The NFL has almost 1,700 players across the 32 team’s rosters. That means just a handful of the guys that want to make it to the ultimate stage actually get the chance of padding up and playing at the highest level.
Obviously, with that much competition, players have to be almost perfect on and off the gridiron if they don’t want to be out of the league in the blink of an eye, especially if they made it to the NFL as first-round picks.
There are a lot of expectations that come with being taken high in the Draft and more often than not, players fail to live up to the hype. Today, we’re going to let you know about the worst 25 first-round picks of the past decade, either because they didn’t deliver, they got hurt, or their off-court antics cut their career short:
25. Jameis Winston
In 2015, Tampa Bay had reasons to draft Jameis Winston. But it didn't go according to plan. Between injuries and struggles, he failed to turn the Buccaneers around and that wasn’t the case.
Throughout his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the former Heisman winner threw 121 TD, 88 INT, completing just 61.3% of his passes. Also, he lost 23 fumbles. Now he's still trying to keep afloat in the league.
24. Marcus Mariota
You can’t talk about Winston’s career without talking about Mariota’s. It’s been like that since college and it seems like it’s still this way but for the opposing reasons. Neither of them has lived up to the expectations and both lost their starting jobs and had to change teams.
Mariota has been mediocre at best. He hasn’t taken any chances down fill and seems reluctant to run the ball the way he did in college. He's had his chances, but he didn't make the best of them.
23. Trey Lance
Don't get me wrong, Trey Lance still has plenty of time to prove his worth. But the truth is that he has so far fallen short of expectations in San Francisco. While it's true that injuries held him back, he didn't make much of an impression when he took the field.
On the other hand, Brock Purdy went in and left everyone speechless by performing way much better than predicted for a last overall pick. The Niners gave up a lot to get Lance, but it hasn't paid off so far.
22. Zach Wilson
To say Zach Wilson left a lot to be desired in New York is an understatement. To be fair, he has been with the Jets for only two seasons. Even so, it looks like the team has already seen enough of him.
Wilson struggled in ways no one ever imagined in 2021, losing the job multiple times as he couldn't even capitalize on the many opportunities he suddenly got. He's still young and has time to turn things around, but it doesn't look good right now.
21. Solomon Thomas
Solomon Thomas’ career didn’t get off to the start everybody expected when the San Francisco 49ers took him 3rd overall in 2017 out of Stanford. Thus far, he’s logged just 93 combined tackles and 6.0 sacks over his career.
Thomas has been a huge advocate for suicide prevention and depression since his sister committed suicide, so obviously, he’s had more important things to focus than his NFL career. The 49ers recently declined their fifth-year option on him.
20. Björn Werner
Björn Werner was a beast during his time in Florida State, and there was even a point where he was considered a top-3 prospect in most mocks, so the Indianapolis Colts took him with the 24th overall pick of the 2013 Draft.
However, the German’s career was riddled with nagging injuries and constant pains, so he was out of the league just 3 years after entering the NFL. He tried to make the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster in 2016 but failed and retired with just 81 career tackles and 6.5 sacks.
19. Ereck Flowers
The New York Giants have sure messed up a couple of their recent first-round picks and Ereck Flowers wasn’t the exception to that rule. He was often a weak spot on the team’s offensive line and was out of the Big Apple after just three years.
The Giants declined their 5th-year option and he’s bounced around since, joining the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins on one-year deals. Such a shame for a former 9th overall pick.
18. Dee Milliner
Dee Milliner was a consensus All-American in 2012 and the New York Jets took him 9th overall out of Alabama as one of the biggest defensive threats of his class. Sadly, he underperformed from day one and even lost his starting job just 3 games into his rookie season.
Milliner bounced back in a big way after a brief stint on the bench. Still, injuries took a toll on his career and he ended up missing 27 games over his first three years in the league and he hasn’t played since being released by the Jets in 2016.
17. Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson made it to the league as the 2nd overall pick out of Auburn in 2014. He was supposed to be one of the best offensive tackles in the world for many years to come, but vastly underperformed and often saw his quarterback take big hits due to his lackluster play.
The Rams moved him to guard and tackle but he continued to struggle. He tried his luck with the Lions and Browns, and in February 2020 was arrested in Texas for possession of 156.9 pounds of marijuana.
16. Carson Wentz
Back in the day, Carson Wentz looked like one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the entire National Football League. Unfortunately, a season-ending injury completely changed the course of his career.
Wentz was playing at an MVP level until a torn ACL and LCL ruled him out for the remainder of the season, in which the Eagles ended up winning the Super Bowl with Nick Foles under center. Wentz tried but he hasn't been the same since that injury, and eventually failed to impress in Indianapolis and Washington.
15. Kevin White
Kevin White has hurt thousands of Fantasy teams since making it to the league as the 7th overall pick in 2015. The talent and upside are clearly there, but he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy and has missed way more time than what he’s been able to play.
Throughout the course of his career, White has barely grabbed 25 passes for 285 yards and is yet to score his first touchdown. It’s hard to put the blame on an injured guy, but the Bears must be really regretting their choice.
14. EJ Manuel
EJ Manuel was yet another college football star that struggled in the NFL. After leading the Florida State Seminoles to an ACC Championship, everybody thought he was poised for stardom at the next stage. Needless to say, that wasn’t the case.
The Buffalo Bills took Manuel with the 16th overall pick in 2013. He started 17 games for them with just 6 wins before joining the Oakland Raiders and later the Kansas City Chief’s practice squad. He threw for 3,767 career yards with 20 touchdowns and 16 picks.
13. Baker Mayfield
It's not like Baker Mayfield is a bad quarterback, but he was nowhere near the expectations for a first overall pick. The Browns used the first selection on him in 2018, regretting their decision only four years later.
Mayfield had a great season in 2020 but left a lot to be desired the following year, and Cleveland gave up on him. He later failed to get his career back on track in Carolina, and after a short stint with the Rams, the Bucs gave him another chance.
12. Paxton Lynch
The Denver Broncos have been great at taking mediocre quarterbacks in the Draft and Paxton Lynch is a perfect example of that. They took him 26th overall in 2016 to try and lead the post-Peyton Manning era, but this guy had literally nothing in him.
Lynch ended up starting 4 games for the Broncos, completing just 79 of his 128 passing attempts (61.7%). He threw 4 touchdown passes with 4 interceptions, adding 16 rushes for 55 yards and 1 fumble lost.
11. Nelson Agholor
Nelson Agholor entered the league with a lot of expectations around him, and at some point, he was a prolific wideout for the Eagles. He also did a decent job in Las Vegas, but his career went downhill in New England.
The Patriots signed him to a two-year contract but he never looked like the dangerous wideout they expected to be paying for. Consequently, they didn't count on him as a primary target and left as a free agent in 2023.
10. Laquon Treadwell
Laquon Treadwell had quite a career at Ole Miss, finishing as the program’s all-time leading receiver, so the Minnesota Vikings took him with the 23rd overall pick in 2016. Also, he was the fourth wide receiver taken on his class behind Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, and John Docstson.
However, he didn’t do anything to impress his coaches and was clearly and vastly outplayed by both Adam Thielen and Steffon Diggs. He’s now with the Atlanta Falcons and has grabbed 65 receptions for 701 yards and just 2 scores over his career.
9. Isaiah Wilson
Unfortunately, Isaiah Wilson is one of those cases people call a bust. After making an impression during his college tenure at the University of Georgia, Tennessee used its first round pick in the 2020 draft on him.
The offensive tackle, however, was involved in countless controversial episodes off the field and it proved costly. The Titans sent him to Miami in 2021, but the Dolphins eventually released him as he missed workouts and was late for physical.
8. Teddy Bridgewater
For a while, Teddy Bridgewater seemed to be capable to start in the NFL. He had his chances with different teams, but it became clear before long he wasn't worth a first round pick. There's a reason why the Vikings let him go after a few seasons.
Bridgewater spent a couple of years in New Orleans before being the Panthers' starter for just one season. He also failed to impress in Denver, later being relegated to backup in Miami. He managed to get multiple jobs, but didn't perform like a first-rounder.
7. Jared Goff
Look, it's not like he was a complete failure or anything else. But the fact the Rams had to move on from Jared Goff in order to win a Super Bowl proves they made a mistake in using their first overall pick on him.
Goff somehow managed to be the quarterback that led LA to a Super Bowl, but failed to do something to win the game. He is fine for the Lions, but a player that enters the league as a No. 1 pick will always be demanded more.
6. Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel’s story is pretty sad. He had it all to be the league’s next superstar but wasn’t able to fight his demons. Partying, substance abuse, and overwhelming fame destroyed what could’ve been a legendary career for sure.
Manziel ended up with just 1,657 yards while completing 57% of his passes. He threw 7 touchdown passes against 7 interceptions and was never the dual-threat offensive juggernaut we all expected him to be. He then tried his luck in the AAF and XFL but continued to struggle to stay on the wagon.
5. Josh Rosen
It’s still pretty soon to just give up on Josh Rosen. Given the right coaching and environment, he could still turn around just fine. However, after what we saw from him with the Dolphins last year, there are huge concerns about his future in the NFL.
I mean, he got benched on a team that was trying to tank, so that says a lot about how poorly he performed. Thus far, he’s made 16 starts and averaged just 57 yards per game, with 12 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, and 5 fumbles lost. He may go down as the guy teams drafted to tank for a better quarterback.
4. Reuben Foster
Reuben Foster had it all to become one of the most disruptive defenders of the decade. After thriving at Alabama, the San Francisco 49ers took him with the 31st overall pick in 2017 but his legal issues forced the team to suspend him after just one season with the team.
Foster hasn’t been able to stay out of trouble since making it to the NFL and has also struggled with injuries, tearing both his ACL and LCL. He’s now with the Washington Redskins and has logged a grand total of 84 career tackles.
3. Blake Bortles
Some people had Blake Bortles as Ben Roethlisberger’s second coming. The Jacksonville Jaguars took him 3rd overall in 2014 out of UCF. While no one can argue he has a cannon for an arm, he’s far from a franchise quarterback and his lack of mobility and awareness were historically bad.
He did have 103 touchdowns against 75 interceptions throughout his career, but it’s clear that he’s not the kind of game-changing quarterback you’d expect out of 3rd overall pick.
2. Sam Darnold
It became clear the Jets wasted a first round pick on Sam Darnold when they used another first-rounder to get Zach Wilson a few years later. Selected third-overall in 2018, Darnold never lived up to the expectations.
He started for New York in three straight seasons until the team gave up. Darnold was traded to the Panthers in 2021, but was relegated to backup only a year later. Carolina also saw enough of him and let him walk away as a free agent.
1. Mitch Trubisky
And last, but not least, we find Mitch Trubisky, the 2nd overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft and considered by many as the biggest bust of that class, especially considering the Bears could’ve drafted Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson instead.
Trubisky isn’t even a lock to be the team’s starter anymore with Nick Foles in town. His lack of awareness, poor decision making, and blatant disregard for his teammate’s route-running ability make Trubisky one of the worst first-round picks ever. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the worst player on this list, but considering who the Bears could’ve got and what they gave for Foles, he’s the worst pick for sure.