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Worst draft moves last 5 years


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Worst draft move for every NFL team since 2011

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The worst Browns draft pick in recent history is... (3:18)
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The best draft moves since 2011 for all 32 teams were simple, partly because all of the players involved are still thriving in the league.

 

EDITOR'S PICKS

 

Now it's time for NFL Nation reporters to assess the worst draft decisions from the last five years, featuring several players who underperformed and are now on the street.

AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

AFC EAST

buf.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueBuffalo Bills: The Bills traded back from No. 8 to No. 16 to select quarterback EJ Manuel in 2013, but that hardly takes the sting away from the pick. Manuel was projected to be a late first- or second-round pick, and many analysts believed the Bills were "reaching" in selecting him so early. They were right; Manuel has a 6-10 record as the Bills' starter and posted a sub-25.0 Total QBR in seven of those games. Manuel has not been the Bills' full-time starting QB since he was benched for Kyle Orton in Week 5 of the 2014 season. If there is any silver lining to the Bills' trading down for Manuel, it's that the 2013 second-round pick they acquired in the deal was used on linebacker Kiko Alonso, who was later traded to the Eagles for star running back LeSean McCoy. -- Mike Rodak

mia.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueMiami Dolphins: The Dolphins traded up nine spots to No. 3 overall in 2013 to draft defensive end Dion Jordan. The team thought it had a major building block. Jordan, however, suffered through injuries, personal issues and three NFL suspensions, and it is unknown if he wants to return to the league when his current suspension is lifted. He has just three sacks in three years. -- James Walker

nwe.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueNew England Patriots: With the top pick of the second round in 2011, the Patriots selected Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling instead of defenders Jabaal Sheard or Brooks Reed. Dowling had the ideal physical traits but had injury concerns in college that followed him to the NFL (he appeared in nine games with two starts in New England before being released). Give the club credit for this: They righted a wrong by signing Sheard as a free agent prior to the 2015 season. -- Mike Reiss

nyj.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueNew York Jets: This one's a no-brainer. In 2012, the Jets were smitten with wide receiver Stephen Hill because of his size (6-foot-4) and sub-4.4 40-yard dash at the combine, and they forgot that he caught only 49 passes in a triple-option offense at Georgia Tech. Inexplicably, they traded up a few spots in the second round to pick Hill when Alshon Jeffery was still on the board. Hill lasted only two seasons with the Jets and caught just 45 balls. He's still hanging around with the Panthers. -- Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

bal.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueBaltimore Ravens: In 2013, the defending Super Bowl champions selected safety Matt Elam, who could be the team's biggest first-round bust. But at least Elam got on the field. That same year, Baltimore traded three draft picks to move up six spots in the second round to get linebacker Arthur Brown. He has yet to start a game and hasn't made a tackle in the past two seasons. Brown was even surpassed on the depth chart by two undrafted players, Zachary Orr and Albert McClellan. There is no guarantee that Brown makes the team this year. -- Jamison Hensley

cin.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueCincinnati Bengals: The jury is still out on current players Russell Bodine, who was picked right after a mid-round trade with Seattle in 2014, and 2013 second-rounder Margus Hunt. Those two aside, though, the worst move had to be taking Robert Sands in the fifth round in 2011. The mid-round safety spent all of 2012 on the injured reserve and then was cut the following year after an arrest for domestic violence. His ex-wife later claimed the Bengals hid Sands' repeated instances of domestic abuse. Coach Marvin Lewis refuted those claims. -- Coley Harvey

cle.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueCleveland Browns: There are so many options for the Browns. Among them: running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden and linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Two of those three were top-six picks. Johnny Manziel is front and center as well. This choice, though, goes to cornerback Justin Gilbert, a player the team targeted and traded up to draft. Gilbert has been a punching bag for teammates criticizing his approach, and in two seasons, he has three starts and one interception. If Gilbert doesn't do a 180, a two-pick first round from the 2014 draft will be a complete washout. -- Pat McManamon

pit.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=truePittsburgh Steelers: Dri Archerseemed like an ideal pick for Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2014 draft. He had brilliant speed and ran a 4.26-second 40 at the NFL combine. The Steelers needed a kick returner, and Archer could have been a versatile weapon in the Steelers' passing offense. But Archer's career in Pittsburgh lasted less than two seasons, with 67 offensive yards to show for it. He was a hesitant returner and couldn't overcome his size (5-foot-8, 173 pounds). The team released Archer, who was a free agent until the Jets signed him this offseason. The Steelers don't miss this badly in the first three rounds very often, but Archer was easily the franchise's worst pick from 2011 to '15. -- Jeremy Fowler

 

AFC SOUTH

hou.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueHouston Texans: Besides first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins, the 2013 draft was a disaster for the Texans. Six of nine picks never played a snap for the Texans, and most were gone by Year 3. There are many options from that draft, but we'll go with the highest selected bust: D.J. Swearinger, the second-round pick. Swearinger never did anything truly malicious, but there were several little incidents that spoke to a lack of focus and maturity. Eventually, the Texans stopped trusting his effort on special teams, and he made too many mistakes on defense to keep his roster spot. The Texans released him after his second season. -- Tania Ganguli

ind.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueIndianapolis Colts: The Colts verified that they made the wrong choice in the first round of 2013 when they released linebacker Bjoern Wernerlast month. Werner had just 81 tackles and 6.5 sacks in his three seasons. A sign of things to come for Werner, who was taken at No. 24, was when he was a healthy inactive for the 2014 AFC Championship Game against New England, in which Indianapolis needed as many pass-rushers and run-stoppers as possible against the Patriots. -- Mike Wells

jax.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueJacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars traded up two spots to take wide receiver Justin Blackmon in the 2012 draft. It looked like a great move because Blackmon, despite a DUI arrest a month after being drafted, went on to catch a franchise rookie-record 64 passes. He has played in only 20 of a possible 64 games since he was drafted, however, because of suspensions for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He hasn't played since Week 8 of the 2013 season and is suspended indefinitely. -- Mike DiRocco

ten.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueTennessee Titans: The Titans spent the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft on quarterback Jake Locker and didn't get close to first-round production out of him. Even after serving as Matt Hasselbeck's backup as a rookie, Locker playing in only 23 of 48 games in his final three years, and his inaccuracy translated to a 57.5 completion percentage. He was part of just nine wins and retired when his contract expired. -- Paul Kuharsky

AFC WEST

den.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueDenver Broncos: In John Elway's five previous drafts as the Broncos' chief football decision-maker, things have largely gone well for a team that has won five consecutive AFC West titles, made two Super Bowl trips and won Super Bowl 50. But one of the rare big misses in those five drafts was the selection of running back Montee Ball in the second round of the 2013 draft. Ball's 554 yards rushing as a rookie, on a Super Bowl team that was the highest-scoring team in league history, provided some optimism for the future. But his season was derailed by a groin injury in 2014 -- he played in just five games -- and he could not carve out a role in training camp in 2015 before being released. Ball is currently out of the league. He faces two domestic violence charges and was recently arrested for violations of his conditions for bail. -- Jeff Legwold

kan.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueKansas City Chiefs: It's one thing to draft in the first round a player who doesn't live up to expectations, and it's another thing to pick a bust. But that's what first-round wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin became after the Chiefs drafted him in 2011. He had 41 catches and two touchdowns in two seasons for the Chiefs before they unloaded him in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. -- Adam Teicher

oak.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueOakland Raiders: Reggie McKenzie's first first-round draft pick was a head-scratcher that still has many observers shaking their heads. Cornerback D.J. Hayden had nearly died on the practice field in college the previous November, as the result of a heart injury at Houston, and would obviously not be 100 percent. But McKenzie took the cornerback at No. 12 overall in 2013, after trading back from No. 3, and said he would have taken Hayden there had he not found a trade partner. Defensive line was a bigger need, and look who was still on the board at No. 12: Sheldon RichardsonStar Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd. Hayden, entering the final year of his rookie contract, is still a project. -- Paul Gutierrez

sdg.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueSan Diego Chargers: A second-round selection by the Chargers in the 2011 draft, inside linebacker Jonas Mouton was waived by the team after three injury-marred seasons. Mouton missed his entire rookie season because of a shoulder issue, and he missed all of the 2013 campaign because of a torn ACL in his right knee, which he suffered on the first practice of training camp. Mouton played just three games in three years with the Chargers and totaled two tackles. -- Eric D. Williams

NFC EAST

dal.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueDallas Cowboys: The Cowboys were lauded for their aggressiveness in trading up to select cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth pick in 2012. He was their highest rated cornerback since Deion Sanders and was a playmaker at LSU. It just has not translated for the Cowboys. Claiborne has battled injuries and missed 25 games in four seasons. When he has played, he has recorded just three interceptions and has drawn too many penalties. The Cowboys re-signed him to a one-year deal that could be worth as much as $3.75 million this offseason, in hopes of finally seeing the production match the potential. -- Todd Archer

nyg.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueNew York Giants: This is a tough one, as the 2011 and 2012 Giants drafts were more or less complete disasters. This is one of only two NFL teams (the other is the Jaguars) that doesn't have a single player on its current roster from either of those drafts. But we'll go with 2011 second-rounder Marvin Austin. The No. 52 overall pick, Austin was a North Carolina defensive tackle who had been suspended along with 12 others for the entire 2010 season for receiving improper benefits. The Giants thought they were getting a steal in the second round. Instead, they got a guy who hadn't played football in a while and wasn't ready for the NFL grind. Austin tore a pectoral muscle in the preseason and missed all of 2011. He played eight games in 2012 but failed to develop or stay healthy, and the Giants released him after two seasons. He stands among the prime examples of the Giants' draft wasteland that was 2008-12. -- Dan Graziano

phi.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=truePhiladelphia Eagles: The Eagles' selection of guard Danny Watkins in 2011 is the clear choice. The team overreached based on need and wound up with a 26-year-old Canadian offensive lineman who was more interested in being a firefighter than being a football player. Watkins started just 18 games in two seasons before the Eagles released him. Three years later, the team overreached for an edge rusher and took Louisville's Marcus Smith. Smith hasn't started a game, but he still has a chance to redeem himself. Watkins doesn't. -- Phil Sheridan

was.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueWashington Redskins: It did not seem like it immediately after the 2012 season, but the Redskins' trade to put themselves in position to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III was Washington's worst draft move since 2011. The Redskins traded two first-round picks and a second-rounder to St. Louis, in addition to swapping first-round picks in 2012. Griffin starred as a rookie, but for a variety of reasons, he did little thereafter. In the end, a player the Redskins surrendered quite a bounty for failed to earn a second contract and was cut last month. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

chi.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueChicago Bears: Desperate for help at offensive tackle after whiffing on Vanderbilt's Chris Williams (No. 14 overall in 2008), the Bears used the 29th pick of the 2011 NFL draft on Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, who, because of injuries, played in just two games his rookie season. Carimi (16 total starts) lasted only two seasons in Chicago before being traded to Tampa Bay. To be fair, Carimi is far from the only Bears' draft disappointment since 2011. Honorable mentions go to Shea McClellin (first round, 2012), Brandon Hardin (third round, 2012), Evan Rodriguez (fourth round, 2012) and Jon Bostic (second round, 2013). -- Jeff Dickerson

det.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueDetroit Lions: The second round was usually a mess for former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, but the second round in 2011 was particularly problematic. The Lions thought they had two talented building blocks in receiver Titus Young (No. 44) and running back Mikel Leshoure (No. 57). Neither ended up playing out his full rookie deal with the Lions, and both were more trouble than they were worth. Young was a constant nuisance for Detroit, including being told to stay away from the team facility during the 2012 season, before he was released in February 2013. He has been arrested multiple times since. Leshoure showed some more promise, but injuries hurt his career, and he was cut before the 2014 season. -- Michael Rothstein

gnb.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueGreen Bay Packers: The Packers' 2011 draft was almost a complete whiff. If not for receiver Randall Cobb, a second-round pick, it would be a total washout. First-round pick Derek Sherrodstarted one game in a four-year career that was ruined by a horrific broken leg late in his rookie season. Third-round pick Alex Green, fifth-round pick D.J. Williams, sixth-round picks Caleb Schlauderaff, D.J. Smith and Ricky Elmore, and seventh-round pick Ryan Taylor are all out of the NFL. The only other players from that draft still on a roster are fourth-round pick Davon House (Jaguars) and seventh-round pick Lawrence Guy (Ravens). -- Rob Demovsky

min.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueMinnesota Vikings: The Vikings needed a quarterback in the 2011 draft, and after they convinced themselves they had to take one in the first round, they selected Christian Ponder 12th overall. Ponder was never much more than serviceable in his two-and-a-half years as the Vikings' starter; he had the best game of his career to help the Vikings reach the playoffs in 2012, but he lost his job by October 2013 and spent 2014 as a third-string quarterback. The Vikings' wayward years with Ponder squandered several years of Adrian Peterson's prime and helped cost coach Leslie Frazier his job. -- Ben Goessling

NFC SOUTH

atl.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueAtlanta Falcons: The Falcons first pick in 2012 was in the second round, due to their surrendering their first-rounder in the 2011 Julio Jones trade. That first pick in 2012 was center/guard Peter Konz, who is out of the league. Konz didn't have much strength and got pushed around as a starter. He eventually got pushed not only out of the starting lineup but also out of Atlanta. A significant knee injury didn't help his cause, but Konz was a major bust and a major miss by general manager Thomas Dimitroff. -- Vaughn McClure

car.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueCarolina Panthers: Just as the Panthers' best move was the drafting of a pair of defensive tackles (first two rounds) in the 2013 draft, the worst move has to fall on the selection of a pair of defensive tackles in the third round of the 2011 draft. Terrell McClain was taken with the 65th pick. He started 12 games as a rookie before going on injured reserve and was released prior to the 2012 season. With the 97th pick, Carolina took Sione Fua. He didn't make it through his rookie year without going on injured reserve, and in 2013, he was cut, re-signed and moved to offensive guard before being waived for good. -- David Newton

nor.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueNew Orleans Saints: Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, the Saints' second-round pick in 2014, lasted only one year with the team and appeared in only four games before he was cut. The Saints knew the tall, long-armed, 6-foot-3, 218-pound former wide receiver would be a developmental project when they drafted him out of Nebraska. But they didn't see enough progress. Most of that six-man 2014 class went bust. Only first-round wideout Brandin Cooks and fifth-round safety Vinnie Sunseri remain. -- Mike Triplett

tam.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueTampa Bay Buccaneers:Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was the team's second-round pick in 2011, but he never lived up to expectations as a first-team All-American, Bronko Nagurski winner and ACC Player of the Year at Clemson. Bowers was bothered by injuries, including a torn Achilles tendon, and had just 7.0 sacks in 53 games (10 starts) in five seasons with the Bucs. -- Mike DiRocco

NFC WEST

ari.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueArizona Cardinals: When a first-round pick is traded before he can finish his rookie contract, something went wrong. In the case of guard Jonathan Cooper, it was a combination of being injury-prone beginning in his third career preseason game -- when he broke his leg -- and not being mentally strong enough to overcome the psychological side of injuries. Cooper's time in Arizona, especially as the seventh overall pick, was a disappointment. He started 11 games in two seasons after missing all of 2013 because of the leg injury. -- Josh Weinfuss

stl.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueLos Angeles Rams: In the 2012 draft, the Rams were flush with second-round picks, including the No. 45 overall pick. When their choice came up, they got greedy, believing they could land one of two linebackers -- Bobby Wagner or Mychal Kendricks -- after trading down five spots with Chicago. A Rams coach even sent a text to Wagner before the pick telling him to be ready. But the Rams traded down the five spots and picked up a fifth-round pick for their troubles. Chicago took receiver Alshon Jeffery with the pick, Philadelphia took Kendricks next, and Seattle grabbed Wagner at No. 47. The Rams took running back Isaiah Pead with the 50th pick and guard Rokevious Watkins with the fifth-round choice. Neither produced anything but headaches for the Rams before the team parted ways with them. -- Nick Wagoner

 

sfo.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueSan Francisco 49ers: The selection of wide receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first round of the 2012 draft still has 49ers fans shaking their heads. The Niners did not need a receiver -- not after signing Randy Moss and Mario Manningham and not with Michael Crabtree coming into his own. Plus, Jenkins wasn't high on many teams' draft boards that year. But Trent Baalke used the 49ers' first-rounder on Jenkins, at No. 30 overall, anyway. Jenkins played in three games as a rookie and was targeted once all year -- he dropped the ball. He was gone from the Niners the next year and last played in an NFL game in 2014. In fact, not a single member of the Niners' seven-player 2012 draft class is still with the team. -- Paul Gutierrez

sea.png?w=110&h=110&transparent=trueSeattle Seahawks: During the 2013 offseason, the team traded three draft picks (a first-, a third- and a seventh-rounder) for Percy Harvin and inked him to a six-year, $67 million extension. Harvin ended up playing in just six regular-season games for the Seahawks and totaled 23 catches for 150 yards before he was traded to the Jets in 2014. The Seahawks gambled big on Harvin and were let down. He didn't contribute on the field, and there were chemistry and injury issues. Meanwhile, the Seahawks had three fewer picks in the 2013 and 2014 drafts. -- Sheil Kapadia

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10 minutes ago, SkerFalcon8710 said:

The thing i find most interesting is that for quite a few teams the 2011,2012 drafts we complete **** storms. Its not just the falcons who dont have a single player from the 2012 draft on their team or 1 player from 2011. If you read the whole thing youll be suprised. 

2012 was bad for quite a few  teams.

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It turned out to be a terrible draft, but everyone liked this move at the time. He was the top center and a borderline first round prospect from a program that consistently produces quality NFL offensive lineman. As we all know by now, Travis Frederick took his place and is an all-pro.

Sadly, we just got the runt of the litter.

Edited by JRob215
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