Biggest 1st Round Draft Busts of the last Decade


Who are the biggest draft busts of the last decade?  There have been many. Read on to find out some of those you remember vividly and others that may have slipped from your mind. (Spoiler Alert: Bills  fans it’s not pretty).

Decade is the last 10 years, but I’m going to push it back a year, so from 2009 draft-to 2000 draft (2009 counts as one so that’s 10 years) because one year in is much, much too early to call someone a bust and even two or three years, but I’ll allow it for npw.

To me, it’s a bigger bust if someone can’t stay on the roster or in the league then if someone was drafted higher didn’t produce much. Of course, top 10 picks are weighted more than the last 22 picks in the round, but all first round picks are elegible for this list. Here goes.


Andre Smith-Just seems like a guy who’ doesn’t get it. There were questoins about his dedication before the draft, and he has been a dissapointment.

Darruis Heyward Bey-Speed to burn, but not great complementary Wide Receiver (Murphy’s ok) and no great quarterback is going to hurt his chances to become more than what he is right now. I hope he does well because I’m rooting for the Bills, Raiders, Browns and some of the other teams of that ilk to return to their glory days.

Heyward Bey was considered a major reach, but also a project so I”m not fully giving up on him yet. The one thing you like is the significant improvement from last year. Still it seems as though Maclin, Crabtree, or Nicks would have been much better picks at 7th overall for the Raiders.

Aaron Maybin-Could barely get on the field for the Bills and seems likely to be released this off-season once a CBA is in place. Maybin was a major reach by the Bills who look very foolish now for passing up Brian Orakpo in favor of Maybin. As you will see Bills and first round picks are a revovling theme in the past decade and a clear indication as to why the Bills haven’t been in the playoffs lately.

Donald Brown-

There was a lot of speculation that the Colts liked Hakeem Nicks before the draft, but they passed up on him in favor of Donald Brown. And Giants fans thank you, Mr. Polian. Brown has been battling injuries and is averaging under 4.0 yards per carry, which is not what you want from a first round running back.

Peria Jerry-been battling a lot of injuries, but might still develop been a big dissapointment so far.


Vernon Gholston, Drafted 6th overall by the New York Jets. How bad has Gholston be he had a million (I think multi-million) dollar bonus if he did essentially ANYTHING on the field this year and he didn’t. No sacks, 12 tackles this year 5 starts in three years.

Derrick Harvey (8 sacks), 62 tackles. Harvey still has a bit of time to turn it around, but time is running out. Another case, as have most of the busts so far been an example of why it makes NO SENSE TO FILL NEEDS instead of grabbing players that will be good players in the N.F.L.

I never understand why fans want to by pass players seen as very good players for players that fill needs (for example if the Chiefs drafted Mark Ingram-one of our top players-over Phil Taylor, a player with character concerns and weight maintenance problems Cheifs fans would be pissed. But if three years from now Taylor isnt making an impact and Ingram is rushing fo 1200 yards a year who would seem silly to think it was a mistake three years from now).


Jamarcuss Russel-

I think he might be the heavy favorite to be the #1 bust of the last decade. He received  ridiculous contract and showed no drive to maximize on his immense talent. Russel has thrown 18 TD and 23 INT and doesn’t seem likely to get another shot in the league, and if so what a sad ending to a very talented quarterback.  Russel, arguably is the biggest reason why the Raiders have not been able to make it to the playoffs despite decent pieces around the Quarterback position.

Gaines Adams-I’m not going to harp on this one because of the cirumstances of why he’s a “bust”. Sad story.

Jamaal Anderson (4 sacks) for the Falcons. Drafted by the Falcons and again a player considered a reach when he was drafted, looks like he will be replaced by a new rookie defensive end this year.

Justin Harrell (28 tackles, and 4 sacks)-

Has been injured his entire young career, missing a lot of time and only playing in 14 games. Harrell also tore his ACL and is not likely to remain with the team moving forward (speculation), and if not, he might not get another chance by another team. Making him a true bust, and one of the few missteps of the Packers have made in the draft recently.


Matt Leinart-More known for partying than anything else. Leinart was seen as a savior of the Cardinals franchise and the player finally to get them back to the playoffs and away from being a “laughing-stock” of the league. Little did the Cardinals know that player would actually be Kurt Warner. He threw 14 TD and 20 INT with the Cardinals in 16 starts before leaving the Cardinals and playing as a backup QB for the Texans last year (did not get into any games).

Bobby Carpenter drafted 18th overall by the Cowboys Carpenter has 136 tackles in 5 years, for three different teams: the Cowboys, the Dolphins, and Lions. The Lions who are devoid of linebackers now will be moving on from Carpenter as well. He has only made 6 starts since being drafted.

John McCargo (32 tackles, and 2.5 sacks, 1 game started)-Add one more to the Bills list of misses in the first round. The Bills do not have a talented defensive line, yet McCargo was only able to start one game since being drafted in 2006. He might be a player who is out of chances in the NFL>


Alex Smith-of all the busts listed so far Smith, perhaps, has the best chance of turning things around. He’s shown more than some of the others. He’s had QB ratings of 82.1 and 81.5 the last two seasons, which are not historically bad. I’m not ready to fully say he’s a big bust. The problem you have with Smith here is that the 49ers chose him over Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has the potential to end up in the Hall of Fame if he plays as well the next 8-1o years as he has the last two years, which would make it even tougher.

Troy Williamson-drafted by the Vikings now wiht Jaguars (1,3131 receiving yards in 6 years), Travis Johnson (136 tackles, and 3 sacks. 2 sacks with the Texans left team after the 2008 season now with the Chargers)

Mike Williams,WR-Clearly, a bust for the Detroit Lions but has resurrected his career in Seattle.


J.P. Losman (33 TD, 34 INT now out of the league). Now out of the NFL. Losman is just one more in a string of busts the last decade by the Buffalo Bills.

Chris Perry (177 carries 606 yards, 2 Touchdowns).  Because he was drafted 26th overall, he doesn’t make many lists of big-time busts, but he had pathetic contributions.

Rashaun Woods– 7 catches 160 yards). Woods played one season, missed 2005 season with a thumb injury was traded to the chargers and cut, and then tried out for NFL Europea, and then went to the Argonuats (CFL) in the same year was cut, and signed with Hamilton Tiger-Cats( and then cut). Will he make the list of the top 10 busts, I mean was only on the roster for really one season!


Charles Rogers (36 catches for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns), Jonathan Sullivan drafted by the Saints 6th overall (77 tackles, 1.5 sacks). A big reason (but there are many more) why Lions fans cringe when they hear the name Matt Millen

Michael Haynes-drafted 14th overall by the Bears in 2003 played three years with the Bears signed with the Saints, but didn’t appear in any games in 2004. Hasn’t played in the N.F.L. since.  One of the forgotten busts I mention.

Kyle Boller drafted by the Ravens played with the Ravens for 5 years has also played with both the Rams and Raiders.


David Carr-is Generally conisdered one of the biggest busts of the past decade because he was drafted first overall, but in fairness that was to an expansion franchise with a terrible offensive line and unlike many of the busts he’s still able to remain in the league and is a trusted backup. That’s not what you’re looking for the first pick in the draft, but is that better than first round picks who don’t even last four years in the draft.

(started 5 years with the Texans 65 TD, 71 INT, 14,443 yards. Still in the league backed up for the Panthers, Giants, and 49ers. Still in the league).

Joey Harrington-

What a terrible top 10 in the 2002 NFL Draft. Harrington was also a big bust.  Drafted 3rd overall by the Lions-played with the Lions 4 years, the Dolphins, Falcons, and Saints. Last time registered a “game” was in 2007 with the Falcons. 79 TD and 85 INT)

Mike Williams-drafted 4th overall by the Bills played started 32 games for them. Made a comeback in 2009 after a brief stint with the Jaguars in 2006, and started 8 games for the Redskins in 2009. Wendall Bryant played three years with the Cardinals registering 28 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Started 9 games and didn’t play a game after 2004.

Robert Thomas-Drafted by the Rams played three seasons with them registering 2 sacks and 163 tackles.

William Green drafted by the Browns-2,109 yards at 3.7 yards per carry over four seasons and only 9 touchdowns. Didn’t play after 2005.

William Joseph-drafted by the Gmen played with them until 2007 and the last two years with the Raiders has 88 tackles and 7 sacks.

Patrick Ramsey drafted by the Redskins, surprisingly still in the league last year, but has 35 TD and 30 INT

Andre Woolfork played for four years with the Titans grabbing three interceptions..


Gerrard Warren 3rd overall by Browns. Actually has 35.5 career sacks, and played in 2010. A bust because of high how he was drafted, but he’s not a true “bust” because of his longevity in the NFL.

David Terrell 8th overall by the Bears. 1602

Jamaal Reynolds-drafted 10th overall by the Packers- 14 tackles and 3 sacks over three years. Only played 3 years in the league.

Willie Middlebrook drafted 24th overall by Broncos, only had 2 starts, no interceptions, and one sack over 4 years with the Broncos and one other year in the league.


Courtney Brown-selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns. Played five years with them registering 17 sacks, played two more years with the Broncos adding two more sacks.

Rashard Anderson-drafted 23rd overall by the Panthers played four years had 51 tackles and 1 int, made only 9 starts

Erik Flowers-Buffalo Bills 26th overall pick had 5 sacks and 6 starts.

R.J. Soward-drafted 29th overall by the Jaguars “played” 5 years with the Jaguars started 2 games his rookie year, didn’t appear in any game after his rookie year had 14 catches for 154 yards in his career 1 touchdown. According to wikipedia he currently plays for the IFL’s Wenatachee Valley Venom.

Soward drunk himself out of the league,

According to wikipedia.

After wearing out his welcome with the Jags in training camp, before playing in his first game under head coach Tom Coughlin (who had gone so far as to send a limousine, at the team’s expense, to pick up Soward every day for practice, just to make sure he would come), he was suspended several times by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He has not filed for re-instatement since his last suspension. Though many media outlets attributed the suspension to marijuana, his suspension came as a result of alcohol abuse. “I can honestly say I was an alcoholic at that time in my life,” Soward recollects. “That’s why I’m not playing in the NFL, because I was an alcoholic at that time.”

Trund Caidate drafted 32nd overall by the Rams played four years in the league rushing for just over a 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns.

I’ll unevil the list from 10th to 1st this weekend. Until then I’d love to hear your thougths on who they should be.

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