Football The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
8.5k votes 749 voters 10.8k views 118 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
373 70
Ryan Leaf is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Ryan Leaf Quarterback

2
382 66
JaMarcus Russell is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
JaMarcus Russell Quarterback

3
244 74
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
187 54
Tony Mandarich is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

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

6
164 49
Lawrence Philips is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

7
148 38
Trent Richardson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Trent Richardson Running back

8
162 51
Akili Smith is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Akili Smith Quarterback

9
144 44
Charles Rogers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Charles Rogers Wide receiver

10
83 27
Andre Ware is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Andre Ware Quarterback

11
157 69
Tim Couch is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Tim Couch Quarterback

12
107 40
Art Schlichter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Art Schlichter Quarterback

13
135 56
Matt Leinart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Matt Leinart Quarterback

14
103 39
Vernon Gholston is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Vernon Gholston Defensive end, Linebacker

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

16
95 46
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
82 27
Brady Quinn is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Brady Quinn Quarterback

18
100 44
Courtney Brown is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Courtney Brown Defensive lineman

19
80 32
Dan McGwire is listed (or ranked) 19 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.

20
61 23
Brian Bosworth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
ScottPolichette added Brian Bosworth Linebacker

21
102 52
Joey Harrington is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Joey Harrington Quarterback

22
47 14
Maurice Clarett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Maurice Clarett Running back

23
46 14
Curtis Enis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Curtis Enis Running back

24
41 20
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
55 22
Aaron Maybin is listed (or ranked) 25 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.

26
57 27
Steve Spurrier is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
willyboymcoy added Steve Spurrier

27
44 14
Justin Blackmon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Justin Blackmon Wide receiver

28
55 23
Jason Smith is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Jason Smith Offensive Tackle

29
92 47
Blaine Gabbert is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Blaine Gabbert Quarterback

30
40 21
Rick Mirer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Rick Mirer Quarterback

31
60 28
Matt Jones is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Matt Jones Quarterback

32
56 26
Aaron Curry is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Aaron Curry Linebacker

33
37 12
Cade McNown is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Cade McNown Quarterback

34
39 12
J. P. Losman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added J. P. Losman Quarterback

35
39 18
Kyle Boller is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Kyle Boller Quarterback

36
75 47
Brandon Weeden is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
manupinsky added Brandon Weeden Quarterback

37
48 26
Peter Warrick is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Peter Warrick Return specialist, Wide receiver

38
48 25
Derrick Harvey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Derrick Harvey Defensive end

39
50 27
Troy Williamson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Troy Williamson Wide receiver

40
39 15
E. J. Manuel is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
doro-the-exploro-gaming added E. J. Manuel Quarterback

41
28 10
Mike Williams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Mike Williams

42
28 8
Aundray Bruce is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Aundray Bruce Defensive end, Linebacker, Tight end

43
55 28
Reggie Rogers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Reggie Rogers Defensive tackle, Tackle

44
27 15
Kelly Stouffer is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Kelly Stouffer Quarterback

45
54 30
Mike Junkin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Mike Junkin Linebacker

46
27 13
Mike Mamula is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
muzziac added Mike Mamula Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

47
38 15
Jake Locker is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
KT32889MD added Jake Locker Quarterback

48
53 32
Keith McCants is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Keith McCants Defensive end, Linebacker

49
30 18
Kenneth Sims is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
JeffreyJustus added Kenneth Sims Defensive end

50
27 10
Rae Carruth is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts
Rae Carruth Wide receiver