Bracket: 21st Century Biggest NFL Draft Busts
The 12 biggest NFL Draft flops since the turn of the century.
Biggest NFL Draft Busts, 21st Century To Date: Seed List
1. JaMarcus Russell (2007 #1, Oakland). Is anyone surprised by this? Russell is up there with the worst NFL busts ever. Drafted number one out of LSU, this quarterback didn’t impress me a ton in college, but for whatever reason, teams wanted him. He rewarded Oakland’s faith with a miserable 31-game career. He threw 18 touchdown passes with a 65.2 career passer rating.
2. Charles Rogers (2003 #2, Detroit). This wide receiver taken second by the Lions did next to nothing at the pro level. Detroit wasn’t planning on their top-two draft pick only playing in 15 games and catching four touchdowns. Then again, look who was throwing to him (he’s on the list, too).
3. Vernon Gholston (2008 #6, New York Jets). Gang Green has never been known for their faultless draft picks. Gholston was among the worst of them all, appearing in 45 games and recording just 42 tackles with no sacks. Having a good bench at the Combine doesn’t mean squat.
4. Trent Richardson (2012 #3, Cleveland). The Cleveland Browns, the real mistake by the lake, guessed wrong on Richardson. He was widely praised coming out of college, but the NFL hasn’t been his thing. In 46 games, he’s scored 17 touchdowns with just over 2,000 yards.
5. Dion Jordan (2013 #3, Miami). This defensive end managed 46 tackles and three sacks in two years with the Dolphins. To make matters worse, he missed the whole 2015 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Miami got zippo return on investment for Jordan, now getting a tryout with the Seahawks.
6. Jason Smith (2009 #2, St. Louis). The Rams saw the frequently-concussed Smith come up short against the pass rush. Despite being the second overall pick in 2009, his career in St. Louis was a forgettable one.
7. Johnathan Sullivan (2003 #6, New Orleans). Perhaps the worst draft bust in New Orleans Saints history, Sullivan’s 36 games in the NFL saw little statistical activity. Compounding the misery, New Orleans had traded two first round picks to go up and get this defensive tackle. Their prize was a lousy sack and a half.
8. Joey Harrington (2002 #3, Detroit). Harrington stuck around in the NFL longer than some might have expected given his disastrous tenure in Detroit. The former Oregon Duck threw 85 picks in 81 NFL games with a career passer rating of 69.4.
9. Troy Williamson (2005 #7, Minnesota). It’s tough following up Randy Moss. Williamson never came close to actually filling the Hall of Famer’s shoes. He caught 87 passes and only four touchdowns in his 49-game career marred by drops.
10. David Carr (2002 #1, Houston). 2002’s number one pick remained in the NFL for 11 seasons, which in itself is a miracle. Carr is probably still getting sacked now and he hasn’t played in years. He threw 65 touchdowns and 71 picks in his time, which isn’t quite what you want out of a guy drafted first in franchise history. Houston eventually cut him loose in 2006.
11. Blaine Gabbert (2011 #10, Jacksonville). Gabbert remains an NFL player, but not a very good one. A top ten pick out of Mizzou, he flopped and flailed in Jacksonville before going to San Francisco and making a pedestrian career for himself.
12. Courtney Brown (2000 #1, Cleveland). The Browns had a nice little run of terrible first-round picks. In 1999, it was Tim Couch, and in 2000, Courtney Brown. His injury-prone career was brief and not noteworthy.