View Full Version : Worst All time 1st round busts...

04-25-2007, 11:42 AM
According to Yahoo...

Chiefs make the list with Percy Snow and Trezelle Jenkins


. Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (1995)
For a variety of reasons, there have been plenty of letdowns at this pick: guys like Tim Couch, Courtney Brown and Steve Emtman. Some might add Tom Cousineau, but despite fleeing to the Canadian Football League, he had a decent NFL career and Buffalo did eventually trade him for a draft pick that became Jim Kelly. Carter gets the nod, despite the fact that he had a knee injury during his rookie season. Some like to blame that injury for his career struggles, but that's somewhat of a myth. Carter did have a few healthy years in the league, and simply wasn't a very effective runner. He didn't see holes all that well and wasn't as consistently physical as his size (5-foot-10, 220-plus) would indicate. And let's face it: Penn State cranked out plenty of first-round running backs who struggled in the NFL. Can you say "system back"?

2. Ryan Leaf, QB, San Diego Chargers (1998)
This pick came down to Leaf and Charles Rogers, but this really has been one of the biggest letdown positions in the draft. Aside from Leaf and Rogers, the lineup of mediocrity has been stunning: Darrell Russell (whose life and career ended in a tragic car accident in December 2005), Rick Mirer, Blair Thomas, Tony Mandarich, Lam Jones, Steve Niehaus, and on and on. And while Rogers had an amazingly short and problematic run with Detroit, the nod goes to Leaf. The Chargers traded two first-round picks, a second-round pick and Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf for a quarterback who would alienate teammates, infuriate fans and produce a mere 21 starts with 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. And to think he was weighed against Peyton Manning. Yeesh!

3. Akili Smith, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (1999)
This is another pick that for various reasons has produced some real ulcers: Heath Shuler, Joey Harrington, Gerard Warren, Andre Wadsworth, Bruce Pickens and others. But Smith takes the cake, and might be one of the worst first-round picks ever. At a time when the Bengals desperately needed a star quarterback to pull them out of their decade-long malaise, Smith was a dud – a scant five touchdowns and 13 interceptions in four seasons. What's worse, the Bengals passed up on guys like Edgerrin James, Torry Holt, Champ Bailey, Chris McAlister and others, and dismissed a huge trade package from the Saints, who were trying move up to grab Ricky Williams. Ouch!

4. Art Schlichter, QB, Baltimore Colts (1982)
There have been some disappointing No. 4's, guys such as Peter Warrick, Keith McCants, Brent Fullwood and others, but none comes close to Schlichter. A self-described gambling addict, he was suspended for a year by the NFL prior to his second season for having massive gaming debts. He played only three seasons with the Colts, washing out of the league with only six starts and three touchdown passes. In the aftermath, he would be in and out of various prisons, becoming fodder for articles and talk shows on the dangers of gambling. It stings a little more for Colts fans that Schlichter came off the board one pick ahead of Jim McMahon.

5. Mike Junkin, LB, Cleveland Browns (1984)
The No. 5 spot hasn't been all that awful, with a few guys such as Curtis Enis and Rickey Dixon stinking it up. However, neither was a bigger disappointment than Junkin. A guy who racked up big stats on a small-school Duke team, he just wasn't a very good player. And to think the Browns swapped a solid veteran in Chip Banks and flip-flopped a couple of draft picks with San Diego just to get a shot at him. Rod Woodson and Jerome Brown went a few picks later, too.

6. Lawrence Phillips, RB, St. Louis Rams (1996)
We could bring up other crummy picks, but nobody holds a candle to Phillips, who ranks as one of the worst human beings – not to mention athletic busts – in league history. Forget that his talent was overrated thanks to Nebraska's offensive line and scheme. Phillips' history of domestic violence in college should have kept him from being drafted, let alone becoming a first-round pick. Now he's a scar on the league that exposes what some franchises will overlook for talent. His pro career amounted to four years split between three franchises with trouble at every stop. In October, he was found guilty of seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon after trying to run down three teenagers with his car. Maybe the Rams should have drafted Eddie George, who went six picks later.

7. Reggie Rogers, DE, Detroit Lions (1987)
You have to hand it to the Lions, who bungled this pick twice: first with Rogers and then again with Andre Ware. There were other bad ones, such as Joe Profit, who played only three years in the league, and Brian Jozwiak, who couldn't pass protect. But Rogers was the one who makes you wince. He couldn't get on the field for the Lions despite having immense talent. Then he slammed into a car while driving drunk and killed three teenagers, an offense that only got him one year in prison. The Bills and Buccaneers took a chance on him after he got out, but he ended up out of the league with only 15 games and two career starts under his belt.

8. Larry Stegent, RB, St. Louis Cardinals (1970)
This has actually been a pretty solid pick historically, forgetting that David Terrell hasn't really done much. Normally, you don't rip a pick because of injury, but Stegent is about as bad as it gets. He played in seven games for the Cardinals and registered one catch – one – for 12 yards. That, folks, was his NFL career. Let's recap: one season, one catch, one injury. Done! That's some serious disappointment.

9. Kevin Allen, T, Philadelphia Eagles (1985)
Koren Robinson and Tommy Vardell were a couple of lemons at this pick, but Allen was the worst. He played one NFL season (poorly). Then he tested positive for cocaine when he reported to Eagles training camp in 1986, spent nearly three years in prison for sexual assault and was eventually banned from the NFL. And you can't mention him without the zinger from former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, who said Allen was a good player to have around "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass." Pro Bowler Jim Lachey, another offensive tackle the Eagles were considering, was taken three spots later and played 10 years in the league. Whoops!

10. Jamal Reynolds, DE, Green Bay Packers (2001)
This was a toss-up between Reynolds and former Cincinnati pick David Verser, who caught three touchdowns in a four-year career. Reynolds gets the nod because he played a more vital position and the fact that the Packers traded Matt Hasselbeck and another first-round pick to move into this spot. Reynolds, whose lack of size (6-3, 260) hurt him, played three years, totaled 16 games (with no starts) and three sacks. Perennial Pro Bowlers Marcus Stroud and Steve Hutchinson were taken just a few picks later. Well, even Ron Wolf, architect of the 1996 team that won the Super Bowl, makes mistakes.

11. Russell Erxleben, K/P, New Orleans Saints (1979)
Joe Moore and Jerry Tagge were bad picks in this slot, but come on … a kicker? Who takes a kicker with the 11th pick in the draft? Erxleben is the easy choice for biggest bust at this spot. He played only five (very undistinguished) seasons with the Saints, then attempted a comeback with Detroit in 1987. He is the essence of front-office insanity. No matter how good a kicker is in college, he better play at least 10 top-notch years for the team that drafts him this high. And to think, Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow was taken two picks later.

12. Cade McNown, QB, Chicago Bears (1999)
Phil Dokes and Wendell Bryant were bad choices at this spot, but neither was as maddening as McNown. Chosen to solidify the offense on the heels of the three-headed quarterback monster of Erik Kramer, Steve Stenstrom and Moses Moreno, McNown did quite the opposite. In many ways, he was another Ryan Leaf but at a lower pick, with poor accuracy and a general demeanor that rubbed teammates the wrong way. He played only two years in Chicago, before being traded to Miami and then San Francisco, where he never played a single down and washed out after four years in the league.

13. Percy Snow, LB, Kansas City Chiefs (1990)
An extremely productive pick over the years, there haven't been a lot of huge misses, unless you count the extenuating circumstances of David Overstreet (died in auto accident) or Leon Burns (repeated injuries). Snow was more of a natural bust, when you consider the hype he generated at Michigan State as the country's best linebacker. Snow crashed a moped in training camp in 1991 and was never the same player. His career flamed out after only three active seasons with just one start in his final two. Maybe first-round picks should stay off of anything with a motor and only two wheels during their career.

14. Bernard Williams, OT, Philadelphia Eagles (1994)
There haven't been a lot of monumental failures at this pick, save for Williams, who had a world of talent and an apparently insatiable marijuana habit. He spent his rookie season as the starting left tackle for the Eagles, then got suspended by the league for failing a banned substance test. Eventually, he flunked a jaw-dropping 15 tests and was banned from the NFL. He resurfaced a few years later, making the rounds in the Canadian Football League and XFL. Adding a little sting to the pick is the fact that offensive tackle Wayne Gandy, who is going into his 14th season and has 200 career starts under his belt, was taken one pick later.

15. Huey Richardson, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1991)
Ron Faurot and John Clay were some pretty classic mistakes at this spot, but Richardson is the easy choice. A panic pick after seeing players they wanted come off the draft board earlier, nothing beyond his speed ever translated to the NFL. He played only five games as a rookie for the Steelers, before Bill Cowher took the team over the next year and traded Richardson to Washington. He never panned out there and was eventually cut and signed by the Jets. He was out of the league after three seasons, notching only 16 games of action and not a single start in his career.

16. Dan McGwire, QB, Seattle Seahawks (1991)
William Green, Reidel Anthony and Hart Lee Dykes were in contention, but McGwire was supposed to be an eventual offensive savior. But instead of becoming Dave Krieg's successor, he floundered in all of his preseason opportunities. He was so bad that Seattle ditched the idea of McGwire as the quarterback of the future and tabbed Rick Mirer in the first round only two years later. He was out of the NFL after only five seasons with an anemic career stat line: 13 games (most in mop up duty), two touchdowns, six interceptions. Hey, it could have been worse: Seattle could have taken Todd Marinovich instead.

17. Clyde Duncan, WR, St. Louis Cardinals (1984)
For the most part, the 17th pick has been very good to teams over the years, making Duncan the slam dunk bust of the crop. First, he started his career with what was considered at the time a nasty holdout. He eventually signed and saw little playing time, playing only eight games. He was used primarily as a kick returner the following year, but had fumbling problems. The NFL was done with him after only two years. His career receiving stats: four catches for 39 yards and one touchdown.

18. Don Rogers, S, Cleveland Browns (1984)
Some people would say Robert Edwards fits here, but his frightening leg injury after a superb rookie season leaves him off the list. Rogers, who died of a cocaine overdose, gets the nod. Like Edwards, his career got off with a bang, winning AFC defensive rookie of the year honors and looking like a great future player. That was until he died of the overdose after year two.

19. Steve Pisarkiewicz, QB, St. Louis Cardinals (1977)
This is a pick littered with great talent over the years, and a few busts: Kyle Boller, Troy Smith, Perry Tuttle and others. Pisarkiewicz gets this spot because the Cardinals were depending on Pisarkiewicz finally moving the team on from an aging Jim Hart. What they got instead was a quarterback who wasn't even consistent enough to get on the field, let alone wrestle the job away from Hart. Pisarkiewicz lasted only two years in St. Louis, one more in Green Bay, and then was out of the league with only 10 games under his belt.

20. Aaron Cox, WR, Los Angeles Rams (1988)
He was going to be the guy who combined with Henry Ellard to give the Rams a potent 1-2 punch. Unfortunately for Cox, a second-round pick named Flipper Anderson stole all of his thunder. Cox hung around in the league for six years, but his numbers steadily got worse after posting 590 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. He finished his six-year career as a bit player, with career totals of 1,732 yards and eight touchdowns.

21. Vaughn Dunbar, RB, New Orleans Saints (1992)
This is another one of those spots that has cranked out good bang for the buck. Sylvester Morris was a disappointment, but you could blame his fall the injury bug. L.J. Shelton was a sieve on the offensive line, but Dunbar – a Heisman finalist and All American – was supposed to carry the New Orleans offense into the next millennium. Instead, he played two active seasons because of injuries (and yes, he was a disappointment before them) and finished his career with 935 yards and five touchdowns.

22. Stan Thomas, T, Chicago Bears (1991)
Chris McIntosh gets some slack for his neck injury and Lamar King wasn't anything special, but Thomas was a straight bust, lasting only two years in Chicago and then two more with the Houston Oilers. Seven starts in four years isn't what draft evaluators had in mind when they looked at him. In hindsight, a young Ted Washington, taken three picks later, would have looked nice in that defense.

23. Rashard Anderson, CB, Carolina Panthers (2000)
Mike Schad and a few others had a chance to land here, but Anderson was too big a disappointment. A cornerback blessed with great size, he had the potential to be a top-notch defender at a time when corners could still play physical. But he ran into substance-abuse problems after playing 27 games in his first two seasons, and was suspended by the league through 2003. The Panthers released him when his suspension was lifted, and Anderson was never heard from again.

24. Todd Marinovich, QB, Los Angeles Raiders (1991)
There were other picks who could have landed here – guys such as Leo Hayden, Bob Buczkowski, Reggie McGrew and Leonard Renfro – but Marinovich was a bigger crash than all of them. Perhaps the most statistically prolific quarterback in high school history and an on-again, off-again success at USC, the Sports Illustrated cover boy was one of the most hyped players in the draft. His "recreational issues" (read: drug use) and sour relationship with some of his coaches led to a slip to the Raiders, who gobbled Marinovich up and then watched him fall apart in only two years. He ultimately lost his quarterback job with Jay Schroeder and was released after just two seasons. In the years since, he's bounced around football leagues and police reports – often due to his issues with drugs.

25. Jon Harris, DE, Philadelphia Eagles (1997)
Billy Milner and Terrence Flagler were two busts. Johnny Rodgers is in the mix, too, but Harris lives in infamy in the minds of Eagles fans. Once proclaimed as another Ed "Too Tall" Jones by then coach Ray Rhodes, Harris wasn't even as good as Jones' shadow. It was an odd pick in the first place. Harris had started only 19 games in college and had the résumé of a middle-round prospect. He stunk it up with the Eagles and was dealt to Green Bay before the 1999 season in exchange for their own first-round bust from the 1996 draft, John Michels. But Harris never made the team, and ended up in forced retirement after only two seasons and two sacks.

26. Jim Druckenmiller, QB, San Francisco 49ers (1997)
Erik Flowers, Reggie Dupard and a few others earned consideration, but Druckenmiller was supposed to be the next great Pennsylvania-reared wonder … and the heir apparent to the throne that had gone from Joe Montana to Steve Young. Despite being blessed with great size (6-5, 230) and arm strength, he was far too erratic for San Francisco's offense. The 49ers ditched him two years later when Jeff Garcia came along. He was dealt to Miami and cut, and ended up throwing only 52 passes in his NFL career, before bouncing around with the XFL, AFL and a failed comeback attempt with the Colts. Well, at least the 49ers didn't take Rae Carruth, who was the next pick in the 1997 draft.

27. Rae Carruth, WR, Carolina Panthers (1997)
Even among the likes of Aaron Gibson and Todd Kelly, it's hard to argue this one. Say what you want about what the Panthers could have known about Carruth as a person, it's simply a disaster of a pick when a player puts out a hit on his girlfriend and unborn child and then participates in her shooting. Rae Carruth the player started out promising and then tailed off with injuries and a lack of production. Rae Carruth the human being is serving at least 18 years in prison and will always be remembered as one of the league's nightmares. In turn, that blight will be linked the Panthers forever.

28. Andy Katzenmoyer, LB, New England Patriots (1999)
This is a tough pick because remarkably, most guys taken in this spot have had solid, productive careers and hung around the league for a while. You could put Booker Moore here, but he was a good player for the Bills before his nerve disorder cut his career short. Katzenmoyer gets the nod despite the fact that he really didn't get a great deal of time to develop on the NFL level. His massive college hype leads more people to call him a bust than anything else. He actually had a solid rookie season and could have turned into a good player had a neck injury not cut his career short at only two years.

29. Dimitrius Underwood, DE, Minnesota Vikings (1999)
It's hard to keep R. Jay Soward, John Avery and Jamain Stephens out of this spot, but Underwood is arguably the dumbest pick ever made in the first round. Despite the warning signs, Underwood sat out his last season at Michigan State for no legitimate reason and coaches at MSU told NFL scouts he wasn't mentally stable, Underwood was physically impressive enough to get the Vikings to take a leap … right off a cliff. He fled training camp on his first day, never to return. The Vikings cut him before the regular season began, at which point the Dolphins claimed him. He then went on to play for the Cowboys in 2000-01. Long story short, he attempted suicide twice in an abbreviated career and was never heard from again.

30. Andre Johnson, T, Washington Redskins (1996)
Marcus Nash and Craig Powell were bad picks, but Johnson was a disaster. Not only was he a first-round pick, but then-general manager Charley Casserly traded a third-round pick to move up to this spot to take him. By the time training camp was over, the Redskins knew they had made a big mistake. He never played a single regular season game with Washington, and Casserly would later admit to "forcing the guy up the draft board." No kidding! He was cut after his rookie year and picked up by Detroit, but his entire career consisted of three games.

31. Trezelle Jenkins, OT, Kansas City Chiefs (1995)
Frankly, Jenkins just wasn't a very good NFL player. The Chiefs soured on him early, and he ended up playing only nine games in three years with only one start. The Chiefs cut him after three years and he failed to catch on in Minnesota and New Orleans. And in what is probably the ultimate insult, he had a tryout with an XFL team and still couldn't make the cut. In the realm of pro football, you can't do much worse than that.

32. Patrick Ramsey, QB, Washington Redskins (2002)
OK, so it seems a little harsh to drop Ramsey here considering he has thrown more touchdowns (34) than interceptions (29) in his career. And he did start and have an oh-so-brief flourish with the Redskins. But up to now, he qualifies as little more than Steve Spurrier's busted project. He does still have some time to turn it around, but it's been over two years since Ramsey has seen significant playing time, and he fell to No. 3 on the Jets' depth chart last season. His strong arm and experience will keep him on the backup rungs for a few more years, but he'll probably never be more than that. Which, in first round terms, is a miss.

04-25-2007, 11:45 AM

The funniest one by far is no. 11

siberian khatru
04-25-2007, 11:47 AM
I know we've done this dance before, but IMO injury does not make you a bust -- certainly not in the same sense as a healthy guy who simply didn't have the talent commensurate with where he was picked.

NO WAY Percy Snow belongs on this list. There are so many more legit Chiefs 1st-round busts to add -- Blackledge, Sims, Horton, etc.

Baby Lee
04-25-2007, 11:50 AM
They may be 'our' biggest busts, but Blackledge and Sims are nowhere near Rogers and Phillips' league in terms of historical bust.

And from the looks of it, Snow suffered from a lack of busts at that pick. But I agree, Snow, SlyMorris, get absolution from me.

04-25-2007, 11:50 AM
I dont thinK Ramsey should even be up there, but Not to have Leaf as number 1? he was the biggest bust of all considering how the Media ate him up and he blew up on them.

Baby Lee
04-25-2007, 11:53 AM
I dont thinK Ramsey should even be up there, but Not to have Leaf as number 1? he was the biggest bust of all considering how the Media ate him up and he blew up on them.
It's worst by pick, not a countdown. Meaning Leaf isn't the 2nd biggest bust in history, he's THE biggest bust at pick #2.

04-25-2007, 11:53 AM
I know we've done this dance before, but IMO injury does not make you a bust -- certainly not in the same sense as a healthy guy who simply didn't have the talent commensurate with where he was picked.

NO WAY Percy Snow belongs on this list. There are so many more legit Chiefs 1st-round busts to add -- Blackledge, Sims, Horton, etc.


But it appears that they compiled this list by draft position. (number)

siberian khatru
04-25-2007, 11:55 AM

But it appears that they compiled this list by draft position. (number)

Yeah, I made the mistake of commenting before I clicked the link and read the story. I still don't think Percy should be there, but I'm not going to do the research to see who else was taken at 13 over the decades.

04-25-2007, 12:00 PM
I got a kick out of this about Jenkins:

And in what is probably the ultimate insult, he had a tryout with an XFL team and still couldn't make the cut. In the realm of pro football, you can't do much worse than that.

04-25-2007, 12:03 PM
I got a kick out of this about Jenkins:

And in what is probably the ultimate insult, he had a tryout with an XFL team and still couldn't make the cut. In the realm of pro football, you can't do much worse than that.

And not even one consideration on the best 1st round picks of all time either. Chiefs are 0-2 :(


Best all-time first-round picks

By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports
April 23, 2007

Watch: This year's top four Future stars

As wild dreams go, this NFL draft was the Playboy Mansion on alumni night.

Five Pro Football Hall of Fame players selected in the first round – a number that will swell to six when Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green reaches eligibility. Three franchise quarterbacks who would lead their teams to 10 Super Bowl appearances and obliterate league passing records. Not to be forgotten: one of the best running backs and offensive linemen in history.

Yes, 1983 was a great year to have a first-round pick.

With that particular draft in mind, we got to thinking. If first-round picks mean as much as NFL personnel gurus say they do, what were the greatest first-round picks in league history? Who was the greatest No. 1 ever? The greatest No. 2? And has there even been a greatest No. 32?

So we peeled into the league's voluminous 1,500-page encyclopedia, in search of the ultimate first round – the best No. 1 picks of all time. Some opinions formed won't be surprising, with teams like Pittsburgh, Washington, San Francisco and Baltimore/Indianapolis each landing three of the best first-round picks taken at their respective positions.

But some of the opinions are bound to infuriate. Like Richard Seymour being named the best No. 6 pick in history or the Colts having a quarterback and two wideouts on the list – none named Peyton Manning or Marvin Harrison.

At best, the list is a fluid argument. At worst, some will find it to be an atrocity (like Steelers fans who will see that only two of their famed 1970s draft picks made the cut). Keep in mind that this list doesn't include the USFL draft, which was talent rich, or supplemental picks, which produced some great players as well. And of course, realize that picks 29-32 have a rather limited base of players because league expansion is still fresh.

With all of those factors in mind, here is our list of the best No. 1 picks since the league's merger in 1970.

Baltimore/Indianapolis (Colts), 3
San Francisco, 3
Pittsburgh, 3
Washington, 3
Baltimore, 2
Cleveland, 2
Dallas, 2
Denver, 2
New England, 2
Atlanta, 1
Buffalo, 1
Chicago, 1
Detroit, 1
Houston, 1
Los Angeles (Rams), 1
Miami, 1
Minnesota, 1
New York, 1
Tampa Bay, 1

1. John Elway, QB, Baltimore Colts (1983)
Many apologies to Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning. Manning might take this spot before it's all over, but Elway gets the nod for having the ultimate mix of credentials: arm strength, clutch play, toughness and statistics. Not to mention the fact that he never had the dominant defenses provided Bradshaw and Aikman. Elway's five Super Bowl appearances are still plenty impressive, particularly the back-to-back championship wins. He hung up his cleats with one more Super Bowl run likely left in him, too. And while he never actually played for the Colts, that doesn't mean they didn't take the right guy.

2. Lawrence Taylor, LB, New York Giants (1981)
Marshall Faulk has a legitimate claim to this spot, but Taylor still resonates as perhaps the most feared defensive player in the history of the league. He had speed, strength, and intimidation, and was one of the few defensive players consistently capable of making a game-deciding play. His off-the-field issues leave a slight tarnish on his legacy, but even that can't stand in the way of him being considered the best No. 2 pick ever.

3. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions (1989)
Simeon Rice, Anthony Munoz and Steve McNair deserve honorable mention, but Sanders will likely never be duplicated when it comes to his combination of shiftiness and pure running ability. He was by no means a complete running back, but he was the definition of a player who could break an 80-yard touchdown under any circumstances. And he likely would still hold the league's all-time rushing mark if he hadn't unexpectedly retired in the latter stages of his prime.

4. Walter Payton, RB, Chicago Bears (1975)
Derrick Thomas and Jonathan Ogden get plenty of consideration, but Payton defined toughness at his position – not to mention the city he represented. He set the bar for complete backs with his ability to run, catch and block. And his style mixed power, athleticism and speed. He won a Super Bowl, retired as the league's all-time leading rusher, and is still remembered as one of the best character guys the NFL has ever seen.

5. Deion Sanders, CB, Atlanta Falcons (1989)
Deion or LaDainian Tomlinson? It's amazing that after seeing Tomlinson play only six seasons, this is already a tough choice. But for now, Sanders and his two Super Bowl rings get the honors. Cornerback might be the toughest position to play in the NFL outside of quarterback. Sanders was simply dominant in pass coverage, and a dangerous kick returner as well. His run support and flashy demeanor left something to be desired, but skill-wise he could realistically cut the field in half for opposing passing attacks.

6. Richard Seymour, DE, New England Patriots (2001)
This is bound to be a controversial selection with so many superb candidates: John Riggins, Tim Brown, Walter Jones and Torry Holt. Seymour wins out with his three Super Bowl rings, and the fact that he's been the Patriots' best defensive player during his six-year career. He isn't the sexiest pick because he hasn't loaded up on sacks while primarily playing in the 3-4 defense and then moving to defensive tackle in 4-3 sets. But he's the Tom Brady of the Patriots' defense, and he's just hit his prime. Enough said.

7. Champ Bailey, CB, Washington Redskins (1999)
Phil Simms and Troy Vincent have compelling arguments. However, Bailey now belongs in the conversation for best cornerback in history, and has done so in an era when pass-interference and illegal contact rules put his position at an extreme disadvantage. He's arguably the only true "shutdown" cornerback left in the NFL, and it has become absurd to throw in his direction in the red zone.

8. Ronnie Lott, S, San Francisco 49ers (1981)
Willie Roaf and Mike Munchak deserve a tip of the cap for being prolific at their offensive line positions. But Lott lands the honor for being the best safety in league history. He was cut in the monstrous mold of current hitters like Roy Williams and Sean Taylor, but also had the coverage abilities of Ed Reed. Lott was the complete package, and there has yet to be a safety that can approach him.

9. Bruce Matthews, OG, Houston Oilers (1983)
Brian Urlacher could take this spot before it's all over, but Matthews was one of the elite players at his position (wherever Houston put him) for a ridiculous 19 seasons. He blocked for some of the most prolific offenses in league history and landed in the Pro Bowl a record-tying 14 times.

10. Rod Woodson, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1987)
Another pick with plenty of candidates: guys like Jerome Bettis, Marcus Allen and Willie Anderson. Woodson was a Pro Bowler an astonishing 11 times, and a key member of the 2000 Ravens defense that might be the best in league history. A complete cornerback who could cover physical and finesse wideouts, he didn't surrender anything in run support, either. And his play didn't drop off when he was moved to safety later in his career.

11. Michael Irvin, WR, Dallas Cowboys (1988)
Dwight Freeney is making a push for this spot, but for now it belongs to Irvin. A newly minted Hall of Famer with three Super Bowl rings, Irvin was a perfect prototype of the big, physical receiver with speed. His off-field issues were a big headache and a spinal injury cut his career short, but neither changes his impact. He was one of the most consistently elite players of his era, and an irreplaceable cog in the Cowboys' offense in the championship years.

12. Warren Sapp, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1995)
Warrick Dunn and Clay Matthews were very good players tabbed here, and Shawne Merriman has a great start to his career. But Sapp is unquestionably the best player ever taken at this spot, and second place isn't even close. Love him or hate him, Sapp changed the way we thought about defensive tackles as impact players. A consistent double-team in his prime who sometimes drew triple-team attention, he will end his career as the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in NFL history. He won a Super Bowl, made the players around him better, and was remarkably durable for the beating he took at his position.

13. Franco Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1972)
Tony Gonzalez and Kellen Winslow get votes, but the best player tabbed at this slot was clearly Harris. He's a nine-time Pro Bowler with four Super Bowl rings, and owner of quite possibly the most legendary play in postseason history (the Immaculate Reception). In an era when running backs were vital to survival, Harris was the cog that made the Steelers go. He was the quintessential workhorse, and carried the offense through the first half of Bradshaw's career.

14. Jim Kelly, QB, Buffalo Bills (1983)
There have been plenty of good players taken at this slot – guys like Tommie Harris, Jeremy Shockey, Reuben Brown, Eddie George – and seven-time Pro Bowler Randy Gradishar was an immense talent. But it's unlikely we'll see another one lead his team to four straight Super Bowls. Yes, Kelly and the Bills never managed to secure a ring, but his stats were stellar, and leading a team to four straight Super Bowls will likely never happen again.

15. John Mobley, LB, Denver Broncos (1996)
For whatever reason, this spot hasn't produced "great" players. There was a smattering of good ones, including Cincinnati wideout Issac Curtis, who made four consecutive Pro Bowls in the 1970s. But the title of best No. 15 pick should go to Mobley, who won two Super Bowl rings and was an All Pro with the Broncos before having his career cut short by a spinal injury. Mobley was arguably the best defensive player on the field for the Broncos during his prime, and one of the league's fastest linebackers.

16. Jerry Rice, WR, San Francisco 49ers (1985)
There has been a wealth of impressive talent (Troy Polamalu, Santana Moss, Julian Peterson and Jevon Kearse) selected at this spot. But who are we kidding: Rice is easily the best No. 16 pick ever and probably the best draft pick in league history. He left the game with mind-boggling stats and a career résumé that will likely be untouchable unless the league just does away with cornerbacks altogether. Simply put, Rice is probably the best player in the history of the NFL.

17. Emmitt Smith, RB, Dallas Cowboys (1990)
Steve Hutchinson is going to be a Hall of Famer, and Doug Williams won a Super Bowl and set a historic precedent for black quarterbacks in the NFL. But neither had a chance of securing the title as best No. 17 pick of all time. This one was as simple to call as Rice at No. 16. Smith was the complete back – running, receiving and blocking – and was a quality guy as well. Three Super Bowl rings, a perennial Pro Bowler and the league's all-time leading rusher; a title he should hold for a while.

18. Art Monk, WR, Washington Redskins (1980)
No. 18 overall hasn't churned out much more than a cast of solid talent. That makes Monk, who has near as you can get Hall of Fame credentials without actually getting in, the easy pick. Three Super Bowl rings, and he retired as the league's all-time leader in receptions, single-season catches and consecutive games with a catch. He was a quiet, humble star, which may have something to do with his detriment among Hall of Fame voters.

19. Randall McDaniel, G, Minnesota Vikings (1988)
This might have been the toughest pick to call and any choice was bound to ruffle some feathers. There were some good players to consider, including Shaun Alexander and Jack Tatum. But ultimately it was Marvin Harrison battling it out with McDaniel for the title of best No. 19 pick ever. Harrison will probably take the honors by the time he retires, but the nod goes to McDaniel now, for his 12 straight Pro Bowls and his standing as one of the greatest guards to ever play the game. Harrison's Super Bowl ring should probably give him the edge right now, but I'm giving McDaniel some extra credit for being the sole bearer of his own success. Harrison has the luxury of one of the greatest quarterbacks in history throwing him the ball.

20. Jack Youngblood, DE, Los Angeles Rams (1971)
This is another one of those spots that has produced some good players, guys like Javon Walker, Adam Archuleta and Steve Atwater. But Youngblood is a no-brainer. A Hall of Famer and five-time All Pro who played in the 1980 Super Bowl with a fractured fibula, he was the essence of today's defensive end – a mixture of strength, toughness and speed that few ends boasted in the 1970s. Twice named NFC defensive player of the year, Youngblood was also a member of the 1970's All-Decade team.

21. Lynn Swann, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (1974)
Basically, this pick boils down to Swann vs. Randy Moss and how you feel about their respective numbers. As it stands, Moss has roughly double the career yardage and receiving touchdowns of Swann. And Swann' didn't quite have the impact on a defense in his heyday as Moss. But Swann has a few things Randy doesn't: four Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP (first receiver to ever win the award), and the respect of all his former teammates. Not only did Swann put up three straight huge performances in the Super Bowl, he conducted himself with class all the way. In this particular argument, that is taken into account when separating who was the better pick.

22. Andre Rison, WR, Indianapolis Colts (1989)
Jack Reynolds gets some consideration, particularly with the two Super Bowl rings he won late in his career with the 49ers. But the nod goes to Rison, who was a better player than people seem to remember. He had nice career numbers: five Pro Bowls, 10,205 receiving yards, 84 touchdowns, and a Super Bowl win with the Green Bay Packers (which saw him open the game with a 54-yard touchdown catch from Brett Favre).

23. Ozzie Newsome, TE, Cleveland Browns (1978)
Some might make the argument for Ty Law in this spot, but he's not in the Hall of Fame and he may never get there. Ray Guy had a great career, too, winning three Super Bowls and establishing himself as perhaps the best punter in NFL history. But come on: he's a punter. A three-time Pro Bowler who finished his career with an impressive 662 receptions and 7,980 receiving yards (and 47 touchdown catches), Newsome was one of the toughest tight ends to ever take the field. He never missed a single game in his career – 198 straight in the regular season.

24. Ed Reed, S, Baltimore Ravens (2002)
There haven't been a lot of impact selections at No. 24. Steven Jackson has a chance to be special, and guys like Dallas Clark and Eric Moulds have been solid. But nobody has come close to Reed, who in only five seasons is already working on a Hall of Fame résumé. A three-time Pro Bowler who earned NFL defensive player of the year in 2004, Reed owns the longest interception return in history (106 yards) and most interception return yardage (358) in a single season. He has 27 interceptions in five seasons and is considered one of the most complete safeties, if not the best, in the game today.

25. Ted Washington, DT, San Francisco 49ers (1991)
This pick hasn't exactly oozed great players. Bobby Butler had a long career, and guys like Charles Grant, Donovin Darius and Chris Hovan have been good-but-not great. So Washington gets the crown, with his four Pro Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. He'll be remembered as one of the biggest run-clogging defensive tackles in history, with his weight ballooning over 370 pounds at times. What's been most remarkable is Washington's durability: He's going into his 17th NFL season – a span in which he's played in 231 regular season games.

26. Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens (1996)
This has been a remarkably lucrative pick over the years, producing Lito Sheppard, Alan Faneca, Dana Stubblefield, Robert Porcher and Jim Harbaugh. But only Hall of Famer Joe Delamielleure rivaled Lewis for the right to be best No. 26 pick ever. Still, the nod goes to Lewis, because he'll be a Hall of Famer, too, and he was the centerpiece of the famed 2000 Ravens defense, which might go down as the best ever. Lewis gets docked points for his role in obstructing a police investigation of a double-homicide in 2000, but even that's not enough to keep him out of this spot.

27. Dan Marino, QB, Miami Dolphins (1983)
Larry Johnson was a great pick at this spot, but even he doesn't come within a continent of Marino, who would likely be considered the greatest player in NFL history had he only won even one Super Bowl. Still, Marino's one of the most spectacular to ever pick up a football, and still holds nearly every major passing record in the game (Green Bay's Brett Favre is within reach of a handful). While Elway may have had the strongest arm the league has ever seen, Marino had the quickest release. While the lack of a Super Bowl will forever haunt his résumé, he should get more credit for the numerous times he put average Dolphins teams on his back and took them to the playoffs.

28. Darrell Green, CB, Washington Redskins (1983)
You have to be great to keep Derrick Brooks out of this slot. That applies to Green. While he may never had some of the dominant single-season performances of Brooks, Green did play in seven Pro Bowls and held down a starting cornerback spot for an astonishing 20 years in Washington (tied with Jackie Slater for the most seasons with one team). That's a feat we will undoubtedly never see again at the cornerback spot. The fastest player in the NFL for many of his years, Green notched 54 career interceptions and won two Super Bowls with the Redskins, while maintaining his reputation as one of the best character guys in the NFL.

29. Derrick Alexander, WR, Cleveland Browns (1994)
With only 14 players to choose from at this spot, the pickings are pretty slim. Blake Brockermeyer had a decent career, and Nick Barnett and Nick Mangold look like they have promising careers ahead of them. But in what's essentially a best-available situation, Alexander is the pick, with his three 1,000-yard-plus receiving seasons and career totals of 6,971 receiving yards and 40 touchdowns in nine seasons.

30. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (2001)
This pick has produced some decent talent despite only having a pool of 12 players having come off the board here in the first round. Keith Bulluck and Patrick Kerney have both made a Pro Bowl and been good starters. And guys like Heath Miller, Joseph Addai and Kevin Jones have gotten off to a good start. That leaves Wayne as the top No. 30 pick in history. Despite playing across from Manning's favorite target in Harrison, Wayne has developed into the true deep threat on that offense, carving out three straight 1,000-yard seasons, a Pro Bowl berth in 2006 and 37 touchdown catches in the last five seasons.

31. Al Wilson, LB, Denver Broncos (1999)
Only nine players have been taken at No. 31 overall, but it's produced good young players such as Todd Heap, Mike Patterson and Nnamdi Asomugha. Wilson has been one of the best playmaking middle linebackers in the league since getting tabbed by Denver at this spot. He's made four Pro Bowls and despite getting shopped this offseason, he's still got some quality years left ahead of him.

32. Logan Mankins, G, New England Patriots (2005)
With only six players in the pool at this spot, it's probably pointless even picking a player. But for what it's worth, Mankins was slid into the lineup from day one – the first Patriots offensive lineman to start every game as a rookie since John Hannah. He's made big strides both of his first two seasons, and if he continues his current trajectory, should be heading for his first Pro Bowl berth in 2006.

Charles Robinson is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

04-25-2007, 12:08 PM
Of course USC with three players on the best all-time list.

04-25-2007, 12:24 PM
Derrick Alexander at number 29 on the best all time picks! hahahahah

04-25-2007, 12:28 PM
This list is invalid. Tony Mandarich is missing. He was the number 2 pick. The packers passed on Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and some guy named Derrick Thomas.

04-25-2007, 12:30 PM
Derrick Alexander at number 29 on the best all time picks! hahahahah

best pick at 29, evidently it's not a very strong pick history-wise :)

And to think we had him and Rison, two of the top picks at their spot eva...!@!@

Pitt Gorilla
04-25-2007, 12:32 PM
Richard Seymour?

04-25-2007, 12:36 PM
It's always nice to see LP getting some love.