This is part II of my series of the NFL’s worst #1 picks. In part I, I went through the NFL’s draft records, and picked out the least productive players picked with each individual pick, from pick #1 to picks #32. The first installment covered the 2000-2009 drafts, and now in part II, we’ve got the drafts from 1990-1999. The funny part is, some of the biggest busts get left out doing it this way. Among the players missing: Akili Smith, Andre Wadsworth, Redskins tackle Andre Johnson, John Avery, Rick Mirer, & Blair Thomas.
This will all get even more debatable after I finish the other two lists with the worst #1 picks from the 70’s and 80’s, and compile all four into the ultimate mockery of a draft. For now though, here’s the 32 worst picks from the 1990’s:
1. Cincinnati Bengals-Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Penn State, 1995
It may seem unfair to pick on him since he got hurt, but all three #1 busts of the 90’s had injury problems. He simply didn’t get to do as much in the regular season.
2. San Diego Chargers-Ryan Leaf, QB, Washington State, 1998
At least he may have finally been surpassed by Jamarcus Russell for the title of biggest quarterback bust ever.
3. Washington Redskins-Heath Shuler, QB, Tennessee, 1994
Did people expect him to be the next Peyton Manning just because he came from the same college?
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Keith McCants, DE/OLB, Alabama, 1990
I bet they really thought they’d be set for a decade at outside linebacker-McCants on one side, and Broderick Thomas on the other. Wait, that didn’t work?
5. Chicago Bears-Curtis Enis, RB, Penn State, 1998
Are Penn State running backs still allowed to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft? The last good one I remember is John Riggins.
6. St. Louis Rams-Lawrence Phillips, RB, Nebraska, 1996
There’s no denying it, the talent was there, but his head wasn’t.
7. Philadelphia Eagles-Mike Mamula, DE/OLB, Boston College, 1995
It’s funny to think that Tampa Bay turned the picks from this trade into Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.
8. Philadelphia Eagles-Antone Davis, T, Tennessee, 1991
Yet another of the most lopsided trades in history. Green Bay got a #1 in 1991 & 1992 for this pick, and turned the spare pick in 1992 into Brett Favre.
9. Oakland Raiders-Rickey Dudley, TE, Ohio State, 1996
He was actually pretty productive at first, but not productive enough for a ninth overall pick.
10. San Francisco 49ers-J.J. Stokes, WR, UCLA, 1995
As soon as he was drafted, the Jerry Rice comparisons started, and that really didn’t help. Their 40 times were about all they had in common.
11. Chicago Bears-John Thierry, DE/LB, Alcorn State, 1994
In nine years with four teams, he recorded 33.5 sacks.
12. Chicago Bears-Cade McNown, QB, UCLA, 1999
He played in only 15 games in two years with the Bears.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers-Troy Edwards, WR, Louisiana Tech, 1999
He started only seven games in three years with the Steelers before bouncing around to three other teams.
14. N.Y. Giants-Derek Brown, TE, Notre Dame, 1992
Had a total of 43 catches and one touchdown in eight years with four teams.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers-Huey Richardson, LB, Florida, 1991
He made one tackle with the Steelers before moving to the Jets & Redskins in 1992 to finish out his career.
16. Seattle Seahawks-Dan McGwire, QB, San Diego State, 1991
He may have been the tallest quarterback in history, but he was still the 2nd failed replacement for Dave Krieg.
17. Washington Redskins-Bobby Wilson, DT, Michigan State, 1991
He was injury prone, and unproductive-he had only 24 starts in 4 years, with 11 sacks.
18. New England Patriots-Robert Edwards, RB, Georgia, 1998
He would have been pretty good if it weren’t for that horrific injury at the Pro Bowl.
19. Green Bay Packers-Darrell Thompson, RB, Minnesota, 1990
Another unfortunate fact of this draft-Green Bay picked 18th & 19th; Dallas picked Emmitt Smith 17th overall.
20. Kansas City Chiefs-Dale Carter, CB, Tennessee, 1992
He was an All Pro in Kansas City, but then he got a one year suspension after joining Denver.
21. Chicago Bears-Rashaan Salaam, RB, Colorado, 1995
He ran for over 1,000 yards as a rookie, but never overcame his fumbling problems.
22. Chicago Bears-Stan Thomas, T, Texas, 1991
Seven starts in two years wasn’t what they had in mind for Jim Covert’s successor.
23. Oakland Raiders-Mo Collins, T, Florida, 1998
He flopped at left tackle and had to move over to guard.
24. L.A. Raiders-Todd Marinovich, QB, USC, 1991
Nine picks later, the Falcons drafted Brett Favre.
25. Miami Dolphins-Billy Milner, T, Houston, 1995
They tried to make up for their losses when they traded him. The Rams actually gave up starting tight end Troy Drayton to get him.
26. San Francisco 49ers-Jim Druckenmiller, QB, Virginia Tech, 1997
If I recall correctly, Bill Walsh preferred Jake Plummer, but they picked Druckenmiller instead. Jeff Garcia wound up replacing this guy in 1999.
27. Carolina Panthers-Rae Carruth, WR, Colorado, 1997
He might have been pretty good if he hadn’t landed behind bars for killing his pregnant girlfriend.
28. New England Patriots-Andy Katzenmoyer, MLB, Ohio State, 1999
He played only two years in an injury riddled career.
29. Minnesota Vikings-Dimitrius Underwood, DE, Michigan State, 1999
He’s the only first round pick I can remember that got cut as a rookie.
30. Denver Broncos-Marcus Nash, WR, Tennessee, 1998
He lasted one season in Denver, then got traded to Miami for another bust-John Avery. He did at least collect a ring with Baltimore in 2000 though.
31. Kansas City Chiefs-Trezelle Jenkins, T, Michigan, 1995
He played nine games in three years, with one start.
32. Green Bay Packers-Craig Newsome, CB, Arizona State, 1995
He had four interceptions in five years.
Information compiled using player profiles on yahoo, wikipedia, and pro-football-reference.com