The worst 1st-round selections, pick-by-pick

Ezra Shaw

First round picks are great ... until they aren't. We went pick-by-pick to find 32 selections only Matt Millen could love.

SB Nation 2014 NFL Draft

No football draft pick draws attention like a quarterback selected in the first round. They are instantly given the "future of the franchise" tag with their every move followed and every word quoted. When they don't turn into an All-Pro, they are quickly labeled as a bust and a failure.

In some cases the criticism is justified, but it's not only quarterbacks selected in the top five who bust. A receiver drafted 31st who barely contributes is still a massive waste of a premium asset. Unfortunately for teams, a lot of those assets have been wasted in the last 25 years.

Here's a look at the worst pick at each spot in the first round since 1989.

Worst first round picks since 1989
Pick Player CarAV Notes
1 JaMarcus Russell, QB, Raiders 6 There have been a few notable No. 1 overall busts, but none compare to Russell. He was downright awful during three seasons with the Raiders. How bad? Consider Eric Fisher, who had a very mediocre rookie season has a higher CarAV than Russell.
2 Ryan Leaf, QB, Chargers 1 Often mentioned as one of the biggest draft busts ever, Leaf is an obvious choice. Charles Rogers wasn't much better, but didn't flame out in the same epic fashion.
3 Akili Smith, QB, Bengals 1 Leaf draws more notoriety as a bust, but Smith may have been an even worse player. He managed just five touchdowns in 22 games and averaged 4.8 yards per attempt. Bruce Pickens, Heath Shuler and Andre Wadsworth are other contenders.
4 Aaron Curry, LB, Seahawks 17 Going from the No. 4 pick to out of the league in four years is bad enough, but it's even worse when Pete Carroll -- who turns scraps into Pro Bowlers -- can't find a way to utilize you.
5 Trev Alberts, LB, Colts 4 Alberts is better known for his broadcasting career than his playing career. He lasted only three seasons in the NFL, largely due to injuries, and started just seven games.
6 Vernon Gholston, DE, Jets 6 Gholston came to the NFL as one of the top pass rushers to come out of college, then he played three seasons without ever recording a sack. Rex Ryan is a great defensive coach, but he couldn't get anything out of Gholston either.
7 Andre Ware, QB, Lions 5 Ware is a more high-profile bust since he was a quarterback but he's not far ahead of Troy Williamson who washed out in Minnesota quickly. Ware played in
8 David Terrell, WR, Bears 11 The former Bear wasn't able to find much success in Chicago, totaling 1,602 yards in four seasons. Jake Locker could be a contender for this spot if he doesn't bounce back soon while Rolando McClain and Derrick Harvey weren't much better.
9 Sammie Smith, RB, Dolphins 14 Smith lasted just three seasons in Miami and averaged 3.5 yards per carry for his career. He played a final season with Denver, accumulating 94 yards in three games. Tom Knight and Tommy Vardell fared only slightly better.
10 Jamal Reynolds, DE, Packers 2 Drafted by Green Bay in 2001, Reynolds appeared in just 18 games during three seasons, never starting a game. He tallied three sacks, making him even less productive than Blaine Gabbert ... but barely.
11 Aaron Maybin, DE, Bills 5 Maybin was almost an instant bust in Buffalo, failing to register a sack in two seasons. He had a bit of a breakthrough in 2011 with the Jets, finishing with six sacks. He went sackless again in 2012 and was out of the league.
12 Cade McNown, QB, Bears 7 The Bears were desperate for a quarterback, invested the No. 12 pick in McNown and he still only lasted two seasons in Chicago. Wendell Bryant's three-year run in Arizona wasn't much better.
13 Percy Snow, LB, Chiefs 10 The No. 13 pick hasn't produced a lot of stars, but it hasn't produced a lot of pure busts either. There are a lot of middling players. The Lee Evans and Marcus Stroud's of the world. Snow didn't have that level of success, spending three seasons in the NFL before washing out with 15 starts on his record.
14 Bernard Williams, OT, Eagles 8 Williams started all 16 at left tackle as rookie for the Eagles, but that proved to be his only NFL season. He was suspended for failing to complete a drug-treatment program after testing positive for marijuana. He was eventually suspended again and never played in the NFL again.
15 Yatil Green, WR, Dolphins 2 Green tore his ACL in training camp his rookie year, then again in training camp the next year. In his only healthy season, he caught 18 passes for 234 yards. Jerome McDougle and Huey Richardson were other notable busts picked at No. 15.
16 Dan McGwire, QB, Seahawks 2 McGwire played in just 13 games, finishing his career with 745 passing yards. It doesn't help that he was picked 17 picks before a guy named Brett Favre. Justin Harrell and his inability to ever get healthy is another notable bust.
17 Jarvis Moss, DE, Broncos 3 Moss struggled to adapt to the NFL, both as a defensive end and outside rush linebacker. He recorded just six sacks in five seasons. David Pollack could also be considered for this spot after his career was cut short due to a neck injury.
18 Erasmus James, DE, Vikings 6 James' NFL career got off to a solid start with four sacks his rookie season, but he was out of the league three injury-plagued seasons later with just five career sacks.
19 Tony Smith, RB, Falcons 4 The Falcons picked Smith in 1992 and the running back went on to total just 329 rushing yards in three seasons. Atlanta used the pick acquired in the Brett Favre trade to draft Smith. That deal didn't work out very well for the Falcons.
20 Irv Smith, TE, Saints 14 Smith played seven seasons in the NFL and started 76 games, but didn't do much with the playing time. He finished his career with just 1,788 receiving yards.
21 Sylvester Morris, WR, Chiefs 6 Morris caught 48 passes for 678 yards as a rookie and finished his career with ... 48 receptions for 678 yards. Knee injuries kept him ever developing.
22 Brady Quinn, QB, Browns 2 Pick your Cleveland Brown quarterback really. Quinn and Brandon Weeden were both picked 22nd and neither amounted to much during very brief careers with the Browns. Weeden threw for more yards and has a better TD/INT ratio than Quinn, so he has that going for him.
23 Rashard Anderson, CB, Panthers 2 Anderson played two seasons for Carolina, starting nine games and recording one interception. The highlight of his career came when he returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown.
24 Todd Marinovich, QB, Raiders 3 One of the most-hyped recruits out of high school, Marinovich didn't amount to much in the NFL. He spent two seasons in the NFL, playing in eight games. Lackluster performance on the field and issues off it, including a failed drug test made for a very short NFL career.
25 Jon Harris, DE, Eagles 5 The Eagle defensive end had a very short career, playing in just 24 games. Billy Milner wasn't long for the league either while Tim Tebow was also selected 25th.
26 Jim Druckenmiller, QB, 49ers 1 When Druckenmiller was drafted, he was in line to be the quarterback of the future behind Steve Young. It never amounted and he played in just six games with one start. Niners Nation named him the No. 1 bust in 49er draft history.
27 Rae Carruth, WR, Panthers 8 On the field, Carruth was solid if not spectacular, but missed his second season due to injury. Carruth's off the field issues cut his career short.
28 Andre Woolfolk, CB, Titans 5 The Titans needed a cornerback in 2003 and picked Woolfolk ahead of Nnamdi Asomugha. Woolfolk played in six games during his rookie season and was out of the league following four unproductive seasons.
29 Dimitrius Underwood, DE, Vikings 1 Underwood never played a game for the Vikings after being drafted, making it through one training camp practice before leaving the team. Off the field issues, including questions of his mental stability and two failed suicide attempts were mixed in with brief comeback attempts. He played two seasons for the Cowboys, appearing in 19 games.
30 Andre Johnson, OT, Redskins 0 No, not that Andre Johnson. This one, an offensive tackle selected by the Redskins, appeared in just three games and was cut by Washington following his rookie season.
31 Rashaun Woods, WR, 49ers 1 Woods only played in a single season, catching seven passes for 160 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. He spent the next year on injured reserve and was traded in the offseason.
32 Derek Sherrod, OL, Packers 2 Sherrod played in five games as a rookie before breaking his leg. That injury caused him to miss all of 2012 and the start of the 2013 season. He appeared in seven games last season, but has yet to start a game. Patrick Ramsey, Anthony Gonzalez and Craig Newsome are other recent No. 32 picks gone bad.

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