Top 10 NFL Draft busts
10. QB, David Carr, Houston Texans
Carr was the first player ever selected by the Houston Texans. With that came a lot of pressure and expectations. He started out well in his first three seasons, then Carr began to lose his confidence and composure in the pocket and the sack numbers began piling up. The Texans sent Carr packing after 2006 and Carr has jumped between the Giants, 49ers and Panthers serving as a backup quarterback.
9. DE, Aundray Bruce, Atlanta Falcons
Bruce was selected first overall by the Atlanta Falcons and was regarded as the second coming of Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor. He didn’t quite amount to that. He only recorded 264 tackles and 32 sacks in 11 seasons. He had poor work ethic and his maturity was questioned throughout his career. Tim Brown, Sterling Sharpe and Michael Irvin are players that were selected behind Bruce.
8. QB, Heath Shuler, Washington Redskins
Shuler was a better politician than quarterback. He was picked third overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1994 draft. His rookie campaign started with a holdout that resulted in poor play on the field and later led to him being replaced by seventh round pick Gus Frerotte. He finished his career with 3,691 yards, 15 TDS and 33 INTS before retiring and going on to become a successful politician and serving in Congress.
7. RB, Lawrence Phillips, St. Louis Rams
Phillips had serious off-the-field concerns, but that didn’t stop the St. Louis Rams from drafting him sixth overall in the 1996 draft–ahead of Marvin Harrison, Ray Lewis and Terrell Owens. In his first year, he was arrested three times and fined by the Rams approximately 30 times. The Rams released him after two years. He had brief stints in Miami and San Francisco that were cut short due to arrests. He now finds himself in a California jail cell after being sentenced to seven counts of assault.
6. QB, Akili Smith, Cincinatti Bengals
Smith was selected third overall in the 1999 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. During his time in Cincinnati, he only started 17 games over a course of four years and threw for a total of 2,212 yards, 5 TDS and 13 INTS. He was released in 2002 and later took a stab in a Canadian football league where he didn’t fare very well either. He was released in 2007.
5. LB, Brian Bosworth, Seattle Seahawks
Not sure anyone ever generated as much hype as “The Boz.” He was better at being a celebrity and garnering attention than he was at playing football. He was a two-time Linebacker of the Year in college, but was later kicked off the team for failing drug tests. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1987 supplemental draft and only played two seasons in the NFL due to constant injuries.
4. WR, Charles Rogers, Detroit Lions
Before there was hype around Megatron in Detroit, there was hype surrounding Charles Rogers. He was selected No. 2 overall in the 2003 draft and only managed 440 receiving yards and four TDS in three seasons with the Lions. He battled with injuries, drug use and arrests throughout his short career.
3. OT, Tony Mandarich, Green Bay Packers
Prior to the 1989 draft, Mandarich was considered, by some, to be the best offensive lineman prospect ever. He was nothing close to that. Throughout his career, he was under suspicion for steroid use, which turned out to be true. He also admitted to being addicted to pain killers during the three turbulent seasons he spent in Green Bay. He’s the biggest bust in Green Bay history, while other players from that draft class have Hall of Fame busts: Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders.
2. QB, JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders
Russell only loss four games in his college career, but that success didn’t translate into the NFL. He was the No.1 overall pick in 2007 and was paid $39 million to produce seven wins, 18 TD passes and balloon to 300 pounds. He was picked ahead of Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Darrelle Revis and Patrick Willis. Russell is looking to make a return to the NFL, but that seems very unlikely.
1. QB, Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers
Leaf was the second overall pick in 1998, a draft that included Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Randy Moss—all future Hall of Famers. He was selected behind Manning and some considered him to be a better prospect. How notoriously wrong they were. He started off his career with two victories, and then everything went down the drain from there. He finished his career with 36 INTS to just 14 TDS.