The Twenty Worst Offensive First Round Picks in NFL Draft History

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There are hundreds of former college stars that are going to be anxiously awaiting their names to be called at the NFL Draft this week, some of them expect to hear it sooner than others. The selection of a draft pick is a gamble and there are no sure things anymore. Most years it works out well for the team with the 1st overall choice, but almost every single season we watch one or two teams draft someone in the first round who doesn’t quite pan out. Those are the busts and they are the ones we came here to discuss today.

When it comes to drafting offensive players, there is never a sure-fire answer, only low-risk options. Sometimes a QB might have everything you want and all the tools you think will make him successful but then the lights come on and something else happens. The same goes for running backs and wide receivers. They can’t guarantee that they will not get injured or will have difficulty learning a new offense or even get beaten out for the job. Here are some of the biggest offensive First Round busts in NFL draft history.

20. David Terrell, WR, Bears

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 8th (2001)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2001 – 2005 (5)
  • Games Started (Games): 29 (54)
  • Players taken after him: Drew Brees (QB), Reggie Wayne (WR), Steve Smith Sr. (WR)
  • What makes him a bust? David Terrell was the last time the Chicago Bears drafted a WR in the first round of the draft until 2015 when they took Kevin White, who missed the entire season from an injury. So maybe the Bears should stop drafting WR in the first round, it’s not something they are very good at, yet.

19. Jim Druckenmiller, QB, 49ers

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 26th (1997)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1997 – 1998 (2)
  • Games Started (Games): 1 (6)
  • Players taken after him: Jason Taylor (DE), Ronde Barber (DB), Tiki Barber (RB)
  • What makes him a bust? He was just plain terrible. He was Steve Young’s backup and honestly would never have been a starter at that level.

18. Troy Williamson, WR, Vikings

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 7th (2005)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2005 – 2009 (5)
  • Games Started (Games): 24 (49)
  • Players taken after him: Aaron Rodgers (QB), Logan Mankins (OG), Demarcus Ware (LB), Frank Gore (RB)
  • What makes him a bust? After coming in as the next big playmaker, he turned into nothing more than just another average WR in the NFL. His biggest problem was catching the football, he couldn’t seem to do it, ever.

17. Jason Smith, OT, Rams

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 2nd (2009)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2009 – 2012 (4)
  • Games Started (Games): 26 (29)
  • Players taken after him: Clay Matthews (LB), LeSean McCoy (RB), Louis Vasquez (OG)
  • What makes him a bust? Any time a team drafts an offensive tackle with the 2nd pick overall, he is going to be their future LT protecting the QB. But Jason Smith started at RT and just didn’t make it in the NFL. He bounced around a few seasons before giving up.

16. Art Schlichter, QB, Colts

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 4th (1982)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1982 – 1985 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 6 (13)
  • Players taken after him: Marcus Allen (RB), Mike Munchak (OG), Andre Tippett (LB), Mark Duper (WR)
  • What makes him a bust? Art Schlichter proves that gambling can ruin lives. It ruined his. He ended up spending his entire rookie contract by mid-season and eventually was suspended by the Colts before eventually leaving the NFL.

15. Terry Baker, QB, Rams

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 1st (1963)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1963 – 1965
  • Games Started (Games): 1 (18)
  • Players taken after him: Bobby Bell (LB), Buck Buchanan (DT), Dave Robinson (LB), Jackie Smith (TE), John Mackey (TE)
  • What makes him a bust? The Heisman trophy winner proved that there is a huge difference between college and the NFL. He ended up in the CFL but it just didn’t pan out.

14. Heath Shuler, QB, Redskins

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 3rd (1994)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1994 – 1997 (4)
  • Games Started (Games): 22 (29)
  • Players taken after him: Kevin Mawae (C), Isaac Bruce (WR), Tom Nalen (C), Larry Allen (OG), Bryant Young (DT)
  • What makes him a bust? Heath Shuler once got turf toe getting off the Saints team bus. That’s right, you heard us correctly. He got turf toe stepping off a bus. That is the perfect example of Heath Shuler.

13. Curtis Enis, RB, Bears

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 5th (1998)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1998 – 2000 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 18 (36)
  • Players taken after him: Randy Moss (WR), Alan Faneca (OG), Fred Taylor (RB), Hines Ward (WR)
  • What makes him a bust? When a rookie starts off their career in the NFL as a holdout, things normally don’t go over too well and during his rookie season, in week nine, he tore his ACL. He was never the same running back and the knee continued to give him issues util eventually he had to give up and find something else to do with his life.

12. Blair Thomas, RB, Jets

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 2nd (1990)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1990 – 1995 (6)
  • Games Started (Games): 36 (64)
  • Players taken after him: Junior Seau (LB), Emmitt Smith (RB), Cortez Kennedy (DT), Shannon Sharpe (TE)
  • What makes him a bust? Emmitt Smith and Rodney Hampton were also available in this draft causing fans to always wonder what if.

11. Akili Smith, QB, Bengals

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 3rd (1999)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1999 – 2002 (4)
  • Games Started (Games): 17 (22)
  • Players taken after him: Edgerrin James (RB), Champ Bailey (DB), Torry Holt (WR), Joey Porter (LB)
  • What makes him a bust? The Saints wanted Ricky Williams and were throwing everything at the Bengals to move up but they turned it down and drafted Oregon’s QB, Akili Smith. He ended up getting benched in his second season before Jon Kitna came in and replaced him.

10. Andre Ware, QB, Lions

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 7th (1990)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1990 – 1993 (4)
  • Games Started (Games): 6 (14)
  • Players taken after him: Emmitt Smith (RB), Richmond Webb (OT), Shannon Sharpe (TE)
  • What makes him a bust? Unfortunately, many Detroit Lions fans blame Andre Ware for keeping them from making any Super Bowls thanks to his inability to hand the ball off to Barry Sanders and manage the game.

9. Jim Detwiler, RB, Colts

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 20th (1967)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons):
  • Games Started (Games):
  • Players taken after him:
  • What makes him a bust? Blame Baltimore’s front office staff for this bad pick back in 1967. They didn’t do their research to find out he had a bad knee. He ended up not playing a single down in the NFL, ever.

8. Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Bengals

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 1st (1995)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1996 – 2004 (7)
  • Games Started (Games): 14 (59)
  • Players taken after him: Derrick Brooks (LB), Warren Sapp (DT), Curtis Martin (RB), Steve McNair (QB)
  • What makes him a bust? In 8 seasons, he amassed 1,144 yards total. The future of the NFL was a stud at Penn State and the hype surrounding him coming into the NFL was huge. He was supposed to be a game changer but failed to do much of anything.

7. Lawrence Phillips, RB, Rams

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 6th (1996)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1996 – 1999 (4)
  • Games Started (Games): 20 (35)
  • Players taken after him: Ray Lewis (LB), Marvin Harrison (WR), Terrell Owens (WR), Zach Thomas (LB)
  • What makes him a bust? On the field, he was a bruising back that could have become the next great NFL RB. But off the field, he had demons that led to him eventually being sentenced to 32 years in jail during which he was accused of killing his cellmate. He died earlier this year of an apparent suicide and is having his brain donated to science to be examined for CTE.

6. Tony Mandarich, OT, Packers

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 2nd (1989)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1989 – 1998 (6)
  • Games Started (Games): 63 (86)
  • Players taken after him: Barry Sanders (RB), Deion Sanders (DB), Derrick Thomas (LB), Andre Rison (WR)
  • What makes him a bust? For those of you who don’t know who he is, Tony Mandarich was the most dominant Offensive lineman ever to come out of college. This guy was massive, scary, and intimidating. But then, we found out why, steroids. And the rest was history.

5. Charles Rogers, WR, Lions

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 2nd (2003)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2003 – 2005 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 9 (15)
  • Players taken after him: Lance Briggs (LB), Terrell Suggs (LB), Andre Johnson (WR), Anquan Boldin (WR), Troy Polamalu (DB)
  • What makes him a bust? Charles Rogers broke his collar bone during his rookie season before breaking it again the following season. This injury led to his addiciton to pain killers and marijuana leading to his eventual downfall from the NFL. After several arrests and drug violations, his career was over.

4. Dick Leftridge, RB, Steelers

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 3rd (1966)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1966 (1)
  • Games Started (Games): 0 (4)
  • Players taken after him: John Niland (OG), Diron Talbert (DT), Doug Buffone (LB)
  • What makes him a bust? There are so many conflicting reports as to why Dick Leftridge, an amazing athlete in college, ended up fading out within the first four games of his NFL career. His weight was an issue but some say he lost his desire to play. The true cause is not really known and might not ever be confirmed.

3. Tim Couch, QB, Browns

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 1st (1999)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1999 – 2003 (5)
  • Games Started (Games): 59 (62)
  • Players taken after him: Edgerrin James (RB), Champ Bailey (DB), Torry Holt (WR), Joey Porter (LB), Donovan McNabb (QB)
  • What makes him a bust? Tim Couch did put up decent numbers at first but he was never more than average at best. The fact that Donovan McNabb was taken after him caused Browns fans even more pain.

2. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Raiders

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 1st (2007)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2007 – 2009 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 25 (31)
  • Players taken after him: Patrick Willis (LB), Adrian Peterson (RB), Darrelle Revis (DB), Calvin Johnson (WR), Joe Thomas (OT), Marshawn Lynch (RB), Ryan Kalil (C)
  • What makes him a bust? The one team that JaMarcus Russell should’t have gone to was the Oakland Raiders. They had a young and inexperienced offensive line that failed to protect the rookie causing him to spiral out of control from the first moment he put on the uniform.

1. Ryan Leaf, QB, Chargers

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 2nd (1998)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1998 – 2001 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 21 (25)
  • Players taken after him: Randy Moss (WR), Alan Faneca (OG), Charles Woodson (DB)
  • What makes him a bust? The Chargers traded away everything to move up one spot to take him which put all the pressure on this kid to be the face of the franchise. Without the support of the franchise to help protect you as a rookie QB, you have very little chances to survive in the league.