NFL Draft busts: 15 of the worst picks ever made
Brian Bosworth — 1987 Supplemental Draft
Brian Bosworth's hair was Pro Bowl quality. Brian Bostworth's play, though, was not. Seattle drafted "The Boz" in the 1987 Supplemental Draft but only got two seasons out of him before injuries forced him to retire. Bo Jackson probably got more from the linebacker than the Seahawks did, honestly.
Andre Ware — 7th overall, 1990
Sometimes, Heisman Trophy winners continue to shine in the NFL. Other times, they turn out like Andre Ware. The quarterback played three seasons in Detroit, and for his career, threw for five touchdowns. By comparison, he tossed 44 as a college junior at Houston.
Ki-Jana Carter — 1st overall, 1995
Ki-Jana Carter's career never really got going. After the Bengals made him the top pick in 1995, the running back tore his ACL in his first ever preseason game. More tears and broken bones followed that first injury, which prevented him from living up to his draft status. Over the course of seven NFL seasons, he rushed for just 20 touchdowns.
Ryan Leaf — 2nd overall, 1998
When someone says the phrase "draft busts," Ryan Leaf's name is one of the first that comes to mind. Combine his putrid 14:36 TD:INT ratio with the fact that Peyton Manning went right before Leaf and would be compared to the Chargers' passer whenever possible, and it's not really hard to understand why.
Tim Couch — 1st overall, 1999
To Tim Couch's credit, he did help the Browns reach the playoffs in 2002, and leading the Browns to the playoffs is almost worth a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame on its own. Unfortunately for him, that one year will forever be overshadowed by injuries and medicority, and he'll still live on as a monumental bust and one of the worst first picks ever.
Akili Smith — 3rd overall, 1999
1999 was not a banner year for quarterback selections (although Donovan McNabb did go No. 2). Akili Smith entered the league a couple of slots after Couch and put together an even less successful career. A signal caller who goes that high is normally expected to lay claim to the starter spot at some point, but Smith never really earned it and left the NFL in 2005 with just five TD passes.
Joey Harrington — 3rd overall, 2002
Here's a picture that sums up Joey Harrington's career well. The stud from Oregon turned into a dud with Detroit. Harrington had plenty of chances to get traction as the starter for a franchise desperate for a reliable one, but eventually, he was traded to the Dolphins and then washed out in 2009.
Charles Rogers — 2nd overall, 2003
As if the pain from Harrington's failure wasn't enough, Lions fans were treated to what would prove to be another bust in Charles Rogers a year later. The Michigan State star didn't even record a season's worth of games in the pros due to injuries and drug problems, and reached the end zone just four times for Detroit. He didn't play for another team.
Vince Young — 3rd overall, 2006
Like that obnoxious guy who works with you, Vince Young was the MAN in college. That's why the Titans jumped at the chance to draft him in 2006, and that's why the Titans were crushed when he failed to replicate the highlights he produced for the Longhorns. The dual threat turned out to be a total non-threat and is now playing in Canada.
Matt Leinart — 10th overall, 2006
Matt Leinart, like Young, was a stud in college, but the two really tailed off after meeting for an epic 2006 Rose Bowl. The lefty looked like someone who'd be cast to play a quarterback in a movie, and unfortunately, his level of play matched that. There's nothing wrong with drafting a career backup, unless that guy came off the board really early; then, it's a huge problem.
JaMarcus Russell — 1st overall, 2007
JaMarcus Russell is the prime example as to why you don't draft someone based on a fantastic pro day. The LSU product could throw the ball over a building, but, well, that's about all he could do. Weight issues and work ethic questions were two main factors in him being unable to develop, and he never found a second chance in the NFL.
Vernon Gholston — 6th overall, 2008
When you draft a pass rusher, the general hope is for him to notch like, maybe, a sack here or there. But for Gholston, that task proved to be too tall, as he never ever took a quarterback down. Never. That's about as bust-worthy as it gets.
Aaron Curry — 4th overall, 2009
The Seahawks defense has been a dominant one for the past handful of years, but that's not due to anything Curry added. The Wake Forest linebacker was supposed to be a safe pick, but if that ended up as the case, would he be on this list? He called it quits just four years after starting out with Seattle.
Trent Richardson — 3rd overall, 2012
To wrap up the gallery, let's finish it with two more Browns picks. Trent Richardson, the beast back from Alabama, had trouble consistently getting back to the line of scrimmage on carries after looking solid as a rookie, let alone delivering on his position in the draft. He then busted again with the Colts, who traded a first-round pick for him. A rare double bust.
Johnny Manziel — 22nd overall, 2014
And, finally, there's Johnny Manziel. Manziel is the lowest draft pick to be featured in this list, but he was a first-rounder nonetheless, and his NFL career was a disaster. Cleveland took a risk on Johnny Football, and Johnny Football responded by becoming Johnny Failure. Browns gonna Browns, though.