Chicago Sun-Times

Head of the class? Hardly ... the all-time draft busts

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Talk about a tough list to compile.

The biggest draft busts of all-time. 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.

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Rashaan Salaam was a disappointment but not a bust--he did gain over 1,000 his rookie year. I'm not saying he was worth the pick, but he's head and shoulders above the rest of the guys on your list: Thomas, Thierry, Enis, McNown, Terrell, Haynes and Benson, (though Haynes had a bad back that may have limited his production). We ought to cut Benson right now and wash our hands of that trainwreck.

Do you think we could shop Benson for a 7th round pick? Or does the rest of the league know that he can't stay healty and he has no heart or work ethic?

We may have ahad the most dissapointing first round than anyone in our draft history. 2003 we grabbed Haynes and Grossman. Still wanna kick Angelo's ass for the talent he passed on

Hey Biggs don't worry you can add Grossman and confirm Benson next year. Not sure on Benson ha, yeah cause most number 4 overall stud running backs gain less than 1500 yards total there first three years and have a major case of the fumbles. Biggs yeah the jury is out, out to lunch with Benson at the all you can eat Old Country Buffet. The guy trips over his own shadow, how many times do you need to see a guy falldown without being touched to know he is bad? The guys battle cry is "Oh no Gravity"

Biggs you also forgot 2002 Marc Columbo, yes he plays for the Boys but for the Bears it was a wasted 1st round pick, We could have had Clinto Portis or Brian Westbrook instead. 1992 Alonzo Spellman, 1997 the 11th pick traded for Rick Mier(kaboom bust) you don't even want to know what kind of stud players where left on the board when the Bears did that. Ahhhh Wannie the father of Otah.

I agree with Permalink. If Benson played with the same tenacity as he did as for his signing bonus, he would be worth the pick. Since he's gotten what he's wanted, he plays soft. Too bad Cade was such a nutcase. I watched play while he was at UCLA- looked like a winner at the time. So did Enis, can't win em all.

Don't forget that while the Bears did not draft Rick Mirer, they wasted a #1 pick on him via a trade.

I would agree with Lou. The Rick Mirer trade set this franchise back at least 5 years. I have never seen a QB throw passes into the turf. This was Wannie's guy.

with the 3 stooges(mccaasket,angelo, phillips)in charge, no wonder!!!

The Bears have had a history of bad choices but that is what the draft is all about. This is what makes me laugh when you hear pepole complain and critize teams for looking at players from Small Schools or Conferences you have never heard off.

Yes, there have players like John Theiry but for every John Thiery their have been players like Peaunt Tillman.

Since Jim Finks and George Halas were out of the personnel picture, the Bears have not been very good at drafting in the first round. Simple fact of the matter is that we try too hard to outsmart ourselves. Take 2003 for example. We had the 4th pick, and took the Jets 2 first rounders (13 and 22), and take Haynes and Grossman. Haynes was a perfect fit for Jauron's defensive line mentality, a 3 down DE who could defend the run and rush the passer. Nobody in the front office noticed that he wasn't all that passionate about football. All the scouting services were saying it, and for some reason they thought money would be the missing link to motivate him. Then they take Grossman, who was a Spurrier QB, was short, and was from a simplified system that did not require progression in his reads. He was a bust waiting to happen in the NFL, despite having a strong arm, and a decent touch. I think we overthought our position. We may be doing that again.

Paul who has been saying the Bears shouldn't look at small schools, most good NFL teams look at small schools and find a lot of talent there. In fact that is where most of the steals come from.

Oh and I like Tillman but in no way shape or form does he make up for Thiery, and nothing and I mean nothing will ever make up for Mier and McClown. I mean it. Not even Dent. Dent can't make up for Thiery either because he came later. Explain Stan Thomas.

Hey Biggs this is to close to the draft to be bringing up this kinda pain. How about a blog about top bears late round steals. I already gave you Dent now stop being lazy and get to work.


Where did I say the Bears should not look at kids from Small Schools? What I want them to do is avoid players from schools that you would probably want them to draft from Mr Bears expert.

Also Creighton there are other Paul's that post. Like I said the draft is like craps. I would rather see the Bears start drafting in the later rounds and forget about the 1st round entirely. Angelo should stay away from what I call Football Factory Schools because a majority of them play meaningless games where players stats are padded.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 18, 2008 1:38 PM.

Offseason program about who's not there: Urlacher, Briggs absent was the previous entry in this blog.

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