The NFL Draft presents the ultimate wager. Every pick is made and is based purely on potential.
Stellar athletes. Terrific football players. But all unproven at the professional level.

There will be 262 players selected in the 7 rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. They will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in signing bonuses and guaranteed contracts. The first pick will be named on April 28 live in Las Vegas.

How fitting is that venue for the biggest Big Bet in all pro sports?

Where once words like “Las Vegas” and “gambling” were considered sinister and forbidden by the NFL, the league once again will embrace Sin City as one of its 32 teams.

Like any visit to Vegas, those who choose to play know, or should know, the risks. Gambling conflates risk and opportunity. You weigh one against the other and wager accordingly. It’s a bit more complex when it comes to NFL teams deciding on which players to draft and when, but the basics are still the same.

The Jacksonville Jaguars own the first overall pick for the second year in a row. The Philadelphia Eagles are one of several teams to hold two picks in the first round (Nos. 15 and 18 in the Eagles’ case).

Weigh the options. Make a pick. Hope for the best.

Highs And Lows On Draft Day

The history of the NFL draft has been punctuated by a series of first-rounders who both won Super Bowl MVP awards and dozens of others who never came close to reaching their potential as a pro.

Call them “busts,” “flops,” or simply “poor picks,” some of these players went on to other teams to find stardom. Others only lasted one or two seasons in the league.

But what defines a “bust”?

Dozens of “NFL Draft Bust” lists populate the internet. But we sought to quantify it. To figure out the biggest NFL Draft busts of each team, utilized the website to gather the “Approximate Draft Value” (ADV) of each player drafted in the NFL between 2000-19 and weigh it against their spot chosen in the draft to create our official findings.

We excluded the previous two drafts in our formula to give each player a reasonable baseline in which to make an impact.

Top NFL Draft Busts Since 2000

Here are the biggest NFL draft busts listed in alphabetical order with each player, his draft position, ADV, and the year chosen. The lower the ‘Total’ number, the bigger the bust.

ARI2018Josh RosenQB10212
ATL2007Jamaal AndersonDE81927
BAL2015Breshad PerrimanWR26430
BUF2009Aaron MaybinDE11213
CAR2000Rashard AndersonDB23629
CHI2015Kevin WhiteWR729
CIN2017John RossWR9514
CLE2012Trent RichardsonRB3710
DAL2012Morris ClaiborneDB61319
DEN2007Jarvis MossDE17219
DET2003Charles RogersWR246
GB2001Jamal ReynoldsDE10313
HOU2015Kevin JohnsonCB16824
IND2017Malik HookerS151328
JAX2015Dante FowlerOLB358
KC2002Ryan SimsDT61420
LV/OAK2007JaMarcus RussellQB167
LAC/SD2009Larry EnglishLB16723
LAR/STL2009Jason SmithT2911
MIA2013Dion JordanDE336
MIN2005Troy WilliamsonWR7815
NE2013Dominque EasleyDT29433
NO2003Johnathan SullivanDT61016
NYG2016Eli AppleCB10919
NYJ2008Vernon GholstonDE6612
PHI2003Jerome McDougleDE15318
PIT2013Jarvis JonesLB171734
SEA2009Aaron CurryLB41216
SF2017Solomon ThomasDE31518
TB2012Mark BarronDB71118
TEN2005Adam JonesDB61319

Five NFL Draft Picks That Didn’t Work Out

1) WR Charles Rogers // No. 2 Pick Detroit Lions (2003)

Score: 6

Photo: —

The Lions chose Charles Rogers one pick ahead of 7-time Pro Bowl WR Andre Johnson, who ended up in Houston. Injuries dogged Rogers early in Detroit. He broke his clavicle five games into the 2003 season and again on the third play of the 2004 season.

Rogers would be suspended in 2005 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and would be released by the Lions ahead of the 2006 season. He passed away in 2019 due to liver failure.

2) DE Dion Jordan // No. 3 Pick Miami Dolphins (2013)

Score: 6

The Dolphins traded up to pick Dion Jordan out of Oregon at No. 3. Jordan had a solid rookie season but would be suspended three different times for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. The third time for the entire 2015 season. He did not play again until 2017 in Seattle.

3) QB JaMarcus Russell // No. 1 Pick Oakland Raiders (2007)

Score: 7

Photo: —

The Raiders chose JaMarcus Russell out of LSU with the first overall pick in the 2007 draft. Russell would throw just 18 TDs against 23 picks in his three seasons in Oakland. Taken with the No 2. overall pick that year: Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson by the Lions.

4) OLB Dante Fowler // No. 3 Pick Jacksonville Jaguars (2015)

Score: 8

The selection of Dante Fowler out of Florida had all the makings of a can’t-miss pick. But his career in Jacksonville was derailed just weeks after the draft when he tore his ACL on the first day of his first rookie mini-camp. Fowler missed the entire 2015 season. He had two solid-but-unspectacular seasons in Jacksonville.

Fowler was traded to the LA Rams midway through the 2018 season. A year later, the NFLPA would win a grievance filed against the Jaguars, who wrongly fined Fowler for missing doctor’s appointments before the 2018 season.

5) QB Josh Rosen // No. 10 Pick Arizona Cardinals (2018)

Score: 12

Josh Rosen was one of five QBs taken in the first round of the 2018 draft. Rosen won the starter’s job as a rookie but underperformed. The Cardinals would go 3-10 in games started by Rosen, and they fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy along the way.

Rosen’s poor performance allowed the Cardinals to be in a position to take Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick a year later. Since being traded by Arizona, Rosen has played for Miami, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Atlanta.


To determine the biggest NFL Draft busts, utilized the website to gather the “Approximate Draft Value” (ADV) of each player drafted in the NFL since 2000.

After finding the ADV of each player, we developed a ranking relative to their draft position. The Washington Commanders were omitted from this list.

Featured Image: USA Today Sports
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