Talk about a tough list to compile.
The biggest draft busts of all-time.
ESPN.com tackled the task, ranking the top 50 colossal draft failures over the years. From Ryan Leaf at No. 1 to Michael Westbrook at No. 50 with 48 similarly unproductive players in between. The list is from 1967 when the NFL and AFL merged drafts, but is heavily weighted to the last two decades. Obviously, there are a lot of factors to consider, and the higher the pick, the higher the platform they fall from? Right.
I was curious to see where any Bears stacked up, especially from the 1990’s when they were much more hit than miss in the first round.
Would you believe there were only two?
Curtis Enis checked in at No. 20. The fifth pick in 1998 was a workhorse at Penn State, but he lasted only three seasons and was done in by injuries. He scored four touchdowns.
Cade McNown lasted all the way to No. 40. The 12th pick in 1999, and the fifth quarterback chosen in the draft, started all of 15 games before general manager Jerry Angelo sent him packing. McNown’s biggest headline might have been made dating Playboy darling Heather Kozar, who he snuck away from Tim Couch.
How both of these were below Jim Druckenmiller, I’m not sure. The 49ers quarterback was the 26th pick in 1997. When you get to the end of the first round, nothing is sure. Enis was No. 5 overall, afterall.
The franchises with the most? Cincinnati, Detroit and the New York Jets each had four players listed.
Bengals—16. WR Peter Warrick (2000), 17. QB David Klingler (1992), 26. QB Jack Thompson (1979), 42. QB Akili Smith (1999)
Lions—5. WR Charles Rogers (2003), 12. QB Andre Ware (1990), 13. DE Reggie Rogers (1987), 30. OT Aaron Gibson (1999)
Jets—7. WR Johnny “Lam” Jones (1980), 22. RB Blair Thomas (1990), 41. WR Reggie Rembert (1990), 46. WR Alex Van Dyke (1996)
I’m a little surprised Westbrook, the Redskins’ No. 4 overall pick in 1995, made the list ahead of another big-time college wide receiver, David Terrell.
Westbrook is more well known for jumping teammate Stephen Davis in practice than anything else. In an eight-year career, he made 285 receptions for 4,374 yards and scored 26 touchdowns. He averaged 15.3 yards per catch.
Terrell, notorious for his traffic citations in the city, was the eighth pick in 2001. He’s currently rehabbing from microfracture knee surgery and hoping a team will bring him to training camp. He hasn’t played in a regular-season game since appearing in one with Denver in 2005. His career numbers? 128 receptions, 1,602 yards, nine touchdowns, 12.5 yards per catch.
Stands to reason Terrell was a bigger flop than Westbrook, but that’s the thing with these lists. You can dissect them every which way.
So, I ask you this ... since 1991, how do you stack up a Bears’ list that includes tackle Stan Thomas (1991), end John Thierry (1994), running back Rashaan Salaam (1995), running back Curtis Enis (1998), quarterback Cade McNown (1999), wide receiver David Terrell (2001), end Michael Haynes (2003) and running back Cedric Benson (2005)?
The case is still open with Benson. I’d submit Thomas probably deserved a spot on ESPN’s list himself.