The Biggest NFL Draft Busts Ever

These are the mistakes that will haunt an NFL GM forever. Well these and that time, he hit a homeless person with his car.

1. Ryan Leaf, QB — San Diego Chargers

Year: 1998

Pick: 2nd Overall

Why: To say Ryan Leaf came into the NFL with a chip on his shoulder would be like saying that Ron Artest seems somewhat unstable. Leaf was considered by many to be the best quarterback in the draft, but after blowing off his interview in Indianapolis, those idiot Colts went with some jerk named Peyton Manning. Dummies. The Chargers jumped at the opportunity and traded away multiple first round picks to move up one spot (from the third pick to the second) and guarantee they could take Leaf.

That was a mistake. Leaf’s three year career was marked by a giant salary,screaming fits at his teammates, and a disdain for the media. All of this might have been okay if his career QB rating had been higher than 50 (of a possible 158.3). It wasn’t.

2. JaMarcus Russell, QB — Oakland Raiders

Year: 2007

Pick: 1st Overall

Why: Coming out of LSU, Russell was supposed to be a franchise-changing quarterback. Instead he turned out to be a money-draining albatross. Russell turned the ball over constantly, made almost $40 million in three years, and was rarely in shape.

3. Tim Couch, QB — Cleveland Browns

Year: 1999

Pick: 1st Overall

Why: The Browns were looking for a cornerstone to start their franchise, and the draft of 1999 was loaded with potential choices: Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, Daunte Culpepper, Ricky Williams, and Champ Bailey, among others who would have very successful careers. But the Browns went with Tim Couch. A guy who couldn’t evade a sack even if the defense had to count “5x” before rushing. He was out of the league in five years.

4. Charles Rogers, WR — Detroit Lions

Year: 2003

Pick: 2nd Overall

Why: This one is sad, because it doesn’t feel like it was ever Rogers fault. The Michigan State star receiver had everything you could want from an NFL wideout. He was an athletic freak, who was almost always among the tallest and fastest guys on the field. Hell, in his debut he scored two touchdowns for the lowly Lions. But after only five games he broke his collarbone and was out for the year. The following year he broke his collarbone again in his first game back.

Rogers would eventually get in trouble for violating the league’s substance abuse policy by testing positive for marijuana multiple times, but after the start his career had, can you blame him?

5. Art Schlichter, QB — Indianapolis Colts

Year: 1982

Pick: 4th Overall

Why: Schlichter ended up playing in a total of 13 games. Why? Because he was a gambling addict who was suspended for his vice by the NFL the 1983 season. It turns out that if you’re more interested in games that you bet on than ones you’re playing in, you’re going to have some trouble adapting to the league.

6. Lawrence Phillips, RB — St. Louis Rams

Year: 1996

Pick: 6th Overall

Why: The Rams could have drafted Terry Glenn, Eddie Geore, Marvin Harrison, or Ray Lewis. Instead they went with troubled Nebraska star Lawrence Phillips. Phillips would rush for only 14 touchdown in his entire career, and was out of the NFL in four years. He’s now in jail serving a 10 year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon.

7. Heath Shuler, QB — Washington Redskins

Year: 1994

Pick: 3rd Overall

Why: Shuler would only start 22 games in his entire NFL career and would go 8-14. In his four year career Shuler threw a total of 15 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. When Shuler retired from football he successfully ran for congress and served as a representative from North Carolina. So Shuler finally did something impressive in Washington, which is nice.

8. Tony Mandarich, T — Green Bay Packers

Year: 1989

Pick: 2nd Overall

Why: A man who’s name was synonymous with draft bust, was once thought to be “the best offensive line prospect ever,” but in a loaded year that featured three Hall of Famers (Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, and Deion Sanders) getting drafted immediately following Mandarich, the Packers probably wish they would have gone with one of the players that wasn’t an alcoholic steroid user.

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