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Biggest Draft Busts In Sports History



Teams always like to believe the most sought out player in the draft is going to be the next best thing, but that surely isn’t always the case. Many times, teams put all their hope into one guy, only to see him fall apart at the professional level. And it’s not that uncommon…
More often than not, players of all kinds don’t see the results once they hit the pros. But it hurts a lot more if the build-up doesn’t translate quickly. Then there’s the sure bets who collapse for reasons no one could’ve predicted. Here’s the most mesmerizing draft busts in sports history.

Ryan Leaf, QB – No. 2 Overall

Not only was Leaf a total bust for the Chargers, he also cost them Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf since they had to trade up from the 3rd pick. To add insult to injury, the 1998 draft was completely stacked with talent. It seems likely that they regret not taking Charles Woodson or Randy Moss.

Jamarcus Russell, QB – No. 1 Overall

Jamarcus had some talent, but he basically just didn’t try for the three seasons of his career. He did make a nice signing bonus though. The Raiders could have had Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Joe Thomas, or Darrelle Revis. Whoops.

Sam Bowie, Center – No. 2 Overall

In the legendary 1984 draft, Hakeem Olajuwon went to the Rockets with the first pick. What many people don’t realize is that Bowie went to the Pistons at number 2, and then Michael Jordan was taken third. That one must sting for the Trailblazers.

Brien Taylor, Pitcher – No. 1 Overall

Brien Taylor was a stud prospect, and was lauded by some as one of the greatest pitchers ever in high school. Sadly, he tore his labrum and separated his shoulder, while helping his brother in a fist-fight outside of a bar. He never made it to the big leagues.

Brian Lawton – No. 1 Overall

Lawton asked to wear jersey number 98, and an obvious jab at Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99. That was a terrible way to start his career and everything went down from there.

Darko Milicic, Center – No. 2 Overall

In a blunder similar to their drafting of Sam Bowie, the Pistons tried to outsmart the league by taking Darko. They managed to Pass on Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.

Kwame Brown, Center – No. 1 Overall

Kwame was the first player taken in the 2001 draft, and he was one of six players in the draft to have no college experience. Kwame has become the stereotype for an NBA bust, and he accomplished next to nothing in his career. The Wizards passed on Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Richard Jefferson, and Gilbert Arenas, among others.

Rick Mirer, QB – No. 2 Overall

Leading up to the draft, some compared Mirer to Joe Montana. Sadly, these comparisons weren’t even close to accurate. He managed to last 8 years with 5 different teams. Bleh.

Greg Oden, Center – No. 1 Overall

Unlike some of the players on this list, Oden was an incredibly talented player. Unfortunately, Oden just couldn’t manage to stay healthy enough to play. To make the situation even worse, the Blazers took Oden over Durant in that 2007 draft.

Alexandre Daigle – No. 1 Overall

The Ottawa Senators could have taken Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Saku Koivu, or many others in the 1993 NHL draft. However, they went with Daigle, who was considered a guaranteed star. Obviously, he didn’t come close to that.

David Clyde, Pitchers – No. 1 Overall

During his high school career, Clyde allowed just 3 runs in 148 innings. The Rangers jumped on board and he was productive for his first few starts. Sadly, he didn’t have the stamina to make it in the majors. Control issues and injuries had him out of baseball by the age of 24.

Tim Couch, QB – No. 1 Overall

Couch was just one in a long line of quarterback busts for the Browns. Who knows if he would have done better on another team. The Browns did manage to pass on Donovan McNabb in that draft.

Shawn Abner, Outfielder – No. 1 Overall

Shawn Abner turned out to be a terrible pick, but even with that, the Mets still won a series 2 years later. In the same draft, Mark McGwire went tenth.

Ki-Jana Carter, RB – No.1 Overall

Carter was absolutely dominant, and seemed poised to be a sure thing. In his first preseason game, he tore his ACL and that ended his career. Steve McNair, Warren Sapp, and Derrick Brooks were all taken in that draft, but Carter’s pick was just bad luck.

Alexander Svitov – No. 3 Overall

He still plays hockey, just not in the NHL. Svitov just wasn’t ready for the big stage.

Jonathan Bender, Forward – No. 5 Overall

Bender beat Jordan’s scoring record in the McDonald’s All-American game, and this really upped his hype. However, passing on Rip Hamilton, Andre Miller, and Manu Ginobili, was probably a bad idea.

Steve Entman, DE – No. 1 Overall

Another case of injuries. He would’ve been great otherwise though! At least, that’s what we speculate.

Josh Hamilton, OF – No. 1 Overall

Sure, Hamilton was an All-Star MVP, but he was a complete bust for the Rays. Hamilton’s substance problems also ended his career and if he didn’t have that struggle, he may have been one of the best to ever play.

Danny Ferry, Center – No. 2 Overall

Danny Ferry didn’t do a lot in his career, but he was a very good General Manager. That didn’t help the Clippers though, but it’s their fault, since they passed on Sean Elliott, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway, and Shawn Kemp.

Charles Rogers, WR – No. 2 Overall

Rogers was talented, but he ended up getting in trouble, due to the absurd amount of weed that he smoked. Terrell Suggs would have been a better pick…

Bryan Bullington, Pitcher – No. 1 Overall

Pittsburgh thought it would be safer to draft a pitcher out of college. Turns out, that’s just wrong. Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, and Cole Hamels have significantly out produced him. Oh yeah, they passed on Prince Fielder as well.

Bo Jackson, RB – No. 1 Overall

Bo Jackson was a complete beast when he played, but he is a bust at the top pick for the Buccaneers. In fact, due to the Racism of the coach, he refused to play for them, opting to play baseball instead.

Anthony Bennett, Forward – No. 1 Overall

He’s still playing, but at this rate, he may be the worst #1 NBA pick of all time. He just isn’t good at basketball. Fortunately, the draft he came from wasn’t too stacked, but he was a terrible pick nonetheless.

Tim Tebow, QB – No. 25 Overall

After a stellar college career, Tebow has been an unmitigated bust in professional sports. He had a 47.9 percent completion percentage, while in the NFL. Plus, he is absolutely terrible at baseball, his new pet hobby.