Photo: via Reddit

Football The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
9.9k votes 876 voters 11.9k views

List Rules Vote up the most-hyped first round picks who failed to perform after Draft Day.

The biggest first round NFL Draft pick busts are those players who were drafted really high, got monster rookie contracts then did little to nothing afterwards. From those who were overhyped only to fail to perform to those whose off-field problems outweighed their on-field performance, these are some of the worst NFL Draft picks of all time.

One name is frequently mentioned as not just the worst first round NFL draft pick ever but the biggest NFL Draft bust of all time: Ryan Leaf. In a fierce race with guaranteed Pro Football Hall of Fame future inductee Peyton Manning, Leaf was selected first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. That's where the fairy tale ends however as on- and off-field issues soon followed. As of 2012, Leaf was serving a lengthy prison sentence for burglary and drug charges. He played just 25 NFL games throwing 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

But Leaf is far from the only NFL Draft bust of note in the history of the league. JaMarcus Russell is frequently mentioned for his inconsistent play and drug issues, not to mention having an amusing athlete mug shot. Bo Jackson was a great NFL player, at least until he dumped the sport and his fans for a baseball career. Don't even get started on quarterbacks drafted by the Cleveland Browns in their miserable history as few, if any, of those stories end well.

While not every first round draft pick is a guaranteed NFL legend, a certain amount of expectation comes with being selected so high and these men all failed miserably. Does a certain NFL Draft bust stick out in your mind as particularly awful? Vote for the worst first round draft picks ever, add any not listed or even re-rank these men who are all among the biggest first round NFL Draft pick busts of all time.
list ordered by

1
436 82
Ryan Leaf is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

2
448 76
JaMarcus Russell is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

3
297 98
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added

4
186 58
Lawrence Philips is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

5
212 64
Tony Mandarich is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

6
185 54
Todd Marinovich is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

7
181 60
Akili Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

8
176 48
Trent Richardson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Running back

9
94 36
Andre Ware is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

10
156 66
Matt Leinart is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

11
157 50
Charles Rogers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

12
106 56
Ki-Jana Carter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Running back

13
176 83
Tim Couch is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

14
121 46
Art Schlichter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

15
127 58
Heath Shuler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

16
103 34
Brady Quinn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Quarterback

17
108 49
Vernon Gholston is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive end, Linebacker

18
47 28
Rick Mirer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

19
107 49
Courtney Brown is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive lineman

20
49 25
Steve Entman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Steve Entman Defensive Tackle

21
88 37
Dan McGwire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Quarterback - Drafted ahead of Brett Favre. Younger brother of MLB legend Mark McGwire.

22
114 60
Joey Harrington is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

23
63 19
Maurice Clarett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Running back

24
75 31
Brian Bosworth is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
ScottPolichette added Linebacker

25
53 18
Curtis Enis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Running back

26
55 16
Justin Blackmon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

27
60 28
Jason Smith is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Offensive Tackle

28
45 24
Kyle Boller is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

29
62 34
Steve Spurrier is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
willyboymcoy added

30
32 19
Kelly Stouffer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

31
87 52
Brandon Weeden is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
manupinsky added Quarterback

32
103 58
Blaine Gabbert is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

33
64 29
Aaron Curry is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Linebacker

34
40 18
Cade McNown is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Quarterback

35
58 29
Aaron Maybin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Defensive end, Linebacker - #11 in '09. Cut several times in his 2 year career.

36
44 18
J. P. Losman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Quarterback

37
53 34
Peter Warrick is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Return specialist, Wide receiver

38
34 16
Mike Mamula is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

39
37 12
Rae Carruth is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

40
64 35
Matt Jones is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

41
36 14
Mike Williams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Mike Williams

42
53 30
Derrick Harvey is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive end

43
34 20
Kenneth Sims is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
JeffreyJustus added Defensive end

44
47 23
E. J. Manuel is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Quarterback

45
57 34
Mike Junkin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Linebacker

46
62 39
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Tight end

47
54 33
Troy Williamson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

48
35 16
Christian Ponder is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

49
55 36
Keith McCants is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive end, Linebacker

50
31 11
Aundray Bruce is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Defensive end, Linebacker, Tight end