A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday's Useless List

John asks, and I deliver. Well, so far we've covered superheroes, women, and movie quotes. What! No sports?! That is unacceptable. Must have sports. Hmmm... think, think, think. Not much time today, so let's go with worst NFL draft picks since 1982. Why 1982? Because that is as far back as the draft lists go at nfl.com. My ranking of awfultude are based on how high the player was picked (all were taken with one of the first eight picks of the draft), and who the team could've had instead of the stiff they got.

Maybe not the most interesting list to everyone, but it was fun to go back and look at all those drafts and realize just how few of the first rounders actually panned out as even good, much less exceptional, NFL players. Anwway, here's the list:

25) David Terrell, WR, Chicago Bears, #8 overall. You can blame the Bears' overall lack of offense on Terrell's struggles, but then again, Terrell was supposed to help the Bears' overcome those offensive problems. So far, not so much. There's time for Terrell to blossom, but there haven't been many signs of growth so far. The Bears could've taken Dan Morgan, Santana Moss, Deuce McAllister or Reggie Wayne.
24) Kenneth Sims, DT, N.E. Patriots, #1 overall. Sims was a ho-hum defensive linemen when healthy, and he wasn't healthy all that much in his eight year career. The Pats could've had Jim McMahon, Marcus Allen or Gerald Riggs with this pick.
23) Anthony Bell, LB, St. Louis Cardinals, 5th overall. Did seem some playing time during his career, but a bust for a top-5 pick. Leslie O'Neal or Keith Byars were available.
22) Michael Westbrook, WR, Washington Redskins, 4th overall, 1995. Westbrook had one pretty good year sandwiched between a bunch of average to poor seasons. For a third round pick, that would be okay-- for the 4th pick of the draft, not so much. Especially when Kevin Carter, Warren Sapp, Joey Galloway, and Kerry Collins were still available.
21) Kenny Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles, 4th overall, 1984. Played eight years, but never caught for more than 700 yards in a season. With Wilber Marshall and Bill Maas still on the board, Jackson probably wasn't the Eagles best choice.
20) Brent Fullwood, RB, G.B. Packers, 4th overall, 1987. Ugh. Only the presence of Alonzo Highsmith (see below) keeps Fullwood from being the worst pick in the '87 draft. Ron Woodson would've looked good in green and gold.
19) Alonzo Highsmith, RB, Houston Oilers, 3rd overall, 1987. Stiff. Big time stiff. The Oilers could've taken Ron Woodson or Shane Conlan.
18) David Klingler, QB, Cincinatti Bengals, 6th overall, 1992. Only the fact that he was the 6th overall pick in a relatively weak draft saves Klingler from being higher. The Bungles could have taken Troy Vincent, Leon Searcy or Dale Carter instead.
17) Peter Warrick, WR, Cincinatti Bengals, 4th overall, 2000. Warrick could still turn his career around, I suppose, but his first five years have been pretty worthless. The Bungles might have preferred to take Jamal Lewis, Plaxico Burress or Brian Urlacher with the fourth pick.
16) Kelly Stouffer, QB, St. Louis Cardinals, 6th overall, 1987. Played four years and did virtually nothing. St. Louis could've taken Ron Woodson, Shane Conlan, or Jerome Brown.
15) Rick Mirer, QB, Seattle Seahawks, 2nd overall, 1993. Mirer managed to stay in the NFL for 12 years, with seven different teams, but he's pretty well blown everywhere he's actually started. Instead of Mirer, the Seahawks could've taken Willie Roaf, Garrison Hearst or Jerome Bettis.
14) Tim Couch, QB, Cleveland Browns, 1st overall, 1999. He wasn't a total disaster during his four years in Cleveland, but he was pretty bad. The Browns perhaps should have taken Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, Torry Holt, Duante Culpepper or Champ Bailey instead. Or even Ricky Williams.
13) Lawrence Phillips, RB, St. Louis Rams, 6th overall, 1996. Averaged 3.4 yards per carry in his three year injury plagued career. Oof. Folks taken later than Phillips: Eddie George, Marvin Harrison and Terry Glenn.
12) Art Schlicter, QB, Indianapolis Colts, 4th overall, 1982. Maybe should be higher just because of his name. The Colts passed on Jim McMahon, Marcus Allen and Gerald Riggs to take this stiff, who compiled a career 3 to 11 touchdown to interception ratio.
11) Curtis Enis, RB, Chicago Bears, 5th overall, 1998. Da Bears have picked some lame running backs through the years, but Enis was the lamest. Fred Taylor would've been a better choice in '98, as would've Grant Wistrom, Kyle Turley or Tra Thomas.
10) Andre Ware, QB, Detroit Lions, 7th overall, 1990. Played four years, and fourteen games, for the Lions in his brief career. Emmitt Smith or Richmond Webb might have been a better choice for the Lions.
9) Courtney Brown, DE, Cleveland Browns, 1st overall, 2000. Flamed out in four short seasons, playing all 16 in only his rookie year. The Browns took Brown over LaVar Arrington, Jamal Lewis, Plaxico Burress and Brian Urlacher.
8) Heath Shuler, QB, Washington Redskins, 3rd overall, 1994. Played four seasons, tossing 15 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. Yikes. The Redskins passed on Dale Carter, Chester McGlockton, and Leon Searcy.
7) Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Cincinatti Bengals, 1st overall, 1995. Carter probably would've been pretty good, maybe even worthy of being picked 1st overall, but upon his arrival to the NFL, he promptly blew out his knee. He rehabbed and rehabbed, but he was never the same runner after his surgery. The Bungles took Carter over Steve McNair, Tony Boselli, and Joey Galloway.
6) Steve Emtman, DE, Indianapolis Colts, 1st overall, 1992. Emtman was supposed to be one of the cornerstones of a revitalized Colts' defensive line. Instead he was constantly injured, played only one full season during a six-year career, and wound up with eight sacks total. The Colts could've taken Dale Carter, Leon Searcy, or Chester McGlockton for the defense instead of Emtman.
5) Ryan Leaf, QB, San Diego Chargers, 2nd overall, 1998. Leaf probably wouldn't be quite this high if not for the spectacular way he flamed out. Wow, what a meltdown. The Chargers took Leaf over Charles Woodson, Fred Taylor and Randy Moss.
4) Blair Thomas, RB, NY Jets, 2nd overall, 1990. Thomas had two mediocre to poor years at the start of his career and went downhill from there. The J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets could have had Junior Seau, Mark Carrier or Emmitt Smith.
3) Akili Smith, QB, Cincinatti Bengals, 3rd overall, 1999 draft. Smith was poor to awful during his career, and the Bungles could have had Edgerrin James, Torry Holt, Champ Bailey, or Duante Culpepper. Heck, Ricky Williams might have been a better choice.
2) Todd Blackledge, QB, KC Chiefs, 7th overall, 1983 draft. Hard to miss taking a QB in this draft, but the Chefs managed to pull it off. Elway was gone, but Marino, Jim Kelly, Ken O'Brien and Tony Eason were still available.
1) Tony Mandarich, OT, GB Packers, 2nd overall, 1989 draft. Oh the pain. Not only did Mandarich completely blow, the next three guys taken were ALL future Hall of Famers. Oh how the Pack could've used Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, or Derrick Thomas.

Man, just typing Tony Mandarich's name makes my head hurt. Ouch.


Being a 'skins fan (and therefore basically always depressed from September to January) I have to say that the Heath Schuler pick is (in hindsight) in my top 5.
I can’t comment too much on NFL picks. My favorite draft choice, for a sheer “damn, we got that wrong” moment was in the NBA. In 1984 the Portland Trailblazers chose Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. Whew! History was not kind to that choice.
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