7 NFL Draft Picks That Were Total Busts

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Getting into the big leagues is an incredible feat every hardworking college ball player dreams of doing but few actually get to experience. With the 77th annual NFL draft underway, now is the best time to reflect on the most talked-about football prospects who seemed to have everything going for them until they stepped foot on a professional field. In no particular order, here are seven NFL draft picks that were total busts.

  1. Matt Leinart

    Matt Leinart was one of the most talked-about quarterbacks in the 2006 NFL draft. He was the star at University of Southern California and helped lead his team to the BCS National Championship. Leinart even took home the Heisman Trophy and the Manning Award in 2004. The lefty QB was the 10th overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, but his weak throwing arm took him from first string to second string behind veteran Derek Anderson. The Cardinals cut Leinart in 2010 and he signed a one-year contract with the Houston Texans the following season. Leinart rode the bench for the entire season until starting QB Matt Schaub got injured and Leinart was given the chance to play in his place. He suffered a collarbone injury during the first half of the game, ending his season. The Texans have since released Leinart.

  2. Charles Rogers

    Charles Rogers was an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State University, where he won the Fred Biletnikoff Award and the Paul Warfield Trophy. Rogers was selected by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2003 draft and was expected to do big things for the struggling team. Instead, Rogers ended up bringing more problems than points to the franchise. Rogers' highly-anticipated debut with the Lions was put on pause when he broke his collarbone not once but twice in his first two seasons. He appeared in nine games in 2005 but was cut after failing a drug test. Rogers ended his NFL career with only 36 receptions, 440 yards receiving, and four touchdowns in 15 total games. Rogers has since had several run-ins with the law, including a recent death threat he made about killing his mother if she didn't repay him $100,000 he lent her.

  3. Tony Mandarich

    In 1989, Tony Mandarich was right up there with now Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders. The All-American offensive lineman was a star at Michigan State and was touted by scouts and media as the best offensive line prospect of all time. Nicknamed "The Incredible Bulk," Mandarich stood 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed just over 300 pounds. His remarkable speed, strength, and raw talent made him a force to be reckoned with. Mandarich was drafted second overall by the Green Bay Packers in 1989. To much surprise, "The Incredible Bulk" turned out to be an incredible failure on the field. He was cut after three short years with the Packers. The drastic change in performance and weight from college to NFL have led many to speculate that Mandarich was using steroids during his college days.

  4. Jamarcus Russell

    Jamarcus Russell was another highly anticipated quarterback draft pick that failed to live up to the hype in the big leagues. Russell garnered a great deal of attention starting at Louisiana State University, where he finished 21-4 and was named MVP in the 2007 Sugar Bowl. The talented, strong-bodied QB was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft for a cool $61 million deal, with $32 million guaranteed. Russell's powerful arm just didn't hold up in the NFL and his embarrassing 7-18 career record got him the boot.

  5. Brian Bosworth

    Brian Bosworth, also known as "The Boz," was a controversial and over-hyped linebacker who was picked in the 1987 supplemental draft after he was kicked off the University of Oklahoma football because of steroid use and for wearing a T-shirt that referred to the NCAA as the "National Communists Against Athletes" to the Orange Bowl. His on- and off-field antics made him interesting, but risky player to take. The Seattle Seahawks took the risk and signed Bosworth for $11 million for 10 years. His time with the Seahawks was less than stellar, recording just four sacks in three seasons. Career-ending injuries caused Bosworth to retire in 1989.

  6. Akili Smith

    Back in 1999, Akili Smith looked like a promising NFL quarterback. The former University of Oregon QB only started one season, but it was a very good one. He threw an astonishing 32 touchdown passes in just 11 starts. Despite the fact that Smith had little playing time under his belt, NFL scouts liked him and he was quickly picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the 1999 draft. Unfortunately, Akili didn't live up to all the hype. His disappointing performance on the field led to a 3-14 record as a starter QB, throwing less than 500 attempts and five career touchdown passes in four seasons. After the Bengals cut him, Smith dabbled in the CFL and has since returned to school to finish his college degree.

  7. Ryan Leaf

    There's no doubt about it, Ryan Leaf is one of the biggest NFL draft busts in football history. The NFL had extremely high hopes for the star quarterback from Washington State University. He was the second overall pick behind Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL Draft. Leaf was selected by the San Diego Chargers and given a four-year contract worth $31.25 million, with a guaranteed $11.25 million signing bonus. But Leaf's rookie season and NFL career turned out to be a big joke. His 14-36 record was almost as big of a disgrace as his highly-publicized tantrums and legal troubles than range from drug charges, theft, and burglary.

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