NFL Draft 2020 After-math
Huge NFL Draft regrets: Knowing who you could’ve had will make you sick
The player your favorite NFL team drafted turned out to be awful. And it looks even worse when you see who they could have gotten instead.
No team is immune to whiffing on NFL Draft selections and watching their picks turn into colossal busts. The real insult, however, comes when you start thinking what might have been for your favorite franchise had it picked a great player who was still on the board.
Looking back at all 32 teams’ NFL Draft history, here are the picks they probably wish they could go back and do all over.
The pick: QB Kelly Stouffer, No. 6 overall in 1987
The miss: CB Rod Woodson, No. 10 overall to Steelers
Stouffer was a terrible pick for the team in St. Louis, both as an unpleasant surprise reach and subsequent holdout who ended up being traded to Seattle a year later. The Cardinals should have gone best player available and chosen Woodson. He was first-team All-Pro five times in Pittsburgh and went on to play 17 NFL seasons. He is third all-time in interceptions (71) and had a record 12 INT returns for TDs. The Cardinals’ worst draft pick that actually played for them was defensive end Andre Wadsworth (No. 3 overall in 1998), taken third overall and one pick ahead of another Hall of Fame-bound defensive back named Woodson — Charles.
The pick: LB Aundray Bruce, No. 1 overall in 1988
The miss: WR Tim Brown, No. 6 overall to Raiders
Aundray Bruce edges out Bruce Pickens (No. 3 overall in 1991) as the biggest draft bust in Falcons history. It hurts a little more with Bruce, because many thought the team was giving plenty of consideration to taking Brown, fresh off his spectacular Heisman-winning season at Notre Dame. While Bruce flamed out as a little-used player over four seasons in Atlanta, Brown immediately exploded with the Raiders as a dynamic return man. He went on to play 16 seasons in Los Angeles and Oakland as one of the game’s most reliable all-around receivers. He got his well-deserved place in Canton in 2015.
The pick: WR Mark Clayton, No. 22 overall in 2005
The miss: WR Roddy White, No. 27 overall to Falcons
The Ravens haven’t had too many notable misses in the Ozzie Newsome era in any round. Although wide receiver Travis Taylor (No. 10 in 2000) and quarterback Kyle Boller (No. 19 in 2003) may stand out as bigger busts, Clayton is more frustrating knowing the next player taken at the same position. In Atlanta, White was one of the league’s most prolific and reliable receivers over the past 11 seasons. Clayton’s best season was 67 yards, 939 yards and 5 TDs. White averaged 73, 988 and 6 and enjoyed four Pro Bowl seasons.
The pick: T Mike Williams, No. 4 overall in 2002
The miss: T Bryant McKinnie, No. 7 overall to Vikings
Williams edges out linebacker Tom Cousineau, the team’s first overall pick in 1979, as Buffalo’s worst selection of all time. McKinnie was solid 12-season player for the Vikings and Ravens, getting to one Pro Bowl. That was enough to make him a whole lot better at locking down left tackle than Williams. Many scouts saw McKinnie as being much better before the draft. The Bills got a sluggish prospect who couldn’t work at right tackle, inside or even on defense. Two years later, they were fortunate to land Jason Peters as an undrafted free agent to soften the blow.
The pick: RB Tim Biakabutuka, No. 8 overall in 1996
The miss: RB Eddie George, No. 14 overall to Oilers
The Panthers were right to find their workhorse in “The Game.” They should have looked more to Ohio State than Michigan, however. Biakabutuka spoiled the Buckeyes’ perfect season by rushing for 313 yards, while George, the ’95 Heisman winner, was held to 104 by the Wolverines. Biakabutuka’s stock shot up as a potentially more explosive back, but George had more staying power.In Carolina, Biakabutuka struggled through injuries, starting only 35 games in sixseasons and totaling 2,530 career rushing yards. In Houston and Nashville, George started by reeling off five consecutive 1,200-yard plus seasons as a four-time Pro Bowl workhorse.
The pick: RB Curtis Enis, No. 5 overall in 1998
The miss: RB Fred Taylor, No. 9 overall to Jaguars
Enis is the biggest draft bust in Bears history, as the Penn State product lasted only three short seasons in the NFL after a rookie holdout, ending it as a glorified fullback. Meanwhile, Taylor, despite carrying the unfair nickname “Fragile Fred”, became a terrific game-breaking back in Jacksonville. He was a lot more of what Chicago wanted to carry the backfield tradition of Gale Sayers and Walter Payton. Taylor also lasted 13 years, staying productive into his 30s before finishing his career in New England.
The pick: QB Jack Thompson, No. 3 overall in 1979
The miss: DT Dan Hampton, No. 4 overall to Bears
The ’79 draft was doubly painful for the Bengals. They took both Thompson and running back Charles Alexander, both major disappointments, one pick before future Pro Football Hall of Famers. After Alexander, it was tight end Kellen Winslow going to the Chargers. Hailing from the same college as all-time draft bust Ryan Leaf, Washington State, Thompson didn’t do much in four seasons in Cincinnati before he moved on to Tampa Bay. Hampton, meanwhile, became a Canton-bound “Danimal” in Chicago, wreaking havoc on inside and outside blockers for a dozen seasons.
The pick: RB William Green, No. 16 overall in 2002
The miss: S Ed Reed, No. 24 overall to Ravens
The Browns have had a ton of bad draft picks since their 1999 reboot, led by quarterback Tim Couch that year. Green got off to a good start three years later, showing the feature back promise he had atBoston College, but issues on and off the field ended his stint in Cleveland after less than four full seasons. Free safety was a considerable position of need for the Browns in ’02, and by passing on Reed, they allowed rival Baltimore to land a long-time premier playmaker. While Reed will have his bust in Canton, Green goes down as an all-out bust and a source of major regret.