Football The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
7.5k votes 661 voters 10.3k views 113 items

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.

1
327 61
Ryan Leaf is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Ryan Leaf Quarterback

2
334 58
JaMarcus Russell is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
JaMarcus Russell Quarterback

3
208 60
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Johnny Manziel

4
150 41
Lawrence Philips is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

5
164 48
Tony Mandarich is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

6
147 41
Todd Marinovich is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Todd Marinovich Quarterback

7
149 46
Akili Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Akili Smith Quarterback

8
127 30
Trent Richardson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Trent Richardson Running back

9
133 40
Charles Rogers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Charles Rogers Wide receiver

10
145 60
Tim Couch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Tim Couch Quarterback

11
75 23
Andre Ware is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Andre Ware Quarterback

12
101 34
Art Schlichter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Art Schlichter Quarterback

13
96 34
Vernon Gholston is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Vernon Gholston Defensive end, Linebacker

14
114 45
Heath Shuler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Heath Shuler Quarterback

30+ Famous People Born in Countries That Don't Exist Anymore

15
120 51
Matt Leinart is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Matt Leinart Quarterback

16
88 39
Ki-Jana Carter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Ki-Jana Carter Running back

17
75 24
Dan McGwire is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Dan McGwire Quarterback - Drafted ahead of Brett Favre. Younger brother of MLB legend Mark McGwire.

18
69 25
Brady Quinn is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Brady Quinn Quarterback

19
52 15
Brian Bosworth is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
ScottPolichette added Brian Bosworth Linebacker

20
90 42
Courtney Brown is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Courtney Brown Defensive lineman

21
92 47
Joey Harrington is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Joey Harrington Quarterback

The Best Wide Receivers of All Time

22
42 9
Maurice Clarett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Maurice Clarett Running back

23
58 22
Matt Jones is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Matt Jones Quarterback

24
39 9
Curtis Enis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Curtis Enis Running back

25
35 15
Steve Entman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Steve Entman Defensive Tackle

26
53 24
Steve Spurrier is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
willyboymcoy added Steve Spurrier

27
35 17
Rick Mirer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Rick Mirer Quarterback

28
36 9
Justin Blackmon is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Justin Blackmon Wide receiver

The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

29
50 21
Jason Smith is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Jason Smith Offensive Tackle

30
72 41
Brandon Weeden is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
manupinsky added Brandon Weeden Quarterback

31
52 23
Aaron Curry is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Aaron Curry Linebacker

32
46 19
Aaron Maybin is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Kenne_W added Aaron Maybin Defensive end, Linebacker - #11 in '09. Cut several times in his 2 year career.

33
83 44
Blaine Gabbert is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Blaine Gabbert Quarterback

34
31 9
Cade McNown is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Cade McNown Quarterback

35
45 22
Derrick Harvey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Derrick Harvey Defensive end

Who Was America's Boyfriend in 2015?

36
34 16
Kyle Boller is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Kyle Boller Quarterback

37
47 24
Troy Williamson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Troy Williamson Wide receiver

38
52 23
Reggie Rogers is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Reggie Rogers Defensive tackle, Tackle

39
42 25
Peter Warrick is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Peter Warrick Return specialist, Wide receiver

40
31 11
J. P. Losman is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added J. P. Losman Quarterback

41
25 6
Aundray Bruce is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Aundray Bruce Defensive end, Linebacker, Tight end

42
45 23
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Aaron Hernandez Tight end

The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Sports Movies

43
22 11
Kelly Stouffer is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Kelly Stouffer Quarterback

44
50 28
Mike Junkin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Mike Junkin Linebacker

45
27 15
Kenneth Sims is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
JeffreyJustus added Kenneth Sims Defensive end

46
49 29
Keith McCants is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Keith McCants Defensive end, Linebacker

47
29 12
E. J. Manuel is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added E. J. Manuel Quarterback

48
20 7
Mike Williams is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Mike Williams

49
19 9
Trev Alberts is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Trev Alberts Linebacker

50
22 12
Mike Mamula is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Mike Mamula Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman