When looking at the biggest draft mistakes of the 2000s, there comes a line of demarcation that starts around 2007 - there are certain players who just don't get it right away in the NFL, and they should be given time as such. That's why 2007 is our cutoff point for draft year, though there are players we suspect will be on this list very soon (hello, Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes)) However, we'll stay away from capping on guys with repeated injuries - it's less the fault of some players that they didn't make it; not much to do if you can't get on the field. But as for the busts - where are they now? How many of these guys are still in the NFL, and how many have seen their dreams go up in smoke?
WR Peter Warrick(notes), Florida State: Taken fourth overall by the Bengals, Warrick had a couple of decent seasons in his first contract, but never came close to living up to his draft position. After a non-starter season with the Seahawks in 2005, Warrick has been involved with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League, the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, and the Bloomington Extreme of the indoor Football League.
WR R. Jay Soward, USC: Lest we think that the Jags started making terrible receiver choices in the mid-2000s, there's the story of Soward. Then-Jags Coach Tom Coughlin tried everything possible to get Soward with the program, but Soward was but one example of the following truism: If a kid has drug problems in college, giving him millions of dollars and loads of free time won't improve things. Seems obvious, but that's why this former 29th overall pick made it for only one season in the NFL. After a few dalliances with the CFL, Soward's currently out of football.
WR David Terrell(notes), Michigan: Yes, another receiver bust - get used to it. Terrell was taken eighth overall by the Bears in the 2001 draft, never broke the 700-yard mark in Chicago, and has tried out unsuccessfully for several teams since the Broncos released him in August of 2007.
WR Koren Robinson(notes), North Carolina State: Taken one pick after Terrell, Robinson struggled with substance abuse during his time with the Seahawks, and didn't do much on the field later on for the Vikings and Packers.
QB David Carr(notes), Fresno State: Carr's traumatic NFL journey wasn't entirely his fault - the first pick in Houston Texans history was absolutely butted behind a horrible offensive line. He's currently backing up Alex Smith in San Francisco, who we'll talk about a little later.
QB Joey Harrington(notes), Oregon: Yet another pretty good college quarterback who never had a chance in the NFL, being named the face of the Lions franchise by Matt Millen and all. His name last came up when the Saints released him in September of 2009.
T Mike Williams, Texas: Taken fourth overall by the Bills in 2003, Williams started fairly strong, but ate himself out of the league by 2005, He's currently a depth-projected guy on Washington's line after losing over 100 pounds prior to the 2009 season.
DT Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin: Another drug casualty, Bryant was taken 12th overall by the Cardinals and had lost a season to a third strike by 2005. He was last seen on the IR list of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League in 2009.
DB Mike Rumph(notes), Miami: Quite possibly the single worst cover corner of the decade, Rumph was taken 27th overall by the 49ers, alternated between defensive backfield positions, and retired in 2008.
WR Charles Rogers(notes), Michigan State: Yeouch. How best to sum up the NFL career of Charles Rogers? Try this: The last we heard from this second overall pick in 2003, he was ordered to give back $6.1 million of his $9.1 million signing bonus. Possibly the worst pick of the decade.
QB Rex Grossman(notes), Florida/DE Michael Haynes(notes), Penn State: We can actually put these two together, since they were both the mistakes of Bears GM Jerry Angelo. Haynes, who was taken 14th overall, did little of import and was last seen bashing Cedric Benson in the media. Grossman, who's now somewhere on the depth chart in Washington, holds a bit of history as the worst quarterback ever to start a Super Bowl.
OT Robert Gallery(notes), Iowa: Gallery was thought to be one of the better tackle prospects of the decade, but he's done his best work for the Raiders at guard. Though recent injuries have hampered his progress, he might transcend bustitude over time.
WR Roy E. Williams, Texas: Now, Roy on the other hand ... it's quite a feat when you can ruin the prospects of two different teams. Taken seventh overall by the Lions, Williams had one Pro Bowl season before dipping back into oblivion. Then, a very ill-advised trade to Dallas put him on Jerry Jones' bill, where every ‘Boys fan waits for Jerry to admit his mistake.
QB Alex Smith, Utah: Some thought the 49ers were nuts for taking Smith first overall at the time; he's since become the poster child for the rough transition faced by every spread offense quarterback. He's currently on somewhat solid ground as the team's starter, but he still has a lot to prove.
DB Pacman Jones, West Virginia: Jones actually had great talent when he first came into the league, but a litany of off-field issues ruined him. By the time he came back with the Cowboys, he had lost most of his speed, and he's now marking time, trying to get back on with a team.
WR Troy Williamson(notes), South Carolina: There's a big difference between an actual receiver and guy who can run really fast in a straight line. When the Vikings took Williamson seventh overall in 2005, they apparently lost the memo. Williamson's never broken 500 receiving yards in a season, and he's currently struggling to find a place on Jacksonville's sub-par receiver corps.
WR Mike Williams, USC: Oh, look - another Lions first-round receiver bust! Like the other Mike Williams on this list, he majored in buffet before losing weight and coming back to the NFL as a lesser version of his former self in more ways than one. Currently with the Seahawks, and former college coach Pete Carroll, as a camp body.
WR Matt Jones(notes), Arkansas: The ultimate workout warrior here, Jones amazed at the Combine and was overdrafted by the Jags. He started 15 total games for Jacksonville, ran onto some off-field trouble, and is now somewhere down the Bengals' roster.
RB Reggie Bush(notes), USC: Bush is a fringe bust classification; a talented player who was drafted far too high at second overall. He'll stay with the Saints in 2010 despite an $8 million base salary
LB Ernie Sims(notes), Florida State: Recently traded to the Eagles, Sims was yet another Matt Millen overdraft - he was taken ninth overall despite serious concussion issues in college. So far, he's been most noted in the NFL as a rangy but undisciplined player who tends to whiff mightily in space.
QB JaMarcus Russell(notes), LSU: Could there be anyone else as out All-Bust starting quarterback? Taken first overall by the Raiders for his arm strength, Russell has been a hot mess in the NFL - after amassing a career 65.2 quarterback rating in 25 starts, he now faces a legitimate challenge from the immortal Bruce Gradkowski(notes).
WR Ted Ginn, Jr., Ohio State: Another guy with one tool in the box, Ginn was taken ninth overall by the pre-Parcells Dolphins because of his straight-line speed. Basically, he became Troy Williamson, Jr., and was recently traded to San Francisco for a fifth-round pick.
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- Mike Williams