver traded up to get Moss, but because of injury Moss played just six games as a rookie. His second season was underwhelming as well. He played in twelve games and made 12 tackles. The next year he was released.
Big miss: Dwayne Bowe
San Diego Ryan Leaf 1998 2nd overall Washington State
If Russell was the easiest pick, Leaf was the second easiest. People forget Leaf started his career 2-0, but things went downhill fast. Game three of his career he was one for fifteen for four yards and two interceptions. He would win just two more games in three seasons. He would miss most of season two with an injury and ineffective play doomed his third and final season with the Chargers. His final San Diego stat line was 13 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.
Big miss: Charles Woodson
San Francisco Jim Druckenmiller 1997 26th overall Virginia Tech
Druckenmiller was drafted to be the heir apparent to Steve Young, but it didn’t work out that way. He only lasted two years with the 49ers, started one game and appeared in just six. The rest of the league wasn’t impressed either. He was traded to the Dolphins, but was quickly released. No one else bothered with the former Hokie and had his only productive season as a professional in the XFL.
Big miss: Trevor Price
Mirer actually started out pretty well with the Seahawks. He started every game as a rookie and was second in the rookie of the year voting. He showed some promise in year two as well, but by year three defenses had figured out the guy who was once compared to Joe Montana. His third and fourth (and final) seasons with the Seahawks were nowhere near the promise of his first two years. He threw 18 touchdowns and 32 picks in his final two seasons in the Pacific Northwest. Mirer did have a long career as an NFL backup quarterback and all told spent twelve seasons with seven teams.
Big miss: Willie Roaf
St. Louis Lawrence Phillips 1996 6th overall Nebraska
Who – besides the Rams – didn’t see this one coming? Phillips had a troubled history at Nebraska and it only continued in the NFL. Phillips made twenty starts in two years with the Rams and spent 23 days in jail. Midway through his second season the Rams cut ties with their troubled runningback. Phillips had short stints with the Dolphins and the 49ers, but never rushed for more than 650 yards in a season. To make matters worse, on the day of the 1996 Draft, the Rams were so confident they had found the answer at runningback in Phillips that they made a draft day trade with the Steelers. The player they traded – Jerome Bettis.
Big miss: Marvin Harrison
Arizona Matt Leinart 2006 10th overall USC
Leinart was in and out of the lineup during his entire time in Arizona. Injuries in his first two seasons limited his playing time and when he did play his inconsistent play couldn’t keep him in the lineup. After Kurt Warner retired, Leinart had one more shot to win the job in Arizona, but was beat out of a job by Derek Alexander and was soon after released.
Big miss: Haloti Ngata
Brian covers basically all high school sports, but mainly football and wrestling in Minnesota where he has lived his entire life. Fed up with his day job he decided to try writing as a hobby over ten years ago and that hobby has turned into sort of a second career. He has been involved in some way with football since he was a water boy for his high school team when he was in elementary school and has been playing fantasy football since before he could vote.