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Top-10 NFL Draft Busts

 5-03-09

Matthew Stafford was selected first overall this weekend in the 2009 NFL Draft. That’s not even the best part! He was given $41.7 million in the process! To put this in perspective, most college graduates make about $30K a year. So to make as much as Stafford got, fresh out of college, you get to work 1,390 more years.

Now I’m not saying that Stafford is due to be a bust. But there’s a long line of historic failures in the draft and I just couldn’t resist. So on to it!

(By the way, an honorable mention goes to Michael Vick, who never led his team to the Superbowl, murdered hundreds of innocent dogs, went bankrupt faster than Jermaine Dupruis, and began becoming a liability at quarterback because the only thing he loved doing more than killing puppies was overthrowing his receivers…and spreading STD’s under the name “Ron Mexico”. However, according he isn’t really a “bust” since he was a Pro-Bowl caliber player)

10. Brian Bosworth (1987 Supplemental Draft)
You think Stafford was overpaid as a rookie? Well you, my young friend, might be too young for the awesomeness of The Boz!  The two-time Butkus Award winner was given $11 million over 10 years AFTER he was discovered using steroids in college and BEFORE he had played a snap in the NFL. He then sued the league so he could wear #44 (a case he lost), and blew the majority of his revenue on hair bleach. Not so surprisingly, Bosworth made an attempt at commentating…in the XFL! Oh the irony. The sweet, delicious irony.

9. David Carr (1st Overall – 2002 Draft – Houston Texans)
I’ll admit, when Carr entered the league, everyone thought he had the skills, and tenacity, to become a viable NFL quarterback. The Texans, however, elected to build the team from the outside in, refusing to insulate Carr with the offensive line to protect him. Carr has eaten more turf than a sexually confused Lindsay Lohan.

When he was dumped and picked off the scrap heap by the Panthers, everyone thought it was a matter of time before he would replace Jake Delhomme in Carolina. Instead, we were all caught in our living rooms uttering the expression, “oh…oh wow…I was way off about David Carr…oh my…no, don’t do that!...oh good lord…switch back to the Lions-Vikings game, this is just awful”.

8. Tim Couch (1st Overall – 1999 Draft – Cleveland Browns)
If the 1999 Draft Class had a 10 year reunion, like a high school class would, Couch is the guy that wouldn’t RSVP. Why? You can never argue that Couch was one of the worst draft picks in history when you consider the class behind him. That includes Champ Bailey, Donavan McNabb, Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams and Torry Holt. It also includes Akili Smith, but he’s more or less the guy who would get drunk off the free punch screaming, “I used to BE SOMEBODY!!!” while everyone pretended he wasn’t there.  Speaking of the Bengals…

7. Peter Warrick (4th Overall – 2000 Draft – Cincinnati Bengals)
It’s easy to argue that Courtney Brown was the worst pick in the 2000 draft, but how many times has a defensive end not lived up to snuff? I’m not letting Warrick escape my clutches. Warrick was absurdly productive at FSU when he won a championship against Michael Vick with Chris Weinke as his quarterback. He had an incredible college career. So what the hell happened?

The Bengals happened. He was lost in the shuffle of a horrific Bengals team that got trampled by the NFL for countless seasons. Warrick has since gone to the AFL, where his hopes of getting noticed by the NFL vanished in a sea of Bengals’ misery. It probably didn’t help that Plaxico Burress was selected eighth overall in that very same draft.

6. Robert Gallery (2nd Overall – 2004 Draft – Oakland Raiders)
Yeah, I know. He’s in a long list of idiots that that the Raiders drafted. But by God, he’s my favorite. He’s disgusting to look at. His hair’s too long, he has too many ugly tattoos, he gets blown apart by 98% of defensive lineman in the NFL and he’s a fat, surly tub of wasted space. He was also taken over Larry Fitzgerald, Roy Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Jonathan Vilma, Lee Evans, Sean Taylor and Philip Rivers.

And while Gallery isn’t nearly as bad as the other offensive lineman on this list, he makes the cut simply for epitomizing what the Raiders have been for the last five years: an overbearingly loud, underachieving, train wreck of unmitigated disaster. So at the very least, Gallery fits in Oakland’s master plan.

5. Lawrence Phillips (6th Overall – 1996 Draft – St. Louis Rams)
Phillips was a stud in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. Scouts loved his on-field potential so much, they neglected how much of a dickhead he was off the field. He posted 600+ yards in his first two seasons with the Rams, then went on to finish with 188 yards over the last two seasons, ranking him as the worst running-back ever taken in the top-10. And yes, he was way worse than Ron Dayne.

4. Charles Rodgers (2nd Overall – 2003 Draft – Detroit Lions)
Matt Millen will be remembered for being the GM that constantly burned up Detroit’s first-round pick on a receiver. It became the running gag in the NFL, so even when the Lions desperately needed a quarterback in the 2009 Draft, everyone thought they would go Milllen and grab Michael Crabtree first overall, just for the sake of both hilarity and continuity.

But amongst all of Millen’s draft busts, nobody was worse than Charles Rodgers. And it burns mostly because Rodgers is out of the league…and they took the wrong receiver. Houston drafted some guy named Andre Johnson with the third pick in 2003.

3. Tony Mandarich (2nd Overall – 1989 Draft – Green Bay Packers)
Mandarich has been excessively publicized for announcing that he did steroids. What a surprise! Widely remembered as the offensive lineman who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the words “Best Offensive Lineman Prospect…Ever” next to his hulking frame, Mandarich was massive in both frame and hype.  So when the Packers elected to take Mandarich over Barry Sanders in the 1989 Draft, naturally people had high hopes for the 6-foot-6, 315 pound needle pumper. Mandarich survived two whole seasons on the Packers bench and was verifiably useless as a lineman.

Walter Jones, Tarik Glenn and Joe Thomas have all been offensive lineman taken in the first round. And all of them are pro-bowlers. So when you get taken second overall and can’t block a soul, you’re literally the biggest bust ever.

2. Alex Smith (1st Overall – 2005 Draft – San Francisco 49ers)
The Niners have a history of blowing top picks on bad quarterbacks (Jim Druckenmiler, anyone?). But Smith, who is entering his fourth year in the NFL is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Smith was noted for his absurd academic intelligence, acquiring a Masters degree in Economics after only three years. Too bad that didn’t translate in to a high NFL IQ. Smith was drafted ahead of DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, Braylon Edwards, Ronnie Brown and quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 Draft. Smith is the second highest paid player on the Niners roster, making nearly $12 million in 2008. That was $6 million for each touchdown he threw last year. Wait a second…so that’s how he’s using his Masters in Economics!

1. Ryan Leaf (2nd Overall – 1998 Draft – San Diego Chargers)
Leaf is the poster boy for draft busts in the NFL after  the Chargers took him second overall. The Chargers blew the farm to move up one spot to nab Ryan Leaf, and boy did they live to regret it. Leaf had all the tangible qualities of a solid quarterback. Too bad his head wasn’t screwed on right. Leaf was neither mature enough, nor intelligent enough to maximize the immense talents that scouts universally agreed he possessed.

He lashed out at reports for asking – gasp! – difficult questions. He berated his own Dad in the locker room (what his Dad was doing there in the first place is beyond me…probably changing his diaper). Leaf meandered through the league as a stubborn idiot who never grew up. Even when he was a quarterback coach at the college level, he never showed his immense capacity of idiocy by getting drugs from one of his players.

Maturity is the most important quality of any quarterback, and it’s impossible to measure in kids so young. Leaf should have taught the NFL a stern lesson – sometimes kids just aren’t ready for the NFL. Look at Vince Young. Look at Michael Vick for heaven’s sake. Look at all the guys that try and fail at this position because we can’t measure maturity.

Leaf was supposed to be the martyr for NFL brats. But the league hasn’t learned anything. They’re still tossing bags of cash at kids that may or may not be ready for the NFL. And this country wonders why it’s in a recession.

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