Each year when the NFL draft comes around, it’s fun to see which team picks which player and who they passed on. What’s even more fun is to go back and look at previous drafts and see how those players turned out in comparison with when they were drafted. You’ll always find a few guys who performed much better than most in the NFL thought they would. It’s usually a nice feel-good story when you see a guy who was drafted in the fourth or fifth round to go on to a nice career.
It’s always very interesting to watch the top picks as they progress through their career in the NFL. These are the players who were deemed to be the very best in their class and got a ton of money to sign with the team that drafted them. Some pan out and go on to glorious careers and then again, some don’t.
It’s also fun to see how many teams have had top picks and blown them on players who washed out and never amounted to much if anything at all. To take that a step further, it’s even more interesting to see the teams that have done this on multiple occasions. The Cleveland Browns and New York Jets are well known for blowing good draft picks.
Today we will look at some of the biggest mistakes that teams have made at each draft since 2000. Some players you have heard of, some you have forgotten about and there is one or two that you have never heard of, with good reason.
19 2018: Josh Allen (Bills, #7 Overall)
This one is really still too early to call but it certainly doesn’t look good so far. The Bills used their No. 7 overall pick in the last draft to bring in Josh Allen from Wyoming and he is quickly learning that the level of talent in the NFL is a bit above what he’s used to playing in the Mountain West Conference.
He’s only played in five games to this point in his career but he has only two touchdown passes while throwing five interceptions. There is still plenty of time to turn into a solid starter, but things are certainly not off to a good start up in Buffalo.
18 2017: DeShone Kizer (Browns, #52 Overall)
Here we talk about the Cleveland Browns wasting yet another draft pick on a quarterback. This one wasn’t all that bad but it’s still a second-round pick that they just threw down the toilet.
DeShone Kizer signed a four-year deal that guaranteed him more than $4 million and less than a year later he was shipped out of town. He got into 15 games during his only season in Cleveland but he threw just 11 touchdown passes while tossing 22 interceptions for the 0-16 Browns.
Cleveland traded him to the Packers where he now backs up Aaron Rodgers, and he will probably be nothing more than a very well-paid backup for the rest of his career.
17 2016: Roberto Aguayo (Buccaneers, #59 Overall)
When an NFL team trades up to draft a kicker you just know that it’s not going to end well. Roberto Aguayo was money while kicking at Florida State. He was the most accurate kicker in the history of the ACC and was third in the history of the NCAA. But still, you don’t trade up to draft him in the second round. The Buccaneers knew better but did it anyway and took him with the No. 59 overall pick in 2016.
There is still time for him to do something in the NFL, but so far he’s already been released by three teams AFTER the Bucs. It’s not looking good for him right now.
16 2015: Phillip Dorsett (Colts, #29 Overall)
This one is just mind-boggling. Phillip Dorsett was a game breaker while playing college ball for the Miami Hurricanes. It wasn’t a surprise that he went in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but it was a bit surprising that he lasted all the way until the Colts made him theirs with the No. 29 overall pick.
He still has some time to turn things around but his time is getting shorter with each passing year. He did two years with the Colts and totaled only around 750 yards receiving. He moved on to the Patriots and was unimpressive last year but this year he has already almost topped his poor numbers from a year ago. He may still turn into a star in New England but for Indianapolis, it turned out to be a wasted pick.
15 2014: Johnny Manziel (Browns, #22 Overall)
The Cleveland Browns have had more than their share of wasted draft picks. But when Johnny Manziel texted Cleveland quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains with "Hurry up and draft me because I want to be there," they should have seen the writing on the wall and moved on and not take him with the No. 22 overall pick in 2014. But you know that’s just not how the Brownies do things.
“Johnny Football” got into more trouble than he got into games during his two years in Cleveland. His NFL career consisted of 14 games, 1,675 yards passing, seven picks, and seven fumbles. He’s now in the CFL and things aren’t going very well for him up there either. So far he’s been in five games and has two touchdown passes and six picks.
14 2013: Dee Milliner (Jets, #9 Overall)
The Jets have had some very stingy defenses over the years. That’s because no matter who is in charge on the field, they seem to know how to put together a good defense. This was not one of their better moves though. Dee Milliner came in from Alabama with the No. 9 overall pick of the 2013 draft and he showed a lot of promise his first year in New York.
Things changed for him after that season though as he suffered injury after injury and he only got into 8 games over the next two seasons. His three years in New York saw him total 63 tackles (56 in his rookie year), and three picks, all of them coming in that rookie season. He never stepped foot on the field again.
13 2012: Justin Blackmon (Jaguars, #5 Overall)
When Justin Blackmon was playing football at Oklahoma State everyone knew that he struggled with off-field problems. Despite that well-known fact, the Jacksonville Jaguars wasted their No. 5 overall draft pick in 2012 on him. Somehow, he convinced them that he had everything under control and it wouldn’t be a problem once he joined the NFL. He effectively lied to them.
His rookie season was fantastic, as he caught 64 balls for 865 yards and five touchdowns. That was all she wrote for him, though. The next season he was suspended by the NFL twice and has never been seen on a football field since.
12 2011: Jake Locker (Titans, #8 Overall)
Jake Locker was a very popular quarterback when he was at Washington. At one point there was a lot of talk that he might be the #1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft but he decided to go back to school for his senior year.
The team was bad and his stats weren’t all that great but the Titans still picked him up at #8 overall in 2011. He spent four seasons in Tennessee and TOTALLED 4,967 yards in a grand total of 30 games played. After that fourth season, he quit, saying he had no desire to play anymore. Maybe he realized that he was another top-ranked QB that didn’t live up to his hype.
11 2010: Tim Tebow (Broncos, #25 Overall)
Tim Tebow was one of the most overrated college quarterbacks of all-time. Sure, he was good while playing with the Florida Gators. But he was your stereotypical system quarterback. He thrived in Gainesville but many knew it wasn’t going to translate into the NFL. That’s why he stayed on the board as long as he did.
Denver took him at No. 25 overall and despite winning a playoff game, his stats were bad and his career was predictably short. To be exact, it was three seasons short with a career completion percentage of an amazingly low 47%. He played two seasons in Denver and finished his career with one meaningless year in New York with the Jets.
10 2009: Mark Sanchez (Jets, #5 Overall)
When the Jets chose Mark Sanchez with the #5 overall draft pick in 2009, they made it out to be like he was the next coming of Joe Namath. Sanchez led the team for four seasons and even went to the AFC Championship Game in his first two seasons in the league. That wasn’t because of anything he did, though. The truth is that he just wasn’t that good. Another quarterback might have turned one of those teams into Super Bowl Champions.
Sanchez tossed 69 picks in his four years with the Jets compared to his 68 touchdowns. They let him go after those four years and he only got into 15 more games over the next three years with Dallas and Philly.
9 2008: Derrick Harvey (Jaguars, #8 Overall)
Derrick Harvey was the co-MVP of the 2007 BCS National Championship Game for the Florida Gators. When the Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed him at No. 8 overall the following draft they thought they were bringing in a guy who was going to strike fear in every opposing quarterback. What they got was quite the opposite.
When his third season had ended he wasn’t even in the starting lineup anymore, and barely cracking the second string. When that season was done he moved on to Denver, where he was equally unimpressive. His career ended after that season with a grand total of 8 sacks in 52 games played.
8 2007: JaMarcus Russell (Oakland, #1 Overall)
JaMarcus Russell was probably one of the highest touted draft picks of all time. He was big and strong, with a cannon for an arm and he had great feet for when he had to scramble. Defensive coordinators were having nightmares about him even before the Raiders took him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007.
However, like so many others before him, he never lived up to the hype. He could throw like a cannon, but his accuracy was way off, and over his first two seasons he only completed 52% of his passes. After that second season, he was released and he never stepped foot on an NFL field again.
7 2006: Matt Leinart (Arizona, #10 Overall)
Here’s an argument for leaving college early. Matt Leinart was a stud in his junior year at USC and was projected to go #1 overall at the 2005 NFL Draft. He decided to return to the college ranks for one more season and interest in him fell severely over the course of the season.
At the 2006 draft, the Cardinals still thought he was good enough to save their franchise so they took him at #10. He was only the big man on campus for a single season and after three seasons he hadn’t accomplished squat in the desert. He caught on with the Texans and Raiders before his short, unimpressive career came to an end.
6 2005: Maurice Clarett (Denver, #101 Overall)
Do you remember the great Maurice Clarett debacle of ‘05? He tried to enter the NFL Draft as a sophomore in 2004 but was denied. It was devastating to him because he also gave up his remaining college eligibility with the attempt.
When he came to the combine in 2005, after being away from the field for a year, he posted very unimpressive numbers and it looked like he may go undrafted. However, the Broncos saw something that nobody else did and took him in the third round.
It turned out that every other NFL team was right because he never even made it out of training camp. Clarett is the perfect example of why to stay in school as long as you can.
5 2004: J.P. Losman (Buffalo, #22 Overall)
Thanks to a trade, the Bills had two first-round picks in the 2004 draft. They used the second pick (#22 overall) to take J.P. Losman, who had played his collegiate ball at Tulane and UCLA. He was the first quarterback taken in the first round by the Bills since 1983 when the team grabbed future legend, Jim Kelly. Unfortunately for Bills fans, things didn’t turn out quite the same.
Losman did play five seasons in Buffalo, but only one time did he play in all 16 games. It wasn’t a bad year with more than 3,000 yards passing and 19 touchdown passes against 14 interceptions. That happened in his third season and in no other season did he even come close to those numbers again.
4 2003: Johnathan Sullivan (New Orleans, #6 Overall)
In 2003 the Saints thought that Johnathan Sullivan was the man to come in and be the anchor of their defensive line. The defensive tackle had been a stud at Georgia but he never materialized into anything spectacular in the NFL.
His rookie season he started 12 games but only started a grand total of four over the next two seasons. After that third season, they realized that they had a major bust on their hands and they traded him to the Patriots. When they released him he had never played a game for them, ending his short, unspectacular NFL career.
3 2002: Joey Harrington (Detroit, #3 Overall)
Do you remember Joey Harrington? He put up monster numbers his senior year in college prompting to Lions to draft him at #3. Fans in Detroit thought, or at least hoped, that he would come in and have a Hall of Fame career. The only problem was that it was the Lions. In those days, no quarterback had fun in Detroit.
Harrington won a total of 18 games over four seasons in Detroit before moving on to the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons were he was equally as bad.
He wasn’t going to be a Hall of Famer but he wasn’t all that bad. He was just unlucky enough to get drafted by Detroit.
2 2001: Jamal Reynolds (Green Bay, #10 Overall)
Jamal Reynolds had a monster season during his senior year at Florida State. Green Bay traded up in the draft to snag him at #10 and he didn’t even last long enough to be a one-hit wonder.
His rookie year turned out to be his best season in the NFL, and it really wasn’t anything to write home about. He played six games and tallied a pair of quarterback sacks. In the 2002 season, he notched a sack in seven more games played and in 2003 he had zero sacks in just five games.
Before the 2004 season, Green Bay traded him to the Colts but he failed a physical so the deal was voided and the Packers just released him. That was the end of his NFL career.
1 2000: Courtney Brown (Cleveland, #1 Overall)
I know what you’re going to say… Who? At first, this looked like a great pick as Brown had 4.5 sacks and 69 tackles in his rookie year. Unfortunately for him and the Browns though, he was a one-hit wonder.
In his second season, he only got into 5 games because of knee and ankle injuries and he missed time in 2002 as well with a different knee injury. In 2003 he suffered from a torn bicep and a foot injury kept him on the sideline for most of the 2004 season. An elbow injury hurt his 2005 season and in 2006, as a member of the Broncos, he hurt his knee once again. So you can say it again… Who?