Bad draft? 2008's iffy, but here are five that truly stunk
April 22, 2008
By Pete Prisco
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
Call any NFL scout and ask his opinion of this Saturday's draft and you'll get pretty much the same answer:
It's not very good and not even as deep as the thoughts whirling through the mind of Paris Hilton.
"It doesn't have marquee quarterbacks, it's not deep at a lot of positions and it falls off quickly," one NFC personnel director said.
Why not just a two-round draft, with a free-for-all for the rest of the players? Wouldn't that save time?
But for all the verbal abuse this draft is taking, the reality is we won't know how good or bad it is for another couple of years. We will all grade the drafts Monday -- that's what we do in this want-it-now climate -- but the real value of this draft won't be known for a few years, despite all the moaning and groaning.
We have had our share of bad drafts in the past, some predicted, some not. So I took a look at the drafts of the past 20 years to determine five that could be considered bad.
In picking the five, there were several criteria that helped make them bad. They all had high first-round busts, many other first-round misses, star power that doesn't offset those misses and a lack of depth.
Each draft was broken down into a series of categories to show the weakness. Adding some rubbing alcohol to the wounds, I've listed some late-round steals in each year to make the first-round busts sting even more.
You'll notice the 2000 draft is one of the five drafts I've listed. That first round was littered with failures. You might also notice that there was a late-round steal in that draft. A guy by the name of Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round of that draft.
Think anybody in New England thinks that was a bad draft?
Maybe there's a Tom Brady lurking in the later rounds this year. As bad as the scouts are saying this class is, we really never know.
Top 10 busts: T Mike Williams (4), Bills; DT Ryan Sims (6), Chiefs.
Other first-round disappointments: QB David Carr (1), Texans; QB Joey Harrington (3), Lions; DT Wendell Bryant (12), Cardinals; RB William Green (16), Browns; CB Mike Rumph (27), *****; QB Patrick Ramsey (32), Redskins.
Possible Hall of Fame players: DE Dwight Freeney (11), Colts; S Ed Reed (24), Ravens.
Second-round hits: C Andre Gurode (37), Cowboys; RB Clinton Portis (51), Broncos; WR Deion Branch (65), Patriots.
Late-round steals: RB Chester Taylor (sixth), Ravens; G Justin Hartwig (sixth), Titans; QB/WR Ronald Curry (seventh), Raiders; DE Raheem Brock (seventh), Eagles; DE Brett Keisel (seventh), Steelers; T Kevin Shaffer (seventh), Falcons; T Kyle Kosier (seventh), *****.
The skinny: There were a lot of big misses in the first round, with three of the first four picks now considered major disappointments. Carr and Harrington were big misses for franchises that needed to build their teams around them. There were some good players in that first round, players like Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, Freeney and Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, but not enough to offset the misses. The later rounds did produce some nice finds.
Top-10 busts: DE Courtney Brown (1), Browns; WR Peter Warrick (4), Bengals; WR Travis Taylor (10), Ravens.
Other first-round disappointments: LB Lavar Arrington (2), Redskins; RB Thomas Jones (7), Cardinals; WR Sylvester Morris (21), Chiefs; T Chris McIntosh (22), Seahawks; S Rashard Anderson (23), Panthers; DE Erik Flowers (26), Bills; WR R. Jay Soward (29), Jaguars; RB Trung Canidate (31), Rams.
Possible Hall of Fame players: LB Brian Urlacher (9), Bears; QB Tom Brady (sixth round), Patriots. Second-round hits: T Chad Clifton (44), Packers; LB Marcus Washington (59), Colts; C Brad Meester (60), Jaguars.
Late-round steals: Brady, Patriots; LB Adalius Thomas (sixth), Ravens; DT Robaire Smith (sixth), Titans.
The skinny: When you have five all-out busts in the top 10 and neither of the top two picks lived up to expectations, you have a bad draft. It doesn't help that Urlacher is the only player in the first two rounds who has a Hall chance. There were some good players taken in the first round, guys like running backs Jamal Lewis and Shaun Alexander and linebacker Julian Peterson. But there weren't enough to offset the busts. Brady makes this even tougher for the bust teams to take.
Top-10 busts: WR Ike Hilliard (7), Giants; CB Tom Knight (9), Cardinals.
Other first-round disappointments: DT Darrell Russell (2), Raiders; CB Michael Booker (11), Falcons; DT Reinard Wilson (14), Bengals; WR Yatil Green (14), Dolphins; WR Reidel Anthony (16), Bucs; TE David LaFleur (22), Cowboys; DE Jon Harris (25), Eagles; QB Jim Druckenmiller (26), *****; WR Rae Carruth (27), Panthers; CB Chris Canty (29), Patriots.
Possible Hall of Fame players: T Orlando Pace (1), Rams; T Walter Jones (6), Seahawks; TE Tony Gonzalez (17), Chiefs; RB Tiki Barber (second round), Giants.
Second-round hits: Barber (36); QB Jake Plummer (42), Cardinals; RB Corey Dillon (43), Bengals; CB Sam Madison (44), Dolphins; S Darren Sharper (60), Packers.
Late-round steals: CB Al Harris (sixth), Bucs; DT Grady Jackson (sixth), Raiders; DT Jason Ferguson (seventh), Jets.
The skinny: There were way too many first-round misses in this draft. Those offset the good picks in the first two rounds. There were some quality players in the first round, but way too many misses. The second round also had way too many misses. Harris, who went to the Pro Bowl last year, was a steal in the sixth round. Too bad he never played for Tampa Bay, the team that drafted him.
Top-10 busts: DT Steve Emtman (1), Colts; WR Desmond Howard (4), Redskins; QB David Klingler (6), Bengals.
Other first-round disappointments: LB Quentin Coryatt (2), Colts; CB Terrell Buckley (5), Packers; RB Tommy Vardell (9), Bears; T Eugene Chung (13), Patriots; TE Derek Brown (14), Giants; RB Tony Smith (19), Falcons; RB Vaughn Dunbar (21), Saints; DE Alonozo Spellman (22), Bears; QB Tommy Maddox (25), Broncos.
Possible Hall of Fame players: Darren Woodson (37), Cowboys,
Second-round hits: WR Carl Pickens (29), Bengals; WR Jimmy Smith (36), Cowboys; Woodson; DE Chuck Smith (51), Falcons; K Jason Hanson (56), Lions.
Late-round steals: WR Michael Bates (sixth), Seahawks; TE Mark Chmura (sixth), Packers; S Kurt Schultz (seventh), Bills; S Darren Perry (eighth), Steelers; FB Sam Gash (eighth), Patriots; QB Ty Detmer (ninth), Packers; C Jay Leeuwenburg (ninth), Chiefs; C Matt Elliott (12th), Redskins.
The skinny: Even with 12 rounds, this draft didn't produce a lot. The top two picks were both disappointments, although both Emtman and Coryatt did start for the Colts. The second round had a few hits, but like the first not enough of them. The only possible Hall candidate is Woodson, which shows this was a class devoid of star power. They did have some late-round hits, but the draft was 12 rounds back then. They should.
Top-10 busts: CB Bruce Pickens (3), Falcons; T Charles McRae (7), Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Other first-round disappointments: DT Russell Maryland (1), Cowboys; LB Mike Croel (4), Broncos; RB Leonard Russell (14), Patriots; DE Huey Richardson (15), Steelers; QB Dan McGwire (16), Seahawks; DT Bobby Wilson (17), Redskins; CB Vinnie Clark (19), Packers; T Stan Thomas (22), Bears; WR Randal Hill (23), Dolphins; QB Todd Marinovich (24), Raiders; RB Jarrod Bunch (27), Giants.
Possible Hall of Fame players: QB Brett Favre (33), Falcons; RB Ricky Watters (45), Eagles.
Second-round hits: LB Roman Phifer (31), Rams; Favre; LB Dixon Edwards (37), Cowboys; Watters; DE Phil Hansen (54), Bills.
Late-round steals: DT Nolan Harrison (sixth), Raiders; RB Fred McAfee (sixth), Saints; DT Leon Lett (seventh), Cowboys; S Harry Colon (eighth), Patriots; WR Shawn Jefferson (ninth), Oilers; CB Larry Brown (12th), Cowboys; WR Keenan McCardell (12th), Redskins.
The skinny: Top pick Russell Maryland was a decent player, but he was never worth the top overall pick. Pickens and McRae were major flops early in the first round. The rest of the first round is littered with busts, including the two quarterbacks taken in that round. Both of those guys were taken ahead of Favre, who went in the second. The best of the late-round steals is McCardell, who is among the all-time leading receivers.