No. 20 – JaMarcus Russell, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders, 2007 NFL Draft
The 2007 NFL Draft was loaded with future Hall of Famers, including Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Adrian Peterson, and Darrelle Revis. However, after a season with Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter, the Raiders turned to who they believed would be their face of the franchise, JaMarcus Russell.
After throwing 28 touchdowns and for over 3,100 yards during the 2006 season at LSU, Russell was at the forefront of the class with Brady Quinn being the only other quarterback selected in the first round.
However, once in the NFL Russell struggled nearly immediately. Playing in four games his rookie season, and starting just one, Russell only threw for 373 yards and tossed four interceptions to his two touchdowns. Over just three seasons in the NFL, all with Oakland, Russell totaled 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while maintaining a 52.1 completion percentage and throwing for 4,083 yards.
Although the 2007 NFL Draft didn’t turn out any successful quarterbacks, the list of top tier players at other positions paired with Russell’s quick career makes this one of the biggest busts in not only the last 20 years but in the history of the NFL Draft.
Had the Raiders turned to Joe Thomas as an offensive line cornerstone or even went with Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson as a young playmaker, the franchise’s trajectory could have been completely different.