Top Nine Biggest draft busts of the 2000s

The 2014 NFL Draft begins on May 8, and marks the unofficial tenth anniversary of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning being selected as the No. 1 overall pick.

Both Eli and the man he was traded for, San Diego signal-caller and 2004 No. 4 overall pick Philip Rivers, became top-flight NFL quarterbacks, but not everyone selected so highly get so lucky. We wanted to chronicle the biggest busts of the Eli era in this space, but because some of the guys drafted after 2009 are still on rookie contracts, it's kind of hard to really label any of them a "bust" just yet - even if, say, 2010 No. 8 overall pick Rolando McClain is already out of football.

So, instead, we bring to you the biggest NFL Draft busts of the 2000s, celebrating one whole instance of suck from each selection class of the last fully completed decade - and if your quick-thinking math skills made you realize we're attempting to pack 10 years into nine slots, well, then prepare for a surprise double-shot somewhere in this countdown.

  • DE COURTNEY BROWN (No. 1 overall, 2000)
    This was a tough choice, because there were a lot of guys who had mediocre yet still semi-lengthy careers picked in the first round. So, we lead off this list with Brown simply because he was the Browns' second straight whiff with the No. 1 overall pick.
  • WR DAVID TERRELL (No. 9, 2001)
    Seven of the top nine picks in the 2001 Draft became Pro Bowlers, and No. 3 pick Gerard Warren was at least a solid player for a decade. So that leaves poor David Terrell, the ex-Michigan wideout who hauled in only 128 passes in four years with the Bears and becomes the victor of our bust award for 2001.
  • DT WENDELL BRYANT (No. 12, 2002)
    As much as this draft is panned, at least most of the early "busts" had some longevity in the NFL. Bryant, however, lasted just three seasons in the league, and we're pretty sure Arizona regrets choosing him over two-time Pro Bowler Albert Haynesworth (who was taken by Tennessee three picks later).
  • WR CHARLES ROGERS (No. 2, 2003)
    After Carson Palmer went No. 1 overall, Detroit went No. 2 and chose Rogers, who was limited to 15 games over three seasons because of two broken collarbones and a drug suspension, over seven-time (and counting) Pro Bowler Andre Johnson. Whoops.
  • WR REGGIE WILLIAMS (No. 9, 2004)
    Seven of the first nine players chosen in the 2004 Draft became Pro Bowlers…and then there's Washington product Williams, who had just 189 catches in five seasons with the Jaguars and racked up more drug busts (three) than 100-yard games (one).
  • WR TROY WILLIAMSON (No. 7 overall, 2005)
    Minnesota traded Randy Moss to Oakland after the 2004 season and drafted this South Carolina speedster to replace him, but over his five-year career, Williamson produced only slightly more (87 catches, 1,131 yards, 4 TD) than Moss did in 2005 alone.
  • QBs MATT LEINART (No. 10 overall, 2006) and JAMARCUS RUSSELL (No. 1, 2007)
    Leinart dropped like a rock before Arizona snagged him in 2006, and for good reason: his career totals (4,065 yards and 15 TD) are worse than current Cards QB Carson Palmer's numbers last year alone. That's still better than Russell, who went from Raiders superhero to super-zero in three long years.
  • DE VERNON GHOLSTON (No. 6, 2008)
    We hate to dredge up painful memories, Jets fans, but we must remind you that your team drafted Gholston, who had 21.5 career college sacks at Ohio State, to lead a new "Sack Exchange" - but his college total ended up being 21.5 more sacks than he had in three years with the Jets.
  • OT JASON SMITH (No. 2, 2009)
    Surely you expected Mark Sanchez here, but luckily for him, two of the four guys drafted ahead of him in '09 are already out of the league. The bigger of those two evils is Smith, who didn't pan out in St. Louis and has since actually been released by Gang Green twice. Take that, butt fumble! comments