20 Biggest NFL Draft Busts Since 2000

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DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 celebrates following the Oakland Raiders' victory over the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 20-19.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

​The NFL draft is pretty much a gamble at every level. For every great pick a team makes, there are always several that simply never pan out. 


Sometimes, we're gifted with a head-scratcher from the start.


By any measure, these are the 20 biggest NFL draft busts since 2000. These picks turned out poorly due to either injury, awful play, and even run-ins with the law.

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20. Kevin White

  • Drafted: No. 7 overall in 2015 by the Bears
  • Years in NFL: 2015-present
  • Career stats: 21 catches, 193 yards

After a breakout season of over 1,400 yards and 10 TDs at West Virginia, Kevin White was looked at to become one of the next exceptional wide receivers in the league. The Bears picked him seventh overall in hopes of bringing a spark in the offense, but so far, it has turned out to be the opposite. White did not play his rookie season after suffering a stress fracture in his shin while participating in OTAs. The next year, he only played in four games before fracturing his left fibula, and this past season, he fractured his collarbone in the home opener.

White still has time to show what he can do, but he needs to stay healthy this season. If not, he could be out of the NFL in a blink.

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19. Amobi Okoye

  • Drafted: No. 10 overall in 2007 by the Texans
  • Years in NFL: 2007-2012
  • Career stats: 177 tackles and 16 sacks

At 19 years old, Okoye was the youngest drafted player in the NFL. He was the definition of a raw prospect and never transitioned to a level of consistent success in the pros. He was released by the Texans after the 2010 season and was out of the league by 2012.

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18. Matt Leinart

  • Drafted: No. 10 overall in 2006 by the Cardinals
  • Years in NFL: 2006-2012
  • Career stats: 57.1 completion percentage, 4,064 yards, 15 TDs, 21 INTs

Leinart was likely the top pick in the 2005 draft, but chose to return to USC for his senior season. His stock went down a bit, but the champ was drafted by the Cardinals to be the franchise's future signal-caller. That, of course, never happened, as he struggled on the field. He became Kurt Warner's backup and was a journeyman for the rest of his career.

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17. Justin Gilbert

  • Drafted: No. 8 overall in 2014 by the Browns
  • Years in NFL: 2014-2016
  • Career stats: 42 tackles, 1 interception

Gilbert was looked at to be a solid corner for Cleveland, but started just three games in two seasons. He was traded to Pittsburgh for a sixth-round pick in 2016 and continued to struggle on the field. He was suspended for the entire 2017 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy and is currently not signed to a team.

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16. Mike Williams

  • Drafted: No. 10 overall in 2005 by the Lions
  • Years in NFL: 2005-2007, 2010-2011
  • Career stats: 127 catches, 1,526 yards, 5 TDs

Williams had a solid two-year career at USC and decided to enter the 2004 Draft despite not being old enough, in theory. He became ineligible for the 2004 Draft and had to sit out a season. It did not hurt his draft stock, as he was still a top 10 pick, but never turned out to be the reliable option that he was at USC. He did attempt a comeback with Seattle in 2010 and spent two years with the team before being released in 2011 offseason.

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15. Johnathan Cooper

  • Drafted: No. 7 overall in 2013 by the Cardinals
  • Years in NFL: 2013-present
  • Career stats: 42 games in 27 starts

Cooper looked to be an anchor in the Cardinals offensive line, but was hit with injuries from the start. He missed his entire rookie season after breaking his left fibula in the preseason and has struggled to stay healthy since. He was traded to the Patriots and has since spent time with the Browns and Cowboys. Cooper recently signed with the 49ers, likely competing for a backup job.

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14. Dee Milliner

  • Drafted: No. 9 overall in 2013 by the Jets
  • Years in NFL: 2013-2016
  • Career stats: 63 tackles, 3 interceptions

Milliner came into the 2013 draft as one of the highest-rated corners and looked to be the future of the Jets defense. After a healthy rookie season, a cavalcade of injuries limited him to just five games after 2013. He has not played an NFL down since his release in 2016.

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13. Jake Locker

  • Drafted: No. 8 overall in 2011 by the Titans
  • Years in NFL: 2011-2014
  • Career stats: 57.5 completion percentage, 4,967 yards, 27 TDs, 22 INTs

At one point, Jake Locker was projected to go first overall in 2010 but decided to return to Washington for his senior season. He started just 23 games in four seasons due to multiple injuries and eventually, Zach Mettenberger beat him out for the starting role. Locker retired after the 2014 season, saying he had a lack of desire to keep playing.


We also had a lack of desire to keep watching.

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12. Jason Smith

  • Drafted: No. 2 overall in 2009 by the Ram
  • Years in NFL: 2009-2012
  • Career stats: 45 career games with 26 starts

The Rams were in need of a Tackle and drafted Jason Smith in hopes he'd be their anchor on the offensive line for many years. Injury history and inconsistent play led him to be traded to the Jets in 2012 before retiring from the league in 2013.

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11. Barkevious Mingo

  • Drafted: No. 6 overall in 2013 by the Browns
  • Years in NFL: 2013-present
  • Career stats: 166 tackles, 9 sacks

Mingo was supposed to be a star pass rusher for Cleveland, but turned out to be a complete bust. He has been on four teams in six seasons, recently joining the Seattle Seahawks. On a positive note, he does have a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in 2016.


For real.

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10. Dion Jordan

  • Drafted: No. 3 overall in 2013 by the Dolphins
  • Years in NFL: 2013-present
  • Career stats: 64 tackles, 7 sacks

While there is still time for him to resurrect his career with the Seahawks, we cannot forget how much of a bust he was in Miami. By the time the 2015 season began, Jordan had three drug suspensions. He joined Seattle this past season and appeared in five games and recorded four sacks


His time in Miami is forgettable, but his run last year suggests that he has the ability to be a decent pass rusher.

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9. Troy Williamson

  • Drafted: No. 7overall in 2005 by the Vikings
  • Years in NFL: 2005-2009
  • Career stats: 87 catches, 1,1311 yards, 4 TDs

In the post-Randy Moss era, Williamson was looked at as being the next young star wide receiver. In five NFL seasons, Williams never caught more than 37 passes and had more than 600 yards in a season. He was cut in 2007 and spent the next two years in Jacksonville; he hasn't played an NFL down since 2009.

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8. Justin Blackmon

  • Drafted: No. 5 overall in 2012 by the Jaguars
  • Years in NFL: 2012-2013
  • Career stats: 93 catches, 1,280 yards, 13 TDs

What was once considered a promising career, Blackmon is considered one of the biggest draft busts in Jaguars history. The former Oklahoma State All-American had a good rookie season, being named to the 2012 All-Rookie Team. Four games into his sophomore season, Blackmon was suspended for the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse and has not played an NFL down since.

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7. Courtney Brown

  • Drafted: No. 1 overall in 2000 by the Browns
  • Years in NFL: 2000-2006
  • Career stats: 194 tackles, 19 sacks

The Browns were looking to build up the defensive front back in the day, and went with Penn State lineman Courtney Brown first overall. Brown had two decent seasons in Cleveland, but the majority of his career, he dealt with injuries and never became the premier pass rusher they had hoped for. 


A Browns mistake? You're kidding.

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6. David Carr

  • Drafted: No. 1 overall in 2002 by the Texans
  • Years in NFL: 2006-2015
  • Career stats: 59.7 completion percentage, 14,452 passing yards, 65 TDs, 71 INTs

Coming into an expansion team as the first overall pick, Carr had a lot of expectations. From the start, he struggled getting sacked an NFL record 76 times in his rookie season. He was the continued starter until the 2006 offseason when he was released after failing to lead Houston to the playoffs. He stuck around the NFL for a few more years, noticeably as Eli Manning's backup. He even won a ring during the Giants Super Bowl win in 2012.

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5. Aaron Curry

  • Drafted: No. 4 overall in 2009 by the Seahawks
  • Years in NFL: 2009-2012
  • Career stats: 203 tackles, 5.5 sacks

Coming out of Wake Forest, analysts deemed Curry one of the best pass rushers in the draft, and he was the highest drafted linebacker since LaVar Arrington in 2000. Unfortunately, he struggled in Seattle, recording just 5.5 sacks in three seasons with Seattle. He would never have an NFL sack again as he was shipped to Oakland for two years before retiring in 2013.

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4. Charles Rogers

  •  Drafted: No. 2 overall in 2003 by the Lions
  • Years in NFL: 2003-2005
  • Career stats: 36 catches, 440 yards, 4 TD

After receiving All-American honors while at Michigan State, Detroit selected the hometown kid second overall. His ability to get open and score touchdowns did not translate to the NFL, as he only posted 243 yards and three touchdowns his first year. Injuries and a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy ended his playing career in 2005.

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3. Trent Richardson

  • Drafted: No. 3 overall in 2012 by the Browns
  • Years in NFL: 2012-2014
  • Career stats: 2,032 yards, 17 TDs

Coming out of Alabama, the hype for Richardson was through the roof. He was the complete back coming into the draft, with the size and field vision to be one of the next great running backs. He had a solid rookie season with 950 yards but was traded halfway through his sophomore season to the Colts. He was never able to find that spark he had his first season and the Colts released him in 2014. He tried out of the Raiders and Ravens but never made the regular season roster for both teams.

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2. Vernon Gholston

  • Drafted: No. 6 overall in 2008 by the Jets
  • Years in NFL: 2008-2010
  • Career stats: 42 tackles

Gholston had a stellar career at Ohio State and was supposed to be the next elite pass rusher, a new generation of Sack Exchange. The Jets selected Gholston to build up the defensive line, but he struggled right from the start. After having 21.5 sacks during his time with the Buckeyes, Gholston posted zero sacks while in a Jet uniform and was released after 2010.


He attempted two more comebacks in 2011 and 2012 with the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams respectively, but was cut both times during the preseason. A once-promising career as a top pass rusher turned to be one of the biggest draft busts in Jets history.

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1. JaMarcus Russell

  • Drafted: No. 1 overall in 2007 by the Raiders
  • Years in NFL: 2006-2009
  • Career stats: 52.1% completions 4,083 passing yards, 18 TDS, 23 INT

With a 6-6, 260 pound frame to go along with a cannon of an arm, Russell was considered one of the best quarterbacks to come out of the draft in a long time. Oakland took Russell in hopes of bringing the franchise back to its winning ways. That was not the case, as he was released after the 2009 season after poor play and conditioning issues. He has attempted multiple comebacks but has never signed with another NFL franchise.


Not gonna happen.

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