clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Biggest Draft Busts Of All Time

With the draft coming up in just four short days, today we look back at some of the biggest draft busts of all time. We've already talked about how hard it is to find a Pro Bowler with a first round pick but one thing that every GM fears is the selection of a complete bust. An early `draft bust' can set a franchise back for years and likely cause many in the front office to look for new jobs. For the sake of time and sanity, we'll roll with the 50 biggest busts of all time, as created by ESPN. The list is fairly interesting and sure to conjure up some not so happy memories for fans of various teams as well as dredge up some infamous Steelers memories.

Top Ten
1. Ryan Leaf (QB) - A man that needs no introduction. A boisterous attitude and putrid play led to a 4-17 career record for the 2nd overall pick in 1998.

2. Lawrence Philips (RB) - Numerous run-ins with the law and feuds with coaches led to very short and unproductive career for the sixth overall pick in 1996.

3. Art Schlichter (QB) - The 4th overall pick in 1982 could never kick a bad gambling habit and spent a couple seasons suspended for the habit. Even when he was on the field though his play was sub par at best, amassing just 3 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a career QB rating just over 42.

4. Heath Shuler (QB) - After a decent rookie season, Shuler would throw 21 interceptions and just 5 touchdowns in three seasons and be out of the league by 1998. He was drafted 3rd overall in 1994.

5. Charles Rogers (WR) - The 2nd overall pick in 2003 lasted just 3 seasons in the NFL. He ended his career with just 36 receptions 4 touchdowns.

6. Keith McCants (LB) - In 1990 he was the 4th overall selection but he lasted just six seasons in the league and was converted to DE in an attempt to find a position that he could play. McCants has made headlines recently by being arrested twice this year on drug charges.

7. Johnny "Lam" Jones (WR) - In just five seasons in the league the 2nd overall pick in 1980 totaled just 138 passes and 13 touchdowns. Jones was a former sprinter who won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics but had trouble catching the ball in the NFL.

8. Mike Junkin (LB) - After playing in just 20 games over the course of three seasons, the 5th overall pick in 1987 was out of the league. Note to NFL teams - don't draft guys from Duke early in the first round.

9. Bo Matthews (RB) - The 2nd overall selection in 1974 lasted six seasons in the NFL and totaled just 1,372 yards and 11 touchdowns for his career.

10. Jerry Tagge (QB) - Tagge only threw three touchdowns vs. seventeen interceptions. The 11th overall pick of the 1972 draft was out of the league after only three seasons.

Biggest Steeler Bust: Huey Richardson (DE) - In Chuck Noll's final draft as head coach, in 1991, Richardson was selected 15th overall. He would play in 5 games that season without registering a single statistic. He was traded the following training camp by new coach, Bill Cowher, for a seventh round selection. Richardson would finish his career after the 1992 season without ever registering so much as a single tackle. Richardson went on to earn his MBA in 2000 and works as a financial analyst for Merrill Lynch in New York City. Oddly enough he was in the World Trade Center for a meeting on the morning of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. His meeting was scheduled to take place on an upper floor of the building but he was delayed in the lobby before boarding the elevator. He was able to leave the building safely after the first plane hit the building.

Couple of quick hit facts for you:

  • Only one team had two busts in the top 10 - Chargers (Leaf, 1998 & Matthews, 1974)
  • The Lions had three in the top 15, and two of them shared the last name of Rogers - (Charles, 2003 & Reggie, 1987)
  • The only other Steeler on the list is Tim Worley (1989) at 25. The 7th overall pick of the 1989 draft lasted just 6 seasons in the NFL totally 1,792 yards and 8 touchdowns.
I'm sure we've all seen some if not all of these guys and watched their disastrous careers unravel. Who will be called early on Saturday that are the most likely to join this infamous list?