Yesterday, I went through the NFC Franchises and listed the most notable draft busts for each franchise. Today, we turn to the AFC. Some of the choices were obvious; others were a little harder.
Baltimore Ravens: QB Kyle Boller, 19th overall in 2003. The Ravens have been one of the best drafting teams, so they don’t have a notable outright bust. Players like Sergio Kindle, second round picks, haven’t panned out. The highest draft picks for the organization, though, are Johnathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, and Jamal Lewis. Travis Taylor was selected 10th and never turned into a star, but he did play for a long time in the league. Kyle Boller is the choice, then, because his strong arm caused the Ravens to trade up to get a guy who was not cut out to be a starter.
Buffalo Bills: DE Aaron Maybin, 11th overall in 2009. Maybin is the choice here over Mike Williams, since Williams started for three years. Maybin never had a sack as a member of the Bills, and only started one game.
Cincinnati Bengals: QB Akili Smith, 3rd overall in 1999. I could have done a post entitled Draft Busts: Cincinnati versus Everyone Else. It would have been close. I mean Jack Thompson and David Klingler, both. Wide Receiver David Verser. RB Ki-Jana Carter and DE David Pollack, due to injuries. S Rickey Dixon. It’s a truly impressive list and I’m probably leaving off several. The “winner”, though, is Akili Smith, who averaged 4.8 yards per pass over the course of four different seasons after being selected right behind Donovan McNabb in the 1999 Draft.
Cleveland Browns: LB Mike Junkin, 5th overall in 1987. Cleveland traded away Chip Banks for the pick that became Mike Junkin. It did not work out. Junkin is the last Duke player to be selected in the first round, and after he bombed out in Cleveland, it was revealed that the team knew he had taken steroids before drafting him. Junkin played in only 15 games for the Browns.
Denver Broncos: DE Jarvis Moss, 17th overall in 2007. Denver doesn’t have any major busts up top, but plenty of disappointments in the middle of the first, from Dan Williams to Knowshon Moreno to Willie Middlebrooks. The franchise also wasted a pick on Maurice Clarett when he was not going to be drafted in the third round by anyone else. The choice, though, is Moss, who started only one game after being selected as a pass rusher, and recorded 2.5 sacks with the Broncos.
Houston Texans: DT Travis Johnson, 16th overall in 2005. Houston has only been a franchise for just over a decade, and haven’t had their Ryan Leaf moment. David Carr was a reach at the first pick for a new franchise, but didn’t have much help early on. If we are talking just his career in Houston, Jason Babin could be a consideration, but most of Houston’s first rounders have been starters. You have to go to the second round to find non-contributors.
Indianapolis Colts: QB Art Schlichter, 4th overall in 1982. The Colts had one of the worst drafts ever when they took Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt #1 and #2 in 1992. That one is not the favorite here, though. Trev Alberts was a huge bust, but he is not chalk to take home this award. No, that goes to compulsive gambler Art Schlichter, who is still trying to scam people to support his habits.
Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Derrick Harvey, 8th overall in 2008. I have a feeling we might want to update this name in year, but Blaine Gabbert might get one more chance. The Jaguars traded four picks to move up to #8 to take Harvey because they needed a pass rusher. They still needed one after the pick. Baltimore then traded the pick as part of the package that got them Joe Flacco, while Houston selected their left tackle, Duane Brown, with the pick originally belonging to the Jaguars.
Kansas City Chiefs: QB Todd Blackledge, 7th overall in 1983. I remember when the Chiefs drafted the heavily mulleted Brian Jozwiak. He was awful. Percy Snow was a waste. Blackledge, though, has to be the selection because the 1983 Draft was an all-time great one, the Chiefs opted for Blackledge over Kelly or Marino (or even Ken O’Brien), and plenty of other Hall of Famers were available. Kansas City got a guy who now travels around eating unhealthy food in college towns.
Miami Dolphins: WR Yatil Green, 15th overall in 1997. Yatil Green had his career destroyed by injuries before it began, tearing up his knee on the first day of camp as a rookie, and again the next year. He appeared in 8 games in his third season, the only one he would ever play.
New England: WR Hart Lee Dykes, 16th overall in 1989. Dykes isn’t so much a bust as a sad case due to injury. New England, though, doesn’t really have many options. Eugene Chung did not pan out at guard, and Andy Katzenmoyer and Robert Edwards also had short careers due to injury. Dykes missed part of his second year due to an eye injury when he and teammate Irving Fryar were involved in a bar fight with a bouncer. The next preseason, he fractured his knee cap, and never played in the NFL again.
New York Jets: DE Vernon Gholston, 6th overall in 2008. The Jets are another team rich in bust options, from Mark Sanchez to Lam Jones to Blair Thomas, Johnny Mitchell, and Kyle Wilson. Vernon Gholston easily is the worst pick, though, never getting a sack in his entire career. Yes, Gholston and Derrick Harvey were selected two picks apart in the same stellar draft.
Oakland Raiders: QB JaMarcus Russell, 1st overall in 2007. Purple Drank knocked Robert Gallery out of this spot. Russell is attempting a comeback, but has no takers so far.
Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Tim Worley 7th overall in 1989. The Steelers haven’t had many high picks in the last 35 years. In fact, the highest, Tim Worley at 7th, is probably one of the worst. Worley had 15 fumbles in his first two years, then was hurt in his third. Drug problems also de-railed his career in Pittsburgh. Gabe Rivera, selected in 1983, was the saddest, as he was in a drunk driving accident as a rookie and paralyzed.
San Diego Chargers: QB Ryan Leaf, 2nd overall pick in 1998. I was at the game where Ryan Leaf melted down in the locker room. Stood outside the stadium in the middle of the night to get single game tickets for Jackson County residents that summer, flew back from law school to go to the game. Ryan Leaf went 1 for 15 for 4 yards. It was uglier than it looked, if that’s possible. He never recovered. His life is still a mess today.
Tennessee Titans: Adam “Pacman” Jones, 6th overall in 2005. Pacman Jones had a few legal issues when the Titans drafted him, after they drafted him, and after he left the team. He is most famous for “making it rain” at a Las Vegas Strip Club, igniting violence. Pacman caused much of Roger Goodell’s current close scrutiny of off the field behavior.
[photos via toledoblade.com, spokeo.com, helmet2helmet.com]