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NFL Draft History: Bust or Boom
by ASA - 04/21/2010
I reviewed the NFL Draft picks from 1990 to the present and came up with my BEST of the best and WORST of the worst for each of the top 5 picks. This is my opinion, now let's here yours.
#1 OVERALL DRAFT PICK
BEST - QB Peyton Manning (1998 - Colts) - Do I really need to explain this one?
WORST - RB Ki-Jana Carter (1995 - Bengals) - Tore his ACL in his third carry of the Bengals first pre-season game and never recovered. He tried to comeback but had only 1,114 career yards in 10 seasons with the Bengals, Redskins and Saints. Carter signed a 7-year, 19.2 million dollar contract that included a signing bonus of over 7 million. At the time is was an NFL record contract for a rookie. Ouch!
#2 OVERALL DRAFT PICK
BEST - QB Donovan McNabb (1999 - Eagles) - Led the Eagles to four straight Division Titles from 2001 - 04. He also took Philadelphia to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. He is the Eagles all time leader in career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing TD's. Since drafting McNabb in 1999, the Eagles have an overall record of 118-75-1 and a spread mark of 110-79-5 (58%).
WORST - QB Ryan Leaf (1998 - Chargers) - The Leaf - Manning sweepstakes of 1998 was much ballyhooed at the time. Some loved Leaf. Others loved Manning. I don't think we to discuss who got the better of that draft. The hot headed Leaf was only in the league for four years and completed just 48% of his passes. He started only 18 career games, threw just 14 TD's and a whopping 36 interceptions.
#3 OVERALL DRAFT PICK
BEST - WR Larry Fitgerald (2004- Cardinals) - Although it's still early in his career, Fitzgerald is already well on his way to a stellar career. He has already accumulated 523 career receptions in just 6 seasons (average of 87 per year). During the Cards run to the Super Bowl in 2008, Fitzgerald set a single post season record with 546 receiving yards, 30 receptions and 7 touchdowns. That pushed him past Jerry Rice's post season marks during the 1988-89 season.
WORST - QB Akili Smith (1999- Bengals) - And the Bengals show up again on the "worst" list. Smith was a one year wonder at the University of Oregon making only 11 career starts. Cincy still saw it fit to draft him #3 and we know what happened from there. Smith played just four seasons in the NFL and threw only 5 career TD passes. His lifetime completion percentage was just 46%. Not only did the NFL not want him, neither did the CFL. Smith attempted to resume his career in 2007 with the Calgary Stampeders, however he was eventually released.
#4 OVERALL DRAFT PICK
BEST - OT Jonathan Ogden (1996 - Ravens) - Widely regarded as one of the best offensive lineman of all time. He was the first ever draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens and a darn good one. In his 12-year career, Ogden was named all-pro nine times. He also made the pro bowl for 11 consecutive years from 1997-2007. That means his only non-pro bowl season was his rookie year. A fantastic career to say the least.
WORST - DL Dewayne Robertson (2003 - Jets) - This one was a bit tougher. Many of the #4 overall picks since 1990 have had fairly solid careers. Robertson actually wasn't horrible, however he never lived up to his billing coming out of Kentucky. He played 6 seasons in the NFL and started all but two games. However, he had only 16 career sacks (just a 2.6 average per year) and 186 solo tackles (an average of just 31 per season). Again, not terrible numbers, but nothing to get too excited about.
#5 OVERALL DRAFT PICK
BEST - RB LaDanian Tomlinson (2001 - Chargers) - The Chargers just released Tomlinson (signed with the Jets) after a fantastic nine year career. He stands 8th on the all time rushing list surpassing the likes of Jim Brown and Marshall Faulk in 2009. In 2003 he became the first player ever to rush for 1,000 yards and record 100 receptions in the same season. Last year he also became the fastest player to 150 TD's on December 6th scoring on a 4-yard run vs. the Browns. He currently ranks 2nd all time in rushing TD's behind Emmitt Smith.
WORST - LB Trev Alberts (1994 - Colts) - The ultra opinionated Roberts did next to nothing in his three years with the Colts. In his defense, he was often injured but was a bust in every sense of the word. He started only seven games in his NFL career and tallied only four sacks. Much more was expected of him coming out of Nebraska as the Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker. After retiring in 1997, Alberts went on to become an ESPN college football analyst in 2002. He was terminated from ESPN in 2005 and has since gone on to a few other TV gigs.