Mon Apr 25 01:06pm EDT
There's an annual debate as to which player was the biggest No. 1 draft bust in history. But what about the guys who went No. 7? Should their NFL failures not be celebrated? To remedy this, Shutdown Corner looked back through the past 25 years of draft history and selected the biggest busts at every drafting slot from No. 1 through No. 10. Think of it as an all-time mock draft of ineptitude.
Russell seduced scouts with his size and arm strength, traits that were great enough to obscure other obvious facts about him, like his lack of work ethic. It's great to show up to pro day and throw the ball 70 yards down field, but to do so while overweight (like Russell did in his LSU workout) should have been a red flag. Unlike some other players on this list, Russell's bust wasn't a surprise. It was more of an inevitability.
Honorable mention: Alex Smith (2005), Tim Couch (1999), Steve Emtman (1992)
2. Ryan Leaf, QB, San Diego Chargers, 1997
For those Indy fans keeping score, that's six interceptions in two weeks for the 22-year-old phenom, whom the Colts selected with the first overall pick in this year's draft.
Actually, they chose him over another 22-year-old "can't-miss" kid named Ryan Leaf. Manning was supposed to be the one with more savvy.
Leaf would only win two more games in the rest of his career, 139 fewer than Manning.
Honorable mention: Charles Rogers (2003), Quentin Coryatt (1992)
3. Andre Wadsworth, DE, Arizona Cardinals, 1998
You were expecting Akili Smith or Heath Shuler? Both would have been fine choices here, but we're giving the nod to Wadsworth, the former Florida State standout who only lasted three years in the league after being taken after Manning and Leaf in the '98 draft. Though injuries derailed the defensive end, who only had eight sacks during his time in Arizona, his agents didn't help either. Wadsworth held out until the day before the 1998 season opener and refused to sign a one-year, $512,000 tender three years later. He never played in the league again.
Honorable mention: Smith (1999), Shuler (1995), Bruce Pickens (1991), Alonzo Highsmith (1987)
4. Peter Warrick, WR, Cincinnati Bengals, 2000
The biggest star in the 2000 national championship game between Virginia Tech and Florida State wasn't Michael Vick(notes). It was Florida State receiver Peter Warrick, who caught six balls for 163 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 59-yard punt return. He had flashes of that brilliance in the pros, but they were too few and far between. Warrick bounced around some professional minor leagues before hanging it up for good in 2009.
5. Curtis Enis, RB, Chicago Bears, 1998
Like Blair Thomas, Ki-Jana Carter and D.J. Dozier before him, Enis kept up the grand tradition of Penn State running back busts. In three seasons with the Bears, Enis rushed for 1,500 yards and four touchdowns. He joins fellow 1998 top-five picks Leaf and Wadsworth on our list.
Honorable mention: Trev Alberts (1994), Mike Junkin (1987)
6. Lawrence Phillips, RB, St. Louis Rams, 1996
The St. Louis Rams couldn't resist. The team knew Phillips was trouble -- he had been arrested during Nebraska's run to the national championship for throwing his girlfriend down a flight of stairs -- yet took him at No. 6 anyway. He did manage 14 touchdowns in his brief NFL career, a total which will eventually be exceeded by his number of years in prison. The former star running back is serving a 31-year sentence for a variety of offenses, including choking another girlfriend and running his car into a group of youths at a pickup football game.
Honorable mention: Pacman Jones (2005), Kelly Stouffer (1987)
7. Andre Ware, QB, Detroit Lions, 1990
Ware was a bust not because of injury or character or attitude but because he wasn't all that great an NFL prospect to begin with. The seventh pick of the 1990 draft set 29 NCAA records in his final season at the University of Houston while helming the team's prolific run-and-shoot offense. It didn't translate to the NFL. Like David Klingler before him and Colt Brennan(notes) after him, Ware was a product of a great system who couldn't replicate his success against professional defenses. He had five touchdown passes in his career, one fewer than he had in a single 1989 game against SMU.
8. David Terrell, WR, Chicago Bears, 2001
If Terrell was half as good as he thought he was, he'd still be in the NFL instead of flaming out after burning bridges and dropping passes during his five NFL seasons.
Honorable mention: None
9. Tommy Vardell, RB, Cleveland Browns, 1992
When your nickname is "Touchdown" there are bound to be some unrealistic expectations that accompany your NFL career. Though the former Stanford star was hardly a JaMarcus-esque bust in the NFL, he never lived up to his billing as a scoring machine.
Technically, the jury is still out on Leinart. Realistically, not so much. The thing is, Leinart may have been considered an even bigger bust had he come out of school after his junior season, when he would have been the likely No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft. Instead, he came back, slipped to No. 10 after his USC Trojans lost in the national championship game to Vince Young(notes) and Texas, and was relegated to the bench during Kurt Warner's(notes) epic NFL swansong. Once Warner retired, Leinart was the presumed Cardinals starter but was passed on the depth chart by Derek Anderson(notes) and eventually cut by the team prior to last season. He signed on with the Texans and didn't play a single snap in all of 2010.
Honorable mention: Jamal Reynolds (2001)
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