27 Oct 2020

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Worst 1st round picks by pick number since 2010.

No secret the NFL Draft is hard. In some cases, teams can select any player they want but they continue to screw it up year after year. Here’s a list of the worst 1st rounds picks at the respective overall selection number from the last decade. I’d like to thank Baylor University for making this list easier on me.

  1. Sam Bradford- QB, Oklahoma
    • 1st overall in 2010 by the then St. Louis Rams, Sam Bradford was given a monster rookie contract of 6 years, $70M with $50M guaranteed setting a rookie record. At this point I’m 21 years old, and already knew these Big 12 QB’s were fools gold. Pat Mahomes is the only Big 12 QB to win a playoff game, and Bradford is just another guy on a long list of failed QB’s. However, Bradford is quite the swindler…in his underwhelming career he’s earned almost $130M! Lucky for him and shame on those GM’s. Bradford never threw for 4k yards in a season, never won more than 7 games and highest TD output was 21 before throwing just 14 in the following 2 seasons in 7 games.
  2. Luke Joeckel- Tackle, Texas A&M
    • 2nd overall pick by the Jaguars in 2013, Joeckel and current KC Chief Eric Fisher were the Tackle version of Ryan Leaf or Peyton Manning. There was no dispute both would go 1 and 2. Fisher has had a nice career, but Joeckel’s never got off the ground. Playing for the lowly Jags, Luke started just 5 games his rookie year, 16 the following and 14 in his 3rd before being moved to Guard where he only played 4 games. To make things worse if there are any Jags fans reading this, Lane Johnson went 4th that year.
  3. Dion Jordan- DE, Oregon
    • The pick right after Luke Joeckel! Dion Jordan was famous for not being able to pass a urinalysis. Failed test after failed test made him a punchline, and despite getting another shot with the Raiders in 2019, the time has come and gone for this guy. 50 career games in 6 years with just 4 starts.
  4. Denzel Ward- CB, Ohio State
    • This was a tough pick to make. I wouldn’t say it’s a knock on Ward, but he might just be the worst of the best at 4. Players selected 4th overall include guys like Zeke, Amari Cooper, Lane Johnson, Leonard Fournette, AJ Green and Trent Williams. Sammy Watkins was selected 4th, but there have been more times in his career where he’s looked like a clear #1 than Ward has looked like a top-notch CB. Ward had a solid rookie year and backed it up with an even better sophomore year and as of now, is the better pick from their Baker/Ward draft. He’s allowed 1 passing TD in 414 coverage snaps and ranks 8th in incompletion percentage with 18.8%.
  5. Justin Blackmon- WR, Oklahoma State
    • At one point during his illustrious career at OSU, Justin Blackmon was labeled the next Dez Bryant. They played with very similar styles, were big, physical and tough to tackle after the catch. Some thought, including myself, that Blackmon was better. He ended his career with 20 games, 18 starts, 93 catches for 1,280 yards and 6 TD’s. Blackmon seemed to put together odd games as well; he got a lot of targets when he wasn’t suspended and put together a 236yd performance against Houston as a rookie in 2012. Then, before being suspended and never seeing the field again, Blackmon’s last 2 games went for 19 total catches on 29 targets for 326 total yards. By the end of his 2nd season, Blackmon had failed 3 drug tests and while attending alcohol abuse courses mandated by the court, Blackmon was arrested for a DUI. Jacksonville placed him on probation for a year and he never saw the field again.
  6. Morris Claiborne- CB, LSU
    • The Cowboys swapped 1st round picks and their 45th overall pick with Tampa Bay to move up to the 6th overall pick and draft Claiborne. During this time, Darrelle Revis was the shut down corner in the league, and so the comparisons began. Jerry Jones even said he was their highest graded Corner since Deion. Morris actually stuck it out in Dallas all 5 years, but after starting 15 games as a rookie, Claiborne wouldn’t crack double-digit starts again until year 4. By year 3, Claiborne had been demoted out of the Cowboys’ top 3 Corner Backs on a defense that finished last in the league. Despite all this, Claiborne had a couple bounce back years after leaving Dallas and played a lot of quality snaps for the Jets for 2 years.
  7. Kevin White- WR, West Virginia
    • Here is your ultimate Combine, workout warrior. A guy when you take off the pads and helmet and watch him run around in spandex, teams start to get excited. This was the year with Amari Cooper, and after his combine performance, there were a lot of people who though Kevin White was the clear #1 WR in this draft. He came into the Combine at 6’3, 215lbs with 9 ½” hands. Ran a 4.35 40, 23 reps on the bench, 36 ½” vert with 123” broad jump. He lit up the Combine and Chicago took the bait with the 7th pick. White played in just 14 games and started 5 and with 25 career catches, never scored a touchdown.
  8. Jake Locker- QB, Washington
    • I could have also gone Justin Gilbert here just to remind Browns fans, but whiffing on a QB is much worse. Jake Locker surprised everyone when he returned to Washington for his Senior year. Some thought it was the mature thing to do and others thought there was something wrong with his game. Had he came out as a Junior, everyone had him projected as a top-5 pick. He stayed in school and his Senior year he struggled. Every meaningful stat had got worse but still, people were still in love with Locker. He ended up going 8th that year; still early, but some thought he was falling. He fell for good reason. Locker’s inaccuracy became a huge problem and he posted a career 9-14 record in 23 starts and played in just 30 games. In his 1st season as a starter, Locker only managed to play 11 games, going 4-7 with fewer than 2,200 passing yards and threw more INT’s than TD’s.
  9. Dee Milliner- DB, Alabama
    • Our first of 3 Jets picks on this list. It can be difficult to judge the impact a DB is having, until you hear their name for constantly blowing an assignment. Coming out of Alabama, Milliner for a 4.37 40, 36” vert with a 122” broad jump and had the tape to back it up. He played in a similar attacking defense in Alabama that he ended up playing under Rex Ryan and everyone thought it was a seamless transition. Milliner played 66% of the team’s snaps his rookie year making 12 starts in 13 games and was ranked 8th in Passes Defended with 17. Milliner then played in just 2 games in year 2 before being put on IR and when he was activated in November of 2015, he never made another start and dressed for just 5 games and played 0 snaps.
  10. Josh Rosen- QB, UCLA
    • This draft consisted of Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and this guy. Some thought his poise, accuracy and intelligence made him the best QB in the draft. I could have gone Blaine Gabbert here, or because I simply didn’t like the guy, Eli Apple, but neither of those 2 had the hype Rosen had. When Gabbert went 10th you kind of looked around the room like who the hell is this guy?? When Rosen got picked, you thought the complete opposite. Playing in Southern California, bringing light to a dark UCLA program, the guy had the makings of someone that could lead a franchise. He had a couple bright spots for the Cardinals his rookie year when you saw the throws that looked the part of a 10-year starter. He could stand tall in the pocket, keep his eyes down field and deliver a strike…to the other team. 12 TD’s to 19 INT’s and a career 3-13 record. Rosen may have had the tools, but I think at this point of his career the developmental aspect has been stunted and at best, he’s a backup with a big name.
  11. Vernon Hargreaves- CB, Florida
    • Ahhh this was the guy I wanted for my Giants in 2016! After missing out on Jack Conklin, I thought it’s ok, they’ll get the nice Corner from Florida…Giants took Eli Apple the pick prior to this, and Tampa took Hargreaves. Turns out they both sucked and shortly after being sent home from practice for quitting on his team, the Bucs cut Hargreaves. He played in 1 game in 2018 and in November of 2019, Tampa cut him. Hargreaves then quickly signed with Houston where he played the remainder of the season before being cut again in February of 2020. This past April, the Texans brought him back on a 1-year deal worth $1.3M.
  12. Rashan Gary- DL, Michigan
    • This 12th overall spot over the last decade has seen guys like Fletcher Cox, Sheldon Rankins, Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham and the guy who I could have chosen, Sam Ponder’s husband. But I’ve got to go out on a limb here and make a bold claim. The jury is still out on Rashan Gary, who didn’t make 1 start, dressed for all 16 games but only played 24% of the team’s snaps. You could argue that the defense was as good as it’s been in years, but he’s still the 12th overall pick, and someone who you expect to pay dividends almost immediately. The story of Gary’s sports agency business was shocking to people as the news broke before the draft, and comments that made people think this guy wasn’t totally in love with football. To me, that’s a story we all look back on in a year or two, see his lack of production and think, “Wow, it’s so obvious how didn’t the Packers see that?” When you combine that, and the fact that former #1 high school prospect put together such an underwhelming collegiate career, it’ll be on a list like this for years to come. Again, I’m taking a chance on this, but what I just mentioned has all the makings for this guy to be a bust.
  13. Nick Fairley- DL, Auburn
    • Over the last decade, Michael Floyd and Haason Reddick are the only 2 players selected 13th that didn’t play on the LOS. Having played on the same Auburn team as Cam Newton, I remember thinking we only know who this guy is because of the spotlight Newton put the team in. Selected by Detroit, Fairley failed to start a game his rookie year. He then started only 7 games year 2 and year 3 put together a solid season with 15 starts, 6 sacks and 19 QB hits. But by year 4 he could only play 8 games, and would bounce around from the Rams until he found a home in New Orleans where he actually started all 16 games, recorded 6.5 sacks but the then 28 year-old couldn’t find a deal elsewhere.
  14. DeVante Parker- WR, Louisville
    • Parker had a lot of hype coming out of Louisville. He put up a really nice combine on top of being top-5 in a few major categories in Louisville football’s history. But like so many other receivers, he isn’t making the QB’s better, and Miami has been miserable over these past 5 years that Parker has been around. I’ll be honest though, he had a nice end to the 2019 season, but this was 5 years later. 2019 was the first season he cracked 100 targets and 70 catches. Before the season he posted 2 years with less than 30 catches, 3 years with fewer than 9 starts, and 9 combined receiving TD’s through 4 years which happened to be equal to what he put up this year. Parker may have turned the corner, and with Tua there, we get some promise, but as of now he’s a 26 year-old who has been unable to stay healthy and produce.
  15. Corey Coleman- WR, Baylor
    • Who remembers Corey Coleman on Hard Knocks walking into Hue Jackson’s office saying if you don’t want to play why don’t you trade me?? Coleman is now a NY Giant coming off a torn ACL which he suffered in a voluntary practice last year. Coleman is also yet another scrub Big 12 player on this list. He played in Baylor’s spread offense where he had all the room to operate and had his 40 video go viral because he looked cut running with his shirt off. He hasn’t played more than 10 games in a year, has 61 career catches and only 5 TD’s. I’m sure Hue Jackson wanted to say, “Who do you think wants you?”
  16. EJ Manuel- QB, Florida State
    • Originally, I had this spot going to the Jets’ former 1st-round pick, to Quinton Coples and the nasty brands he put on his arms but I’ll spare the Jets fans. However, Manuel’s performance has earned the right to be on the list. Selected 16th overall by Buffalo, and a reach as soon as we all heard the name, Manuel finished his career with a 6-12 record and played in just 30 games. His final year in Buffalo he started 1 game; went 11-26, 131yds…sick numbers. He then went onto be a backup in Oakland and after the 2017 season the teams dried up, and Manuel was out in 5 years.
  17. Jarvis Jones- LB, Georgia
    • I was a huge fan of Jones coming out of Georgia. He played in school with Alec Ogletree and the 2 were downright filthy. Rangey Linebackers who ate up everything and did all the dirty work. As a rookie, Jones played in 14 games but started just 8, then followed that up with an 18-tackle sophomore campaign and had just 71 tackles over the next 2 seasons even with a 15 start season in his 3rd year in which he could only make 29 stops. Not what we typically see out of Pittsburgh linebackers.
  18. Calvin Pryor- DB, Louisville
    • For people, like myself, who lived around and had friends in the NY/NJ area, I cannot tell you the hype that surrounded Calvin Pryor…it was like you were getting Ed Reed with the Troy Polamalu instincts and Steve Atwater hitting power. If you can picture the buzz around Jamal Adams, Pryor’s was even more before playing a down. But he didn’t have a position; he started games at both Safety spots and Corner, and didn’t do any of them well. He hit really hard, but that didn’t mean anything when you were too slow and undisciplined in your footwork to put yourself in position to knock a guy out. Pryor would finish his career with just 2 INT’s (and those INT’s were celebrated by Jets fans) 2 forced fumbles and by the time he was 25, didn’t record a single stat. Way to go.
  19. Shea McClellin- DE, Boise State
    • Thinking about it, the Bears’ organization makes some pretty odd moves. They’ve always been a cheap organization, without a rich history of replacing current starters with rookies who end up becoming very good players, but then they give money to the strangest people or select some random guys. I’ve never heard a Bears fan say anything good about McClellin. It seems as if the fans were able to write this guy’s destiny. He played 5 years in the league, bounced around from DE, and OLB and actually started 31 games during his time in Chicago before beginning and ending his career totaling just 4. He racked up just 8.5 sacks and had 4 of his 5 seasons with 5 or fewer TFL. McClellin was mostly just a warm body out there; occupying blocks, rarely making impactful plays, and that’ll only buy you so many years. A tough player to write about too, just a boring pick all around.
  20. Kendall Wright- WR, Baylor
    • Here we go with another former Big 12 player! Just kidding, I think the SEC will end up cracking double-digits on this list. Not much of an exciting pick either way, but what I do remember about Wright was he was like the WR version of Jacquizz Rodgers. He was the guy that was supposed to be that fantasy sleeper player year after year, but it never happened, and Wright was just a guy out there. He had over 240 targets his first 2 seasons, but that number continuously dropped over the next 3 seasons in Tennessee before seeing more action in Chicago before he ultimately would be left out of the league.
  21. Phil Taylor- DT, Baylor
    • After starting all 16 games as a rookie in 2011, Cleveland placed Taylor on the PUP list just before the 2012 season and he played just 8 games that year. Then he played 15 his 3rd year and just 5 his 4th year before being placed on IR. That was the end of Taylor’s time in Cleveland. He never played more than 50% of the team’s snaps, and after a 4 sack rookie campaign, his production was a steady decline and by the time he was out of the league, Taylor had signed and been cut by 3 more teams without playing a down.
  22. Johnny Manziel- QB, Texas A&M
    • Alright, this could have its own article for this guy’s story. What seemed comical at the beginning and somewhat deserving, turned tragic, and we saw a guy just basically give up. Manziel lit up college football, but the athleticism looked below average on Sundays. Poor pocket presence, couldn’t throw with anticipation, wouldn’t go through progressions, was too quick to pull it and try to run with it, and it just never worked. A career 2-6 record, Manziel threw for 1,675 yards on 147 completions with 7 TD’s and 7 INT’s. Many of these issues were self-inflicted, but by the way he carried himself he put a target on his back and the entire league couldn’t wait to expose him.
  23. Laquon Treadwell- WR, Ole Miss
    • The hype around this dude was real. At one point, people had him locked into a top-10 pick going to the Giants where he could play along some star receivers. A poor pro-day began the free-fall for Treadwell. He ran slow and didn’t jump high; not a good mix for a WR. He failed to show the explosiveness a guy his size needed to have and the skills didn’t translate to the league. Treadwell started 1 game his rookie year, had 3 targets for 1 catch for 15 yards. He’s totaled just over 700 receiving yards throughout his 4 years and took him until year 3 to get his first touchdown.
  24. Bjoern Werner- DE/OLB, Florida State
    • After an unimpressive combine, the Colts still rolled the dice on Werner, the DE/OLB born in Germany that played at Florida State. Werner played on Colts’ defenses that couldn’t stop a nose-bleed and even he couldn’t crack the lineup. He started 1 game as a rookie before starting 15 during his incredibly unproductive 2nd season and at the end of year 3, he was off the team after not starting a game and only featured in 10.
  25. Artie Burns- CB, Miami
    • If spotlight points counted, this spot would go to Tim Tebow, but our next player is a QB, and quite frankly, Burns is just terrible. When Pittsburgh selected Burns it felt like a huge reach. And fittingly so, this was the 2016 draft, where just about every CB who went in the first, besides Jalen Ramsey, could have been on this list (Eli Apple, Hargreaves, William Jackson III). However, putting Burns in a situation where he’s got a good pass rush in front of him should work to his advantage, but he just never got it. He played every game up until 2019, started 31 of those 48 games, but wasn’t a factor. 3 INT’s his rookie year in 9 starts looked good, but he’s had 1 since and after playing in 99% of the team’s snaps in year 2, Burns’ snaps dropped to 30% in ’18 and 6% this past season.
  26. Paxton Lynch- QB, Memphis
    • Paxton Lynch…this guy was big, could move, had a cannon for an arm and was John Elway’s first screwup taking a QB. Lynch looked like the guy on the Red Baron pizza boxes, and just like the pizza, he sucked too. Career 1-3 record, 792 total passing yards and 4 TD’s with 4 INT’s. He last recorded a stat in 2017.
  27. Rashaad Penny- RB, San Diego State
    • This guy was a beast at San Diego State, setting every rushing record, but he was just that; a good college football player. Surprisingly, for a team who typically drafts very well, Seattle took the bait and drafted him in the first round in 2018. He’s currently recovering from a torn ACL, he’s never started a game, and has accumulated just 789 rushing yards and 5 TD’s in 24 career games and looks as if he’s going to eat himself out of the league.
  28. Taco Charlton- DE, Michigan
    • Speaking of eating, here’s another disappointing Jim Harbaugh Michigan product. Charlton has the size and athleticism to make one think this were going to work out in Dallas. He couldn’t get on the field, playing fewer than 40% of his snaps every season and a non-factor on Special Teams as well. Charlton played in all 16 games his rookie season but didn’t start 1, and in his 37 career games he’s managed to start just 12. He signed with KC this past offseason and could be in a position to try and jump-start his career in a good system like Emmanuel Ogbah did in 2019. But for now, he’s just another 1st-round bust.
  29. Robert Nkemdiche- DL, Ole Miss
    • Coming from NJ, and hearing all about this guy, this spot could have gone to former NY Jet and 1st-round pick Kyle Wilson, making him the 4th Jets player on this list, but Robert Nkemdiche had to be here. Being the former #1 HS recruit in the country, Nkemdiche chose to play with his brother at Ole Miss. He had the size and speed to be a top-5 talent and displayed it every Saturday; he was a man among boys and what you saw on the field is what every team wanted on their interior DL. But then the character flaws began to show up…jumping out of the 4th-story window in an attack of paranoia before police had found weed in his hotel room. But what type of beast are you to jump out of a window that high at 300lbs and not destroy your knees?? This was just the start to big Bob’s downfall. He never started more than 6 games, and it took him till his 3rd year to start a game. He’s failed to play more than 12 games in a single season and has just 4.5 sacks. He played just 16 snaps in 2019 for Miami (1%), setting a new low from his 8% his rookie year. Given his college film, Nkemdiche might be one of the most talented guys on this list, but he just couldn’t piece it all together.
  30. AJ Jenkins- WR, Illinois
    • Something tells me Miami’s 2020 pick, Noah Igbinoghene will be on this list if I were to do another in 3 years, but I’m not going there right now, so former 49er AJ Jenkins is the guy. Jenkins played 1…1 season in San Fran! Featured in just 3 games, Jenkins had 1 target and 0 catches before ending up in KC for 2 years. There he had just 32 total targets in 2 seasons, with 17 catches and 223 yards in 17 starts with 0 TD’s. And if you’re still reading this article all the way down here good on you, so I won’t keep you much longer. Those stats are good enough for me to move onto pick 31.
  31. Reuben Foster- LB, Alabama
    • Labeled as the best Linebacker to ever come out of a Nick Saban program, Foster looked like a stud. He did everything you’d ask him to do, but like Nkemdiche, the character held him back as well as the injuries. Currently rehabbing from 2 torn major knee ligaments, Foster was selected by San Fran and after a good start to his career, had an ugly run-in with the law and has found himself in Washington having probably played his last down in the NFL.
  32. David Wilson- RB, Virginia Tech
    • I could have had Ereck Flowers and Eli Apple on this list, but luckily, someone out there drafts worse than the Giants do. So with the 32nd pick, we finally get a Giants player and rightfully so. You can’t be this bad for this long and not have someone featured here. Wilson was in the dog house early with Tom Coughlin; fumbles and injuries had him buried on the depth chart and if it weren’t for his ability in the return game, I’m not sure we would have ever seen him on the field. However, a neck injury cut his career short, and shortly after he retired before the start of his 3rd season, Wilson had posted videos of him training for the Olympics, still under contract…. He’d finish his career with just 504 rushing yards, and 5 TD’s.

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