Who are the worst overall No. 1 picks in NFL history? Follow the stench

Who are the worst overall No. 1 picks in NFL history? Follow the stench

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Let’s step into the way-back machine and remember some truly terrible number one picks!
Image: AP

With the NFL Draft on the top of everyone’s mind, it’s time for us to take a look back in the past at some of the prior number one picks.

The anticipation of fan bases and media coverage of these top selections can make the pressure too daunting for some and for others it can fuel their careers.

Let’s see which first overall picks fell through the cracks and became all-time busts despite being taken in the top spot.

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10. Sam Bradford - QB Rams, 2010

10. Sam Bradford - QB Rams, 2010

Illustration for article titled Who are the worst overall No. 1 picks in NFL history? Follow the stench
Image: AP

Sam Bradford was the ultimate finesser during his playing career. This man ran the bag up on the then St.Louis Rams just to be booboo for the back half of his career. Bradford locked in $78 million for six years in his rookie deal with the Rams, $50 million of that was guaranteed. Luckily for Bradford (and not 2011 No. pick Cam Newton), the rookie salary cap wasn’t instituted until a year later. For all that money he completed just 58.6 percent of his passes as a Ram. Bradford played eight seasons in the league, and never had a winning season as a starter. He is arguably the most overpaid player in the entire sport after racking up nearly $129 million in his career.

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9. David Carr - QB Texans, 2002

9. David Carr - QB Texans, 2002

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David Carr never worked out in Houston or in the NFL for that matter which is why he’s on this list. In ten seasons, he ended his career with more interceptions (71) than touchdowns (65) and a 59.7 completion percentage. He also finished his career with a 74.9 passer rating. As a starter, he also never had a winning season. This man literally threw nine touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. This man couldn’t even average a touchdown per contest.

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8. Tom Cousineau - LB Bills, 1979

8. Tom Cousineau - LB Bills, 1979

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Tom Cousineau had a whole bunch of setbacks during his career. He didn’t even play in the league his first three seasons, starting his career in the Canadian Football league due to a contract dispute with the Bills. He would finally get his shot at the NFL in Cleveland from 1982-1985 where he was somewhat effective, leading the Browns in tackles three times and being named second-team All-Pro in 1984. He finished his career in 1987 with the 49ers. Cousineau is likely fondly remembered in Buffalo as the Bills acquired the No. 14 pick in the 1983 draft for the linebacker, a pick they used to draft Jim Kelly.

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7. Aundray Bruce - OLB Falcons, 1988

7. Aundray Bruce - OLB Falcons, 1988

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What makes the Bruce pick so bad is that everyone hyped this man up to be the next great defensive monster. NFL squads thought this man was going to be the next Lawrence Taylor, and they thought wrong. Bruce had a pretty good rookie year. I mean 70 tackles aren’t bad in the NFL but it just kept getting worse from there. In 1991 he went to the Raiders and never recorded over 40 tackles in a season again.

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6. Ki-Jana Carter - RB Bengals, 1995

6. Ki-Jana Carter - RB Bengals, 1995

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Carter was electric in college at Penn State, which is why he was so high on so many draft boards that year. However, his career in Cincinnati was just never able to gain any traction. Carter was injured throughout the majority of his career and was never the same guy he was in college at the pro level. He finished his career with just 1,144 yards and he never had a season where he rushed for more than 500 yards.

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5. Tim Couch - QB Browns, 1999

5. Tim Couch - QB Browns, 1999

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Couch was just pitiful as a starting quarterback for the Browns. In his five seasons in Cleveland, the University of Kentucky QB threw more interceptions than touchdowns and only completed 59.8 percent of his passes. Even in Couch’s lone winning season in Cleveland he was mediocre at best throwing the football. In 2001, he had a passer rating of 76.8 and just 18 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. Couch never played anywhere else after his stint with Cleveland, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how good of a player he was.

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4. Steve Emtman - DE Colts 1992

4. Steve Emtman - DE Colts 1992

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Emtman was a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive force at Washington before entering the 1992 draft when he was selected first overall by the Colts. What the Colts thought they’d get with Emtman was the furthest thing from what transpired on the field. In his three injury-plagued seasons with the Colts, he only registered 5 sacks and recorded more than 45 tackles just once, in his rookie season. Emtman suffered both a patellar tendon and neck injury while in Indianapolis and was never able to become the player he was in college.

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3. Kenneth Sims - DE Patriots, 1982

3. Kenneth Sims - DE Patriots, 1982

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Despite an award-filled senior season at Texas, Sims (r.) just never panned out on the NFL level. In his first three seasons with New England, he only had 6.5 sacks. He started to take a jump in 1985 when he recorded 5.5 sacks that season but every season after that showed more regression. In the last four seasons of his career, he had 5 sacks total.

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2. Courtney Brown - DE Browns, 2000

2. Courtney Brown - DE Browns, 2000

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This might be the most disappointing defensive pick ever. Brown started so strong in his rookie year compiling 69 tackles, and 4.5 sacks. But major knee and ankle injuries helped derail Brown’s career after that. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound defensive end could never recover. He never had over 50 tackles in a season following his rookie year and never recorded over six sacks in one season.

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1. Jamarcus Russell - QB Raiders, 2007

1. Jamarcus Russell - QB Raiders, 2007

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Russell just might be the sorriest player in NFL history. I say this because unlike so many others on this list talent and injuries weren’t the reason he turned out to be a bust. For Russell, it had everything to do with his mentality and weight gain. Reportedly Russell checked in at a whopping 300 pounds, up from his initial weigh-in of 271. He refused to watch film and prepare the way you are supposed to prepare to be an NFL quarterback. Even though Russell had all the physical tools, he only played three seasons in the league and finished his career with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, and a 52 percent completion percentage.

Russell just wasn’t close to being ready for the professional game and it made him the biggest bust in NFL history.

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