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Biggest Draft Bust of Every NFL Team Since 2000
By Will Laws
Just about every NFL team has made a massive mistake in the first round of the draft since 2000. PointAfter determined each team's biggest bust of the century.
It's stunning to consider just how difficult it is to evaluate the level of NFL talent in college football players. Even though these guys are technically playing the same sport, elite college players often fail to make a mark in the professional ranks.
Just about every NFL team has made a massive mistake in the first round of the draft this century. PointAfter decided to find the worst bust of every team since the 2000 NFL Draft.
Only first-round picks were considered for inclusion, since they are treated to exponentially higher salaries and expectations compared to prospects chosen later on. How high a player was picked matters, but a complete non-factor picked at No. 10 will be highlighted as a bigger bust over a decent contributor selected at No. 1. There weren't any 2015 draftees included, since it's too soon to prognosticate over the future NFL outlooks of guys who are barely allowed to have an alcoholic drink.
Read on to see our choices for every NFL team's biggest draft bust since 2000, ranked in reverse chronological order from the most recent draft pick to the highest-selected bust of the 2000 NFL Draft (a former Heisman Trophy winner, no less).
#32. Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Smith
Draft pick: No. 26 (2014)
Career games (starts): 21 (0)
Marcus Smith has totaled seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in 21 career games for Philadelphia. Even though the Eagles have endured multiple injuries to their linebacking corps over the past two years, Smith has only played in 8 percent of the team's defensive snaps since being drafted, according to Football Outsiders.
Though Smith ended 2015 on a high note by recording the first solo sack of his career in Philadelphia's final game, his place on the squad is uncertain with a new coaching staff coming in. He has time to turn it around, but for now, his limited contributions make him the Eagles' biggest first-round bust of the century.
Runner-up: Danny Watkins (2011)
#31. Miami Dolphins: Dion Jordan
Draft pick: No. 3 (2013)
Career games (starts): 26 (1)
A former top prospect whose size and athleticism made scouts salivate, Dion Jordan has been suspended for positive drug tests three times in his short NFL career, including a season-long ban in 2015. Those violations have caused him to miss 22 games in his first three seasons.
Even when he's behaved, Jordan has been little more than a situational pass rusher who's not particularly good at his job. He's logged three sacks in his career, and played in 21 percent of Miami's snaps in 2014, an 8 percent drop from his rookie year. That figure could be even lower in 2016, considering he hasn't played professional football for over a year.
Runner-up: Jamar Fletcher (2001)
#30. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson
Draft pick: No. 3 (2012)
Career games (starts): 46 (37)
There are so, so many options here. Recent picks such as Johnny Manziel, Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden spectacularly flamed out of Cleveland. But older first-rounders like Brady Quinn, William Green and Courtney Brown (Cleveland's only No. 1 pick this century) established the tradition of this franchise's utter incompetency in the draft.
In the end, Richardson is the choice for his top-three pedigree and paltry career average of 3.3 yards per carry. It's not often top-three draft picks only last three years in the NFL, but Richardson was so brutally ineffective that he became one of the few.
Runner-up: Manziel (2014)
#29. Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker
Draft pick: No. 8 (2011)
Career games (starts): 30 (23)
Vince Young's descent out of the NFL was swift and saddening, but at least he made two Pro Bowls with Tennessee and compiled a 31-19 record as a starter before bottoming out. Jake Locker abruptly retired last year with a 9-14 record and 57.5 completion percentage, never coming close to fulfilling the promise he displayed as a high school prodigy.
Runner-up: Andrew Woolfolk (2003)
#28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ziggy Hood
Draft pick: No. 32 (2009)
Career games (starts): 98 (46)
The Steelers haven't produced any true first-round busts since 2000 (though Jarvis Jones could qualify if he fails to break through in the coming years). Every Steeler drafted between 2000-2011 played at least 80 games and started at least 45 in the NFL.
Ziggy Hood was the least impactful of those guys, totaling 12.5 sacks in six seasons. Injuries weren't an issue for him, as Hood never missed a game. He just never produced that much, totaling 164 tackles and never forcing a fumble in 96 games. He's technically still active after signing a one-year deal with Washington in February, but he didn't record any official stats while playing for Chicago last season in a two-month stint with the Bears.
Runner-up: Jones (2013)
#27. San Diego Chargers: Larry English
Draft pick: No. 16 (2009)
Career games (starts): 64 (10)
The Chargers selected one of the most infamous busts in NFL history when they picked Ryan Leaf directly behind Peyton Manning in 1998, but Leaf missed out on this article by a couple years.
Injuries limited Larry English's NFL career, but even when he was healthy, he didn't play like a first-round pick. Drafted as a pass rusher out of Northern Illinois, he mustered just 12 sacks in 64 career games.
Runner-up: Craig "Buster" Davis (2007)
#26. Buffalo Bills: Aaron Maybin
Draft pick: No. 11 (2009)
Career games (starts): 48 (1)
Aaron Maybin was nearly useless for the Bills, compiling 23 tackles (zero sacks) in 22 games. He surprisingly recorded a team-high six sacks for the Jets during his first year away from Buffalo in 2011, but he failed to follow up on that success and went on to make just one more tackle over the rest of his NFL career.
Runner-up: Mike Williams (2002)
#25. Seattle Seahawks: Aaron Curry
Draft pick: No. 4 (2009)
Career games (starts): 48 (39)
This was one of the easier guys to pinpoint. Aaron Curry received the richest non-QB rookie contract in league history (six years, $60 million with $34 million guaranteed) when he was drafted by Seattle. The first-team All-American and Butkus Award winner was considered a "safe" pick by many, but he proved to be anything but.
Curry recorded 5.5 sacks in three seasons (30 games) with Seattle before being traded to Oakland for a seventh-round pick. He registered one tackle in two games for the Raiders before retiring in 2013.
Runner-up: Marcus Tubbs (2004)
#24. Los Angeles Rams: Jason Smith
Draft pick: No. 2 (2009)
Career games (starts): 45 (26)
Plenty of first-round Rams have underperformed (Sam Bradford, Greg Robinson, Tye Hill), but none were a bigger disappointment than Jason Smith.
The big man out of Baylor never learned to handle the all-important left tackle position, and was instead shuttered to the right side of the line for 26 starts in St. Louis. He was traded to the Jets after three seasons and never made another start in the NFL.
Runner-up: Trung Canidate (2000)
#23. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Harvey
Draft pick: No. 8 (2008)
Career games (starts): 52 (32)
Derrick Harvey holds the ignominious record of the longest rookie holdout in Jaguars history at 38 days. He eventually signed a five-year, $23.8 million contract with $17.2 million guaranteed. For that commitment, Jacksonville reaped eight sacks in three seasons from Harvey, who was out of the league by 2012.
Runner-up: Matt Jones (2005)
#22. New York Jets: Vernon Gholston
Draft pick: No. 6 (2008)
Career games (starts): 45 (5)
Vernon Gholston seemed like the perfect defensive end prospect when he left Ohio State, combining prolific college production with athletic measurables (4.58 40-yard dash, 41-inch vertical leap, 37 bench reps of 225 pounds). He was one of two players to record a sack in college against the No. 1 pick of his class, Jake Long.
Naturally, Gholston never recorded a sack in the NFL. He only lasted three seasons in New York before being released, and never made another regular season roster.
Runner-up: Dewayne Robertson (2003)
#21. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Gonzalez
Draft pick: No. 32 (2007)
Career games (starts): 40 (12)
Due to their consistent success over the last 15 years, the Colts haven't had many high first-round picks. Their only picks in the top 20 since 2000 are Dwight Freeney and Andrew Luck, two bona fide studs. Even their other picks have achieved some modicum of success, though Anthony Gonzalez is probably the worst of the bunch.
Gonzalez totaled 99 receptions and 1,307 yards in four seasons with Indianapolis before being released. He mustered just five catches in his final two seasons as he struggled to re-establish himself following a string of injuries.
Runner-up: Donald Brown (2009)
#20. Denver Broncos: Jarvis Moss
Draft pick: No. 17 (2007)
Career games (starts): 48 (2)
Like former college teammate Derrick Harvey, Jarvis Moss was another pass-rushing prospect out of Florida who never panned out in the NFL. He made one start with the Broncos as rookie, and another with the Raiders in 2011, compiling six sacks and 34 tackles in 53 games. That was all anyone ever got out of Moss, one of many disappointing defensive linemen to populate this article.
Runner-up: Willie Middlebrooks (2001)
#19. Atlanta Falcons: Jamaal Anderson
Draft pick: No. 8 (2007)
Career games (starts): 77 (48)
Yep, another failed sack artist.
Though Jamaal Anderson landed a starting gig with Atlanta from the get-go, he didn't register his first sack until his 22nd regular season game. The Arkansas product, who was drafted by his former college coach during the rapid cyclone of disaster that was the Bobby Petrino era in Atlanta, ended up totaling 4.5 sacks in four seasons with the Falcons.
Runner-up: Peria Jerry (2009)
#18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gaines Adams
Draft pick: No. 4 (2007)
Career games (starts): 47 (29)
Gaines Adams tallied 17 tackles in 15 games split between Tampa Bay and Chicago in 2009, his third and final season in the NFL. He didn't figure into any team's long-term plans when his career and life ended prematurely at age 26 due to cardiac arrest caused by an enlarged heart. It's a shame Adams passed in such a tragic manner, but that doesn't take away from his status as Tampa Bay's worst first-round pick since 2000.
Runner-up: Cadillac Williams (2005)
#17. Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell
Draft pick: No. 1 (2007)
Career games (starts): 31 (25)
This was the most obvious pick for any team, bar none. JaMarcus Russell's size and arm strength convinced the Raiders to select him with the top pick in 2007. By the end of the decade, he was regarded by many as the worst No. 1 pick of all time.
Russell's NFL career started out inauspiciously, as he held out into the first week of the season. That put him on a steep learning curve during his rookie year, and he never recovered. Russell accounted for more than double the amount of turnovers (38) as he did touchdown passes (18) during his Oakland tenure, and his 2009 passer rating of 50.0 was the lowest by a starting QB in more than a decade. The Raiders released him after that campaign, and he never played another NFL snap.
Runner-up: Darrius Heyward-Bey (2009)
#16. New England Patriots: Laurence Maroney
Draft pick: No. 21 (2006)
Career games (starts): 49 (17)
The Patriots are a remarkable, ever-churning machine of dominance, and that's reflected in their first-round draft choices. Even though New England had just three picks fall in the top 16 between 2001-2015, six of the franchise's 10 first-round picks during the aughts went on to make the Pro Bowl, and all but one recorded at least 80 starts over their professional careers.
The lone exception is Laurence Maroney, who wasn't even all that bad. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry in four seasons under Bill Belichick, gaining 2,430 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground.
Runner-up: Dominique Easley (2014)
#15. Dallas Cowboys: Bobby Carpenter
Draft pick: No. 18 (2006)
Career games (starts): 84 (8)
If Bobby Carpenter ever had any chance of living up to the legacy of his father, a running back whom Bill Parcells coached and thus decided to take a chance on his son, it was erased in a 2008 episode of Hard Knocks. It was then Cowboys tackle Marc Colombo bestowed him the nickname "Barbie Carpenter" after physically demoralizing him multiple times in a pads and shorts practice. That served as the inflection point of Carpenter's stint in Dallas, where he and his shoulder-length blonde hair made just three starts in four years.
Funnily enough, the only notable moment Carpenter produced after leaving Dallas was a pick-six of Cowboys QB Tony Romo in 2011, which served as Carpenter's lone career interception and started a stunning 24-point comeback by Detroit. Dallas went on to miss the playoffs by one game that season, solidifying Carpenter as one of the team's most despised first-round picks of all time.
Runner-up: Morris Claiborne (2012)
#14. Houston Texans: Travis Johnson
Draft pick: No. 16 (2005)
Career games (starts): 76 (38)
Travis Johnson was the first defensive lineman off the board in 2005, before future Pro Bowlers such as Justin Tuck, Trent Cole and Jay Ratliff -- not to mention Aaron Rodgers.
Texans fans should be upset the franchise passed up the chance to draft those guys for Johnson, who totaled three sacks and two forced fumbles in 76 career games.
Some would argue David Carr deserves this spot, but the former No. 1 pick was dropped into a nightmarish situation as the perceived savior of an expansion franchise. When you realize his offensive line was often the worst group in the league (Carr was sacked more than any other QB during his five-year stint in Houston), his numbers don't look all that bad -- especially when compared to a complete non-factor like Johnson.
Runner-up: Carr (2002)
#13. Minnesota Vikings: Troy Williamson
Draft pick: No. 7 (2005)
Career games (starts): 49 (24)
Minnesota has made six selections in the top 10 of the draft since 2000. They've all matured into Pro Bowlers, save for Troy Williamson.
The South Carolina product never caught half of his targets nor surpassed 500 receiving yards during three seasons in Minnesota. The 2005 NFL Draft was overall a horrible one for the Vikings, who selected another bust in Erasmus James 11 picks after choosing Williamson.
Runner-up: James (2005)
#12. San Francisco 49ers: Rashaun Woods
Draft pick: No. 31 (2004)
Career games (starts): 14 (0)
Rashaun Woods once caught an NCAA record seven touchdowns in one game at Oklahoma State. He caught seven passes over the entirety of his NFL career, all in his rookie year. Woods' second year was lost to torn thumb ligaments, and he never recovered to play a down in the NFL again.
Runner-up: Mike Rumph (2002)
#11. Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Perry
Draft pick: No. 26 (2004)
Career games (starts): 35 (9)
After finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy voting during his senior year at Michigan, Chris Perry entered the Bengals' backfield in a battle with former fourth-round pick Rudi Johnson for playing time. Unfortunately for Perry, he suffered a hamstring strain during the preseason before a sports hernia ended his season for good in October. While Perry tallied just two carries that year, earning the nickname "Two-Carry Perry," Johnson ran for the first of three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Perry served as a seldom-used backup for several years, often battling injuries, before finally getting a crack at the starting job in 2008. He averaged 2.6 yards per rush and fumbled five times, forcing Cincinnati to give the lion's share of carries to Cedric Benson. Perry never touched the ball again in the NFL.
Runner-up: Peter Warrick (2000)
#10. Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Boller
Draft pick: No. 19 (2003)
Career games (starts): 67 (47)
Not long after Baltimore won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer under center, the franchise's decision-makers tried to find a long-term solution at QB by drafting Kyle Boller. Unfortunately, they basically got a younger version of Dilfer in the process.
Boller compiled a 20-22 career record with 45 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in Baltimore, completing less than 57 percent of his passes. He wasn't terrible, just aggressively mediocre. For a team like the Ravens who've drafted exceedingly well in the first round this century, that's enough to achieve "bust" status.
Runner-up: Mark Clayton (2005)
#9. New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Sullivan
Draft pick: No. 6 (2003)
Career games (starts): 36 (16)
New Orleans acquired the No. 6 pick in 2003 (along with two mid-round selections) in exchange for three picks in the top 54 of the draft. It was one of the more lopsided draft-day trades of all time, as the Cardinals used their trio of choices on Anquan Boldin, Calvin Pace and Bryant Johnson. Those guys went on to make 410 career starts (and counting).
Sullivan, meanwhile, failed to impress and was traded to New England in 2006. Less than a month later, he was charged with marijuana possession -- not exactly how you endear yourself to Bill Belichick. Sullivan's NFL career ended later that season when he was released, and he finished with career totals of 1.5 sacks and 77 tackles in 36 games.
Runner-up: Reggie Bush (2006)
#8. Detroit Lions: Charles Rogers
Draft pick: No. 2 (2003)
Career games (starts): 15 (9)
The Lions infamously drafted a string of disappointing receivers in the early-to-mid 2000s, and Charles Rogers was the epitome of everything that could go wrong with a high draft pick.
He was injury-prone (broke clavicles in consecutive seasons), immature (suspended in 2005 for third violation of substance abuse policy) and unproductive when he did make it onto the field. Rogers' final career stats, compiled in 15 games: 36 receptions, 440 yards, four touchdowns. Not the ideal return on a No. 2 draft pick, to say the least.
Runner-up: Joey Harrington (2002)
#7. Washington Redskins: Patrick Ramsey
Draft pick: No. 32 (2002)
Career games (starts): 37 (24)
Every player drafted in the first round by Washington between 2000-2011 made the Pro Bowl except for Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell and Rod Gardner. Gardner averaged nearly 750 receiving yards per season in four years in D.C., so he's acquitted from bust status.
That leaves two quarterbacks, Ramsey and Campbell. The latter proved to be a more talented passer throughout his nine-year NFL career, while Ramsey threw just 77 passes after his first three professional seasons, which showed he didn't have the skills to cut it in the league.
Runner-up: Campbell (2005)
#6. Arizona Cardinals: Wendell Bryant
Draft pick: No. 12 (2002)
Career games (starts): 29 (9)
Four of the six defensive linemen selected in the first 15 picks of the 2002 NFL Draft went on to combine for 20 career Pro Bowls. The other two were massive busts, which we'll cover in the next two slides.
Wendell Bryant totaled 39 tackles and 1.5 sacks in three years with Arizona before testing positive in the league's substance abuse program for the third time, triggering a year-long suspension. He never returned to the NFL.
Runner-up: Matt Leinart (2006)
#5. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Sims
Draft pick: No. 6 (2002)
Career games (starts): 105 (55)
Ryan Sims was the second defensive lineman drafted in 2002, four picks after college teammate Julius Peppers. Perhaps "Pep" made Sims look good at UNC, because Sims certainly didn't live up to his promise in the NFL.
Sims totaled five sacks in five years and 59 games with the Chiefs. Kansas City would have been better off going with John Henderson, Dwight Freeney or Albert Haynesworth, all future Pro Bowlers who came off the board within the next 10 picks.
Runner-up: Glenn Dorsey (2008)
#4. Green Bay Packers: Jamal Reynolds
Draft pick: No. 10 (2001)
Career games (starts): 18 (0)
Green Bay is respected for its ability to groom homegrown talent, then retain its key players once they're experienced enough to test free agency. Jamal Reynolds represented a rare misstep in this approach.
The Packers traded up seven spots in the NFL Draft to pick the decorated defensive lineman out of Florida State, sending Seattle the No. 17 pick and future Pro Bowl QB Matt Hasselbeck. After Reynolds disappointed during his first two NFL seasons, the Packers tried to correct this mistake by trading him to the Colts. In an unfortunate turn, Reynolds failed Indianapolis' physical, voiding the swap.
Reynolds was released by Green Bay 10 days later, and he didn't play in the league again.
Runner-up: Justin Harrell (2007)
#3. Chicago Bears: David Terrell
Draft pick: No. 8 (2001)
Career games (starts): 54 (29)
Seven of the first nine picks in the 2001 NFL Draft became Pro Bowlers. David Terrell, the first player in Michigan history to have multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons, was not one of them.
Terrell was cut after four seasons with Chicago, during which he totaled 1,602 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 128 catches. Not awful, but not what you expect from a flanker who was drafted before Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson and Santana Moss. He didn't catch another ball in the NFL after leaving the Bears.
Runner-up: Michael Haynes (2003)
#2. Carolina Panthers: Rashard Anderson
Draft pick: No. 23 (2000)
Career games (starts): 27 (9)
Rashard Anderson was a starter on the pitiful 2001 Panthers team that went 1-15. The following spring, he was suspended a full season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. That suspension was extended to the entire 2003 season after he failed to meet the requirements for reinstatement.
When Anderson finally got his act together, it'd been nearly three years since he played an NFL snap. The Panthers released him and he never got another chance to redeem himself.
Runner-up: Jeff Otah (2008)
#1. New York Giants: Ron Dayne
Draft pick: No. 11 (2000)
Career games (starts): 96 (28)
Perhaps Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner, could have succeeded in the NFL given a full-time role. Instead, the Giants curiously drafted Dayne even though Tiki Barber was already entrenched as the starter at tailback.
Dayne and Barber formed a "Thunder and Lightning" partnership that led New York to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV, but Dayne's carries diminished over the next couple years as Barber consistently outperformed him.
Dayne, still the record holder for career FBS rushing yards, went on to average a solid 4.2 yards per carry in his final three NFL campaigns, which were split between Denver and Houston. But he never rushed for more than 800 yards in seven seasons, which qualifies as a disappointing output for a former Heisman winner.
Runner-up: William Joseph (2003)