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The 5 biggest Draft busts in NFL history

Just because you have the choice of every player in the Draft doesn’t mean you’ll get it right.

Updated at 21.00

1. JaMarcus Russell, QB – Oakland Raiders

Source: AP/Press Association Images

2007, 1st round, 1st overall

After signing a six-year, $68 million contract with $31.5 million guaranteed, Russell won just seven games as Raiders quarterback, throwing 23 interceptions to just 16 touchdowns.

Now while a lot of the fault lies with Russell who was often way overweight — entering one training camp at over 21 stone — his top receiver for his first two seasons was Justin Fargas and nobody’s going to look good throwing to Justin Fargas.

2013 saw Russell attempt a comeback but while he worked out for the Bears, no team showed any interest.

2. Ryan Leaf, QB – San Diego Chargers

Source: AP/Press Association Images

1998, 1st round, 2nd overall

Back in 1998, the Colts had a choice between Petyon Manning or Ryan Leaf. Imagine how different the history of the NFL would be had they chosen the latter?

Over the course of a very short NFL career, Leaf — who signed a $32 million contract — threw 30 interceptions to 14 touchdowns and recorded just four wins.

Leaf has had numerous legal issues since retiring spending time in prison for burglary and possession of drugs.

3. Lawrence Phillips, RB – St. Louis Rams

Source: David Newman/YouTube

1996, 1st round, 6th overall

The Rams gambled that Phillips could put the off-the-field issues that troubled many before the 1996 draft behind him. That gamble did not pay off.

Whatever about his talent as a running back, Phillips had a history of violence against women and after bouncing around a number of teams he quit after playing in the Canadian Football League in 2003.

A history of arrests and convictions for assault led to Phillips being sentenced to 31 years in prison for an assault on his then-girlfriend and just this month his cell mate was found dead at a central California prison with the local coroner ruling the death “homicide by strangulation.” Officials say they suspect Phillips.

4. Akili Smith, QB – Cincinnati Bengals

Source: keeerrrttt/YouTube

1999, 1st round, 3rd overall

Despite having just 11 starts for the Oregon Ducks, NFL scouts couldn’t get over Smith’s cannon arm and undoubted athleticism but the third overall pick in the last draft of the millennium just couldn’t handle the pressure of being a starting quarterback.

Four seasons after joining the Bengals, Smith was out of the NFL having thrown just four touchdown passes.

5. Rick Mirer, QB – Seattle Seahawks

Source: KnuteSchoolFools/YouTube

1993, 1st round, 2nd overall

After watching Mirer at Notre Dame, the normally sensible Bill Walsh called him the second-coming of Joe Montana. The trouble was Mirer wasn’t even the good enough to be the first coming of Tim Tebow.

In four seasons with the Seahawks Mirer did manage 41 touchdowns. However, the 56 interceptions he accumulated was a bigger issue.

As if being a bust for one team wasn’t enough, the Bears traded a first-round pick to Seattle for the flop in 1997. Mirer never won the starting job and bounced around Green Bay, New York (Jets), San Francisco, Oakland and Detroit before finishing is career.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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