The Worst First-Round Draft Pick for All 32 NFL Teams Since 2000

We rank the two worst first-round draft picks for all 32 NFL teams since 2000, including Vernon Gholston, Kyle Boller, and EJ Manuel.

The 2024 NFL Draft is right around the corner. It seems as if the excitement surrounding the draft increases with each successive year.

While the anticipation of where these young men will begin their professional careers takes center stage, the unfortunate reality is each team is going to make one, if not several very poor selections every year. Today, we honor those players by looking back at the worst first-round picks made by every team since the turn of the century.

Worst First-Round Picks Since 2000

Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen (2018)

The Cardinals have struggled to draft in the last decade. There were multiple candidates for the unceremonious top spot. Although the Cardinals were able to recoup a second-round pick for the failed starting QB, I’m giving the crown to Josh Rosen.

Quarterback is the most important position in football. Getting it wrong can set a franchise back multiple years. While the Cardinals quickly course-corrected, selecting Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall the following year, that doesn’t excuse the disaster that was the Rosen experiment.

Despite going No. 10 overall, Rosen didn’t start to open the season. He got his chance in Week 3, replacing Sam Bradford. Rosen started the remainder of the season, but suffice it to say, things did not go well. He completed 55% of his passes and threw 11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions in 13 starts. From Weeks 13-16, Rosen had an impressive stretch of futility where he didn’t throw a single touchdown.

Rosen’s performance was so poor that the team had no reservations about moving on just one year later. He would go on to start just three games for the Miami Dolphins in 2019. Rosen was out of football in 2020 before making a brief return with the Atlanta Falcons in 2021. He has not played since.

Robert Nkemdiche had injury and character concerns, falling to the end of the first round. He produced just 4.5 sacks for Arizona and was drafted before Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. Nkemdiche flamed out despite being an intriguing prospect in college.

Runner-up: Robert Nkemdiche (2016)

Atlanta Falcons: Peria Jerry (2009)

Atlanta’s track record of early-round picks is impressively strong. They haven’t completely whiffed on a first-round pick to the point where the player was worthless and out of the league before the end of their first contract. They’re one of the very few teams capable of claiming that.

Their search for a primary pass rusher has been rough, though. Their 2009 first-rounder Peria Jerry barely played through his first four seasons, totaling just 64 tackles before his career-best season in 2013. Jerry was 25 as a rookie but was nowhere near ready to help a team making a playoff push.

Takkarist McKinley, who produced 13 sacks by his third season, flamed out quickly despite the solid start to his career. He wasn’t a bad pick in comparison to many others’ busts.

Runner-up: Takkarist McKinley (2017)

Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Boller (2003)

The Baltimore Ravens are very respected as one of the best drafting teams in the NFL. Their front office is highly respected by fans and pundits alike. But even the Ravens are not immune to swinging and missing.

For the better part of the past two decades, the Ravens have been one of the more fortunate teams when it comes to quarterback. Going from Joe Flacco in 2008 seamlessly to Lamar Jackson in 2018, the Ravens haven’t had poor QB play in quite a long time.

Before selecting Flacco in the first round, the Ravens took a shot on another first-round QB in 2003 — Kyle Boller. He lasted five seasons in Baltimore, completing only 56.9% of his passes and producing only one more touchdown than interceptions in that time. Perhaps nothing encapsulates Boller better than this short clip of him warming up on the sidelines.

Coming in a distant, but still strong, second place is 2015’s Breshad Perriman. The speedy receiver was the latest in a long line of burners who were “just fast” and couldn’t really do anything else.

Runner-up: Breshad Perriman (2015)

Buffalo Bills: EJ Manuel (2013)

The 2013 QB class is widely considered one of if not the worst of all time. No quarterback was projected to go in the first round. That made the Bills announcing EJ Manuel as their first-round selection all the more shocking.

Scouts and media members alike were far from impressed with Manuel’s lack of arm talent and polish while at the 2013 Senior Bowl, let alone middling film work. The Bills quickly found out what others had known about his talent level.

Manuel started 10 games as a rookie and just eight more over the course of four seasons. They had seen enough to essentially give up on him after his first 10 games, where he completed 58% of his passes for a measly 1,972 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He’s one of the biggest whiffs of the last two decades.

Coming in second place could be several players. The Bills have had quite a few first-round failures over the past 24 years. I considered 2014’s Sammy Watkins and 2010’s C.J. Spiller. But ultimately, quarterback supersedes all. While he did not go as early as the other two, J.P. Losman was not the answer the Bills were looking for in 2004 at quarterback.

Runner-up: J.P. Losman (2004)

Carolina Panthers: Rashard Anderson (2000)

Carolina benefitted from having the same regime in place for much of the last decade, and they did relatively well with their early picks. Many produced at least one quality season, even if guys like Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin failed to be stars. There was one clear big miss on their résumé with Rashard Anderson.

Anderson was just the seventh first-round pick in franchise history, but he made zero impact. He played in 27 games, totaling 75 tackles and one interception. He was suspended for two seasons for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, effectively ending his career.

Despite having quality defensive tackle depth and the overall value of the position being low, the Panthers spent a first-rounder on Vernon Butler. His tape was never too impressive, but his Combine numbers tricked teams into thinking he could be more than a gap-eater. He simply wasn’t someone who moved the needle.

Runner-up: Vernon Butler (2016)

Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky (2017)

It’s been a rough existence for Chicago Bears fans over the past two decades. They had a particularly damaging stretch from 2008 through 2012 where they missed on their 2008 (Chris Williams), 2011 (Gabe Carimi), and 2012 (Shea McClellin) picks and traded their 2009 and 2010 selections for Jay Cutler.

Amid all the first-round failures, no one is more prominent than Mitch Trubisky. It’s one thing to miss on a quarterback at No. 2 overall — it’s another thing to trade up one spot to take him. It’s a completely different plane of existence to do both of those things while passing on the best quarterback in NFL history who went eight picks later.

Trubisky lasted four years with the Bears before the team moved on. He spent 2021 as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo before latching on with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. After failing in his opportunity to start with the Steelers, Trubisky was released following the 2023 season and is now once again Allen’s backup.

Just one year before taking Trubisky, the Bears selected one of the biggest WR draft busts of all time, taking Kevin White No. 5 overall. White, who was already an injury risk coming into the league, played just five games across his first two seasons. His last game with the Bears came in 2018. He is now out of the league.

Runner-up: Kevin White (2016)

Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross (2017)

Believe it or not, John Ross is not the worst player the Cincinnati Bengals have selected in the first round. But the fact that they took him No. 9 overall pushes him to the top of the list.

One of the most loaded classes in recent years was the 2017 group. The Bengals were justified in believing they needed a big-time speed option, but Ross was not the answer. Much like White the year before and Perriman the year before that, Ross was “just fast.” He was incapable of doing anything else.

The Bengals drafted Ross before Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Marshon Lattimore, Marlon Humphrey, and T.J. Watt, among others. The Bengals are Super Bowl contenders now, but taking Ross set them back a bit.

There are several other notable misses for the Bengals over the last 22 years, with Chris Perry, Peter Warrick, Cedric Ogbuehi, and Dre Kirkpatrick landing somewhere on the bust spectrum. However, David Pollack played just two seasons before retiring after an awful neck injury that included six broken cervical vertebrae. It’s no one’s fault Pollack was injured, but in terms of production, the selection didn’t work out.

Runner-up: David Pollack (2005)

Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden (2012)

This one was quite challenging. The Cleveland Browns set the standard for awful drafting. They have not one but two quarterbacks worthy of appearing on this list. What makes them so impressive is the fact that their two worst first-round picks occurred in the same year.

Some might argue Johnny Manziel deserves a spot — and they’d be correct — but Manziel at least brought something to the franchise. He brought a level of hype they hadn’t experienced in years. Plus, Manziel’s issue wasn’t talent — it was focus. As he revealed in his recent documentary, Manziel just wasn’t interested in playing professional football.

Selecting Brandon Weeden was just an unfathomably bad process fail. How exactly did the Browns see spending a first-round pick on a 28-year-old quarterback playing out?

Weeden lasted just two years with the team before they missed again on Manziel in 2014. During his time with the Browns, Weeden completed fewer than 55% of his passes and threw more interceptions than touchdowns. He later spent time with the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys, throwing his last NFL pass in 2015.

The only reason Weeden takes the top spot over the guy that went ahead of him is because the Browns managed to get the first-round pick they lit on fire by taking Trent Richardson back when the Indianapolis Colts somehow decided to trade a first-rounder for him the following season.

Beyond Richardson, some other candidates were Phil Taylor (2011), Barkevious Mingo (2013), Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving (2015), and Corey Coleman (2016). Thankfully, the franchise has moved past these blunders.

Runner-up: Trent Richardson (2012)

Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton (2017)

There are plenty of picks the Cowboys have mishandled over the years, but this franchise has made its money in the early rounds of the draft. Their first-round picks are rarely disappointments, and they’ve built solid depth on Day 2. But this one is completely indefensible

It’s bad enough that Taco Charlton lasted just two years with the Cowboys and is now out of the league. But that’s not what makes this pick such a disaster — it was that the Cowboys passed on T.J. Watt, who went two picks later to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A distant second is 2012’s Morris Claiborne. While not a complete flop, Claiborne never lived up to the hype coming out of LSU. Taken with the sixth overall pick, Claiborne was supposed to be a shutdown corner. Instead, he was no better than a rotational corner who was in a starting role due to his draft capital.

Runner-up: Morris Claiborne (2012)

Denver Broncos: Tim Tebow (2010)

Misevaluating a quarterback is especially costly in the NFL due to guaranteed rookie deals and the time it takes to develop the position. Before the 2010 NFL Draft, many draft analysts did not think Tim Tebow even deserved to be drafted.

Tebow is arguably the worst passer in NFL history. That’s not hyperbole. Look at the stats. Sure, he managed to turn “Tebow Time” into a thing for one year and miraculously won a playoff game, but this is a guy with a 48% career completion percentage. His time to throw is one of if not the slowest in NFL history. To this day, it is unfathomable that the Broncos not only thought he was worth drafting but did so in the first round.

The Broncos quickly solved their QB situation in the most impactful way possible — signing Peyton Manning. With Manning, they made two Super Bowls, winning one.

After Manning retired following the 2015 season, the Broncos drafted their quarterback of the future in 2016 … or so they thought. It didn’t take much time to figure out that Paxton Lynch didn’t have the mental makeup to be a star, though, with the former Memphis gunslinger being done after only 128 passes in two seasons.

No one else even rolled the dice on the athletic passer after his short stint, and he’s been bouncing around the various spring leagues that have popped up. The nadir of Lynch’s career was getting benched in the XFL.

Runner-up: Paxton Lynch (2016)

Detroit Lions: Charles Rogers (2003)

The Lions have been surprisingly adequate at avoiding outright busts considering their on-field struggles. Their issue since the early 2010s has been getting stars outside of Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Ndamukong Suh. However, there were several tragic tales before that.

Both the two biggest first-round Lions busts had personal and professional tragedies affect the outcome of their career. Charles Rogers and Jahvid Best were incredibly explosive talents who were worth their investments in terms of ability.

Unfortunately, Rogers played only two seasons in Detroit before an addiction to pain pills derailed his career, and Best retired after two years due to multiple concussions. To this day, I’ve never seen a scarier concussion than the one Best suffered after scoring a touchdown at Cal.

Joey Harrington certainly could earn a nod here as well. He had only one year in six career seasons with more touchdowns than interceptions. Detroit gave him almost four full seasons before cutting bait.

Runner-up: Jahvid Best (2010)

Green Bay Packers: Justin Harrell (2007)

Green Bay has been one of the model franchises when it comes to accumulating depth and quality alike through the draft. They don’t spend often in free agency, and it’s an issue potentially holding them back, but they can’t be knocked often for draft misses. Most of their misses are easily explainable.

Ironically, QB Jordan Love was a candidate for this list just one year ago. In the modern NFL, it’s quite indefensible to spend a first-round pick on a three-year backup quarterback.

With Love finally getting a chance to start and more than proving himself, there are two glaring immediate misses from the last 22 years: Justin Harrell and Jamal Reynolds. The two combined for 45 tackles across six seasons played. It’s hard to find any team that saw such a poor return from any two first-round picks within the same timeframe since these two simply never saw the field.

Runner-up: Jamal Reynolds (2001)

Houston Texans: David Carr (2002)

The Texans haven’t had a ton of early draft picks due to trades, but the previous regime under GM Rick Smith consistently drafted well enough. Guys like Jadeveon Clowney, Kevin Johnson, and Will Fuller didn’t fulfill their potential but were productive and solid when on the field. Injuries robbed each of them of impact, and Houston couldn’t have accounted for that with each. Regardless, they did enough to avoid being total misses.

We have to go all the way back to their beginning years to find two full-fledged busts. David Carr might’ve had a chance if the Texans didn’t surround him with a legendarily bad offensive line. Instead, Carr finished his career in Houston after five years, throwing 59 touchdowns and 65 interceptions.

It’s especially tough to see that Houston passed on Julius Peppers and Dwight Freeney as franchise building blocks. But, to be fair, they were an expansion franchise and needed a QB.

Defensive tackles Travis Johnson and Amobi Okoye are close to each other for second place despite each being somewhat serviceable, even if not massive difference-makers.

Runner-up: Travis Johnson (2005)

Indianapolis Colts: Björn Werner (2013)

The Colts had a near-unbeatable stretch of first-round drafting that began with Marshall Faulk in 1994 and went through 2003. Their hits were fantastic, but their misses were quite painful. After trading their 2014, 2019, 2020, and 2022 firsts, though, we’re parsing through some great picks for misses.

The most glaring missed pick was former Florida State edge rusher Björn Werner. Stiff and relatively unathletic, Werner relied on pure strength to win against smaller blockers in college. That strategy utterly failed in the NFL, and he was gone just three years later. Xavier Rhodes, DeAndre Hopkins, and Darius Slay highlighted some of the following selections.

Second place was a close call between Phillip Dorsett and Anthony Gonzalez. Dorsett was out of Indianapolis after only two years due to poor play, whereas Gonzalez enjoyed a promising first two seasons before injuries limited him to 11 games between 2009-2011.

Runner-up: Phillip Dorsett (2015)

Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert (2011)

It’s actually impressive that Luke Joeckel, who the Jaguars took No. 2 overall in 2013, can’t make this list. That’s because in 2011 and 2014 the Jaguars took two quarterbacks that flopped very badly.

While they were justified in addressing the position, they passed on multiple Hall of Fame-level contributors to reach for two well-below-average quarterbacks. Neither had especially good physical traits or accuracy.

J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan, and Andy Dalton went shortly after Blaine Gabbert. Khalil Mack, Mike Evans, Aaron Donald, and Odell Beckham Jr. heard their names called after Blake Bortles. Imagine what the Jags could’ve been with one of these stars instead of taking a terrible quarterback.

Runner-up: Blake Bortles (2014)

Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Baldwin (2011)

Winning a Super Bowl and competing year in and year out requires strong drafting over an extended period of time. The Chiefs have consistently found quality players despite missing the occasional first-round pick. Their biggest misses were far and away the lone early picks who didn’t offer any impact at all in their time with the franchise.

Jonathan Baldwin caught only 41 passes for 579 yards and two scores before being dealt to San Francisco. He was lumbering and slow, unable to create any separation. It’s amazing they were able to get anything for him in a trade.

Runner-up: Ryan Sims (2002)

Las Vegas Raiders: JaMarcus Russell (2007)

Coming up with a runner-up for the Raiders is impossible. There are too many great candidates with all of the first-round misses they’ve had over the years. Las Vegas was a disaster under Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden. Their picks show a complete misunderstanding of value relative to the rest of the league. They valued old-school players with premium picks instead of high-impact talent.

With that said, their worst pick of all time is also the worst draft pick in the history of professional football. That came well before the Mayock/Gruden era. Back in 2007, the Raiders used the No. 1 overall pick on QB JaMarcus Russell.

After holding out throughout all of training camp and the preseason, Russell wasn’t even on the field for Week 1 of his rookie year. He spent three years in Oakland, completing 52% of his passes and throwing 18 touchdowns against 23 interceptions. He was out of the league after just three years.

Of their last 25 first-round picks, 16 could be considered an outright bust. Their most recent run since 2013 has given the team very little help.

In terms of production returned, no two players were less productive than Damon Arnette and Alex Leatherwood. Arnette was released after playing in only 13 games after he made a death threat in a video. Leatherwood was traded after one season to Chicago.

Runners-up: Damon Arnette (2020) and Alex Leatherwood (2021)

Los Angeles Chargers: Craig Davis (2007)

I have to be honest with the fine readers. I really wanted to make this Quentin Johnston. But one year is admittedly a bit too soon to declare him one of the worst picks in team history.

Injuries aside, the Chargers are arguably one of the strongest first-round-drafting teams of the last two decades. The franchise has been snake-bitten by the injury bug, though, costing wins and careers along the way. A rough three-year stretch from 2007 through 2009 helped give us an answer.

Former LSU wide receiver Craig “Buster” Davis didn’t know how accurate his nickname would be. This “Bust”-er had only 588 yards in four years, missing the vast majority of his career with injuries or not pushing into the rotation. There’s not even a clear challenger to Davis despite flameouts from Larry English, Antoine Cason, and Jerry Tillery.

Runner-up: Larry English (2009)

Los Angeles Rams: Greg Robinson (2014)

The 2014 class was a legendary group of stars, but the top of the class was hilariously mishandled in retrospect. The Rams landed the best player in Aaron Donald, but their earlier first-round pick was one of the biggest busts.

Robinson was a dominant run blocker at Auburn with great athleticism for his size, but his lack of technique in pass protection doomed him as the league transitioned to a pass-happy attack. Robinson is still around as a depth piece, but the Rams would’ve rather had one of the numerous All-Pros taken after him.

There was a deep host of candidates for runner-up, including 2000’s Trung Canidate and 2013’s Tavon Austin, but Jason Smith at No. 2 was another example of a missed opportunity to add a Pro Bowl talent with a premium asset.

Runner-up: Jason Smith (2009)

Miami Dolphins: Dion Jordan (2013)

The 2013 class was bad for half the league, but Miami’s trade-up for Jordan was one of the more egregious misses. Jordan flamed out of Miami after two lackluster years, a season-long suspension, and a knee injury. It also hurts he was picked right before Lane Johnson and Ezekiel Ansah.

Miami has a few other candidates for second place. I considered Ted Ginn (2007), who lasted just three seasons with the Dolphins. However, he went on to have a lengthy, albeit unspectacular, career.

Charles Harris stands out after producing only 3.5 sacks over three seasons. Harris relied on his ability to time the snap to beat blockers off the line, but his lack of high-end traits was immediately exposed in the NFL.

Runner-up: Charles Harris (2017)

Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder (2011)

The Vikings enjoyed a generally solid run of drafts from 2001 through 2014 before entering a tougher stretch since 2015. They find high-floor players and occasionally have hit real stars. But like most teams, their busts have shown their colors quickly.

While Sharrif Floyd is very much in the running, he pales in comparison to Christian Ponder in 2011 and Laquon Treadwell in 2016. Neither lasted long as starters despite their billing and résumés. Ponder had a noodle arm and barely had more touchdowns (38) than interceptions (36) over his four-year career. Like Manuel, it was stunning to hear his name called so early after seeing his physical limitations in college.

The selection of Treadwell was particularly egregious given how obvious of a bust candidate he was. Perhaps his devastating 2014 broken leg is to blame, but after watching him play in 2015, there was just no way any team should’ve taken him in the first three rounds, let alone in the first.

Runner-up: Laquon Treadwell (2016)

New England Patriots: Mac Jones (2021)

It goes without saying that N’Keal Harry was also a massive bust. However, he went with the last pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Patriots spent the No. 15 pick on Mac Jones in 2021.

Jones lasted all of three seasons with the Patriots. During that time, he was benched for Bailey Zappe more than once. Jones is now backing up Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.

Runner-up: Dominique Easley (2014)

New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Sullivan (2003)

More recently known for their current cap situation and strange infatuation with Taysom Hill, the Saints built their foundation in the draft over the last two decades. This roster has continued to be filled with quality on both sides of the ball because they generally hit on a few picks each year. We had to go way back to find two clear first-round busts.

Despite being productive and a good athlete for his size, Johnathan Sullivan contributed only 1.5 sacks and 78 tackles over three seasons before being released. They traded the 17th and 18th overall picks for the sixth pick to land Sullvan. He immediately struggled with his weight in the NFL, ballooning to 350 pounds after weighing 313 at the Combine.

Instead, they could’ve taken Troy Polamalu, Terrell Suggs, or Kevin Williams.

Runner-up: Stephone Anthony (2015)

New York Giants: Deandre Baker (2019)

In general, the New York Giants’ drafts have brought back either a solid player or a non-contributor over the last 22 years.

The worst two picks by the franchise were significant misses, even considering their track record. Baker played poorly as a rookie due to limited athleticism, had off-field issues, and then had a gruesome non-contact knee injury. He was the first player drafted in the top 64 released from his class.

I hate to put Giants’ 2012 first-rounder, David Wilson, on this list. Wilson was legitimately talented, but a debilitating neck injury ended his career after just two seasons at age 22.

Regardless, taking a running back before the likes of Mitchell Schwartz, Janoris Jenkins, and Alshon Jeffrey was not the best.

Runner-up: David Wilson (2012)

New York Jets: Vernon Gholston (2008)

If there was a Mount Rushmore of awful picks from the last 22 years, New York Jets’ 2006 first-rounder Vernon Gholston would certainly be on it. The former Buckeye seemed like an awesome prospect with his 6’4″, 258-pound frame and great explosiveness. Instead of being a franchise cornerpiece, he produced zero sacks in three seasons and is an all-time draft bust.

The hype surrounding Gholston was unreal, which helped him edge out the position I usually give the advantage to in draft busts — quarterback. Zach Wilson has never once resembled an NFL starting QB. He’s been benched five separate times in his career already. This most recent one will likely end up being his last.

Runner-up: Zach Wilson (2021)

Philadelphia Eagles: Danny Watkins (2011)

One reason scouts look for players who love the game of football with vigor is the story of Danny Watkins. Although Watkins had phenomenal film in college, it’s easy to dominate players several years younger than you. The Eagles should have known better than to take a 27-year-old in the first round. Additionally, the talented athlete knew he was meant to be a firefighter and his lack of desire to be an NFL star led to a short-lived NFL stint.

Marcus Smith was another eye-popping poor pick over the last two decades for the Eagles, but he falls short of the runner-up spot to Jalen Reagor. Infamously, in 2020, the Eagles took Reagor one spot before the Vikings selected Justin Jefferson. One of these guys is now a top-three WR. The other is likely to be playing spring football within the next few years.

Runner-up: Jalen Reagor (2020)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones (2013)

The 2013 class was one of the worst in recent memory, and the Steelers were another team to fall victim to over-drafting a bad player. Jarvis Jones was a stiff, linear edge rusher who never had a chance at being more than a rotational piece in the NFL. His production at Georgia clearly came from physicality and scheme, yet the Steelers still selected him 17th overall over Kyle Long, Desmond Trufant, and Rhodes.

The Steelers switched their strategy to get more athletic players shortly after the Jones debacle, but their 2019 pick of Devin Bush overcorrected. Bush has posted a few decent tackle totals, including his rookie total of 109, but doesn’t impact the game at all.

Runner-up: Devin Bush (2019)

San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas (2017)

Like the Bears, the 49ers will forever regret passing on Mahomes in the 2017 class. At least the Bears identified the correct position to address, but the 49ers rolled the dice on a raw pass rusher. Solomon Thomas has been a massive disappointment as the former third overall pick, totaling just 155 tackles and 10 sacks in six years.

We have to go back to 2012 to find the next huge miss from San Francisco with A.J. Jenkins. The former Illinois receiver lasted only one year after being targeted just once with the franchise before being dealt to Kansas City. He’s the second-least productive first-round pick of the entire decade, making him an easy choice for one of the worst picks since 2000.

Runner-up: A.J. Jenkins (2012)

Seattle Seahawks: Aaron Curry (2009)

The last two decades have been good to Seattle fans, but that doesn’t mean they’ve grown to expect home runs on draft day. From 2004 through 2012, the team hit on Earl Thomas and Russell Okung but also missed on Aaron Curry, James Carpenter, Kelly Jennings, and Lawrence Jackson. The picks were either great or unable to help at all.

Curry is an all-time draft bust. Like Gholston, Curry had the tools to be great but mentally never seemed to string his gifts together to produce like it. Taking him fourth overall over future Pro Bowlers will always sting.

Runner-up: L.J. Collier (2019)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gaines Adams (2007)

One of the better-drafting franchises over the last two decades, the Buccaneers have swung big and often find success. However, those big swings haven’t always paid off. Most notably since 2000, missing on Gaines Adams, Josh Freeman, Vernon Hargreaves III, and O.J. Howard has been somewhat surprising.

Adams and Howard had very little NFL success despite being fantastic athletes at positions that require them to be a difference-maker. Adams, who was traded in his third season to Chicago, did produce 12.5 sacks over his first two years. But he tragically passed away shortly after the 2010 season ended due to a heart attack.

Runner-up: O.J. Howard (2017)

Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson (2020)

The last decade has brought some success for the Titans, but their early-round picks have largely been bad decisions. The franchise should stay away from players with character concerns considering their track record. No player embodied that more than Isaiah Wilson.

He’s already out of the league after playing in a victory formation in one game as a rookie. Miami traded a seventh-round pick for him but subsequently released him. Nonetheless, he’s the worst first-round pick of the last decade and one of the worst of all time.

The other clear pick is Jake Locker. An athletic passer who couldn’t hit open targets with accuracy, Locker never saw the improvement needed to become more than a journeyman. He retired young and left many wondering if there was still an upside he never reached.

Runner-up: Jake Locker (2011)

Washington Commanders: Dwayne Haskins (2019)

You never want to speak ill of the dead. Dwayne Haskins may have been a horrible QB prospect and an even worse pro, but that doesn’t make what happened to him any less tragic. It’s very sad what happened to Haskins in April 2022.

Before his unfortunate passing, Haskins wholly struggled to perform at the NFL level. He lasted just two seasons before Washington moved on. Haskins briefly latched on with the Steelers but never played another NFL snap.

Missing on a quarterback always stands out above everything else. Unfortunately, Washington badly whiffed twice. Nearly 20 years before Haskins, Washington invested heavily in Patrick Ramsey in 2002. Due to being a quarterback, Ramsey wins the runner-up role, despite 2016’s Josh Doctson being a very strong candidate. Ramsey completed just 55.7% of passes for 34 touchdowns and 29 interceptions over four seasons.

Runner-up: Patrick Ramsey (2002)

Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

Related Articles