My Top 5 All-Time Draft Busts

In the spirit of the upcoming draft, I thought it would be appropriate to give you my top 5 NFL draft busts of all time.  This is always interesting to see who is the best of the worst and nothing is more painful than for those teams experiencing these busts, when maybe they could have gotten someone else that ended up being a Hall of Famer.  So here are my top 5 draft busts of all-time, let’s get to it.

5. Lawrence Phillips

l philllips

The highly talented running back coming out of Nebraska, Lawrence Phillips would never quite live up the expectations.  He was a 6th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 draft and only fell that far because of his off the field issues and character issues.  Those issues, along with his poor performance would rear their ugly head during his professional career and lead him to ultimately be a big bust.  He would play on 7 different teams combining time in the NFL, NFL Europe, AFL, and CFL.  He would only amass 1,453 yards and 14 touchdowns in his NFL career.  Where is he now? He is currently in prison for numerous crimes that he committed.  Can be found at this link if you click here.

Was drafted after them: Willie Anderson. Eddie George, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens

4. Aundray Bruce


Formerly drafted by the Atlanta Falcons at the number 1 overall pick in the 1988 draft, Aundray Bruce was supposedly the next Lawrence Taylor in the making.  He starred at Auburn University and looked primed to be the next big thing.  Little did the Falcons know that he would be the next big bust.  He would play for the Falcons and the Raiders in his career only totaling 32 sacks, 4 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries.  Now you might say that doesn’t sound too bad but remember he was the number 1 overall pick and he ended up playing a total of 11 years and only having 42 career starts.  That’s only averaging around 3 sacks a season.  So you see he definitely fell way short of expectations at the former number 1 overall selection.  Where is he now?  He currently coaches the defensive line at Faulkner University.

Was drafted after them: Tim Brown, Sterling Sharpe, Michael Irvin

3. Akili Smith


Formerly the quarterback of the Bengals, Akili Smith was drafted 3rd overall in the 1999 NFL Draft.  He played his college ball at Oregon and some could draw comparisons to the later Joey Harrington, as he was a big bust out of Oregon himself.  He would only last roughly 5 seasons in the NFL and play a few seasons in the CFL as well.  He would definitely fall way short of being the next big thing and certainly hurt the Bengals in searching for a quarterback because he never panned out.  His career NFL statistics were a 46 completion percentage, 5 TDs and 13 INTs, only having 17 career starts.  Where is he now?  In 2012 he took over quarterbacks coach for St. Augustine High School in San Diego.  He also plans to finish his college degree sometime at Oregon.

Was drafted after them: Torry Holt, Champ Bailey, Jevon Kearse, Edgerrin James

2. Ryan Leaf


Ah yes, everyone’s favorite all time bust that when you look up bust in the dictionary you see a picture of Ryan Leaf.  The former number 2 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Leaf would go on to ruin Chargers football as we knew it then.  Only now are they slowly recovering from those horrific times.  Well maybe LT would help pull them out of it, but no doubt that era still stings Chargers’ fans.  He would only last around 4 years in the NFL before hanging it up.  Playing at Washington State, he would collect many records and rack up the accolades but that didn’t quite transition to the NFL.  His NFL career would end up with a 48 career completion percentage, 14 TDs, and 36 INTs.  Yikes, that’s not very good, especially when you were supposed to be great.  A guy that was very confident and almost arrogant in some people’s eyes about how good he thought he was going to be.  Well Ryan, not so much.  Where is he now?  A correctional facility doing time because he has recently made his life into being a bad boy.  For further details click here.

Was drafted after them: Charles Woodson, Fred Taylor, Randy Moss

1. Jamarcus Russell


And yes, another famous bust that I would put as my number 1, Jamarcus Russell.  The former LSU quarterback that weighed 350 pounds, ok well maybe not that much, but he was certainly too big in that area for sure.  He would be the number 1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and not even come close to hitting that potential.  It was said that Al Davis wanted him and then head coach, Lane Kiffin, wanted Calvin Johnson.  We now see who was off their rocker a little bit on that one.  For a team that couldn’t afford to miss, this really hurt the Raiders, they still haven’t recovered from this big whiff.  He would only last around 3 seasons before retiring and falling out of football.  His total stats sit at 18 TDs and 23 INTs and no ability to win, lead or create any kind of offense.  He sits at my number 1 because, well he was the number 1 overall pick and one that was certainly missed on by the Raiders and they are still not recovering well from it.  Also, a list of the guys below shows who they could have ended up with, looking at who they could have had is when Raiders’ fans shield their eyes.  Where is he now?  We all know this, he’s attempting to make a comeback, that’s right a comeback.  He’s getting in better shape and working with Jeff Garcia to help him get back on track.  He does deserve a second chance, everyone does, but will he do anything with it, who knows, we’ll have to wait and see.

Was drafted after them: Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis

The draft is closely approaching and we all cross our fingers in hopes our teams aren’t the next victims of these group of guys.  So there they are, my all time NFL Draft busts, let me hear what you think and who are your top draft busts.

Written by Preston, gsuwolfman13


2 thoughts on “My Top 5 All-Time Draft Busts

  1. Those are definitely some big busts, but being a Vikings fan I would have to add Troy Williamson to that list. He was taken #7 in 2005, and I think the best thing he did in the NFL was challenge Brad Childress to a fight. Guys taken after him – DeMarcus Ware, Carlos Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers, and Roddy White.

    1. That is a very good one, a top 10 for sure and would’ve appeared if I did that many, ha. A guy that people hyped up way too much, I remember watching him play at South Carolina and remember him being good but not first round talent good for sure.

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