Photo: via Reddit

Football The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
8.9k votes 791 voters 11.1k 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
400 70
JaMarcus Russell is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

2
392 76
Ryan Leaf is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

3
195 57
Tony Mandarich is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

4
258 82
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added

5
169 49
Todd Marinovich is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

6
168 51
Lawrence Philips is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

7
159 42
Trent Richardson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Running back

8
167 53
Akili Smith is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

9
149 45
Charles Rogers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

10
85 29
Andre Ware is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

11
111 41
Art Schlichter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

12
160 74
Tim Couch is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

13
141 59
Matt Leinart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

14
124 53
Heath Shuler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

15
106 42
Vernon Gholston is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive end, Linebacker

16
88 29
Brady Quinn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Quarterback

17
97 50
Ki-Jana Carter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Running back

18
102 46
Courtney Brown is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive lineman

19
83 33
Dan McGwire is listed (or ranked) 19 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.

20
67 26
Brian Bosworth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
ScottPolichette added Linebacker

21
53 14
Maurice Clarett is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Running back

22
107 56
Joey Harrington is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

23
49 15
Curtis Enis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Running back

24
44 21
Steve Entman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Steve Entman Defensive Tackle

25
48 15
Justin Blackmon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

26
60 28
Steve Spurrier is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
willyboymcoy added

27
58 24
Jason Smith is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Offensive Tackle

28
57 24
Aaron Maybin is listed (or ranked) 28 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.

29
43 23
Rick Mirer is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

30
59 27
Aaron Curry is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Linebacker

31
95 51
Blaine Gabbert is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

32
43 19
Kyle Boller is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

33
62 30
Matt Jones is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Quarterback

34
39 14
Cade McNown is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Quarterback

35
79 49
Brandon Weeden is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
manupinsky added Quarterback

36
41 14
J. P. Losman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Quarterback

37
50 28
Peter Warrick is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Return specialist, Wide receiver

38
51 26
Derrick Harvey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive end

39
32 11
Mike Williams is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Mike Williams

40
43 17
E. J. Manuel is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Quarterback

41
58 28
Reggie Rogers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive tackle, Tackle

42
30 13
Mike Mamula is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

43
52 29
Troy Williamson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

44
30 16
Kelly Stouffer is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Quarterback

45
30 9
Aundray Bruce is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Defensive end, Linebacker, Tight end

46
56 31
Mike Junkin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Linebacker

47
33 18
Kenneth Sims is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
JeffreyJustus added Defensive end

48
30 11
Rae Carruth is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Wide receiver

49
55 33
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Tight end

50
55 33
Keith McCants is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Defensive end, Linebacker