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Sunday, 15 March 2015

NFL Draft Rewind: Ranking the 5 Worst No. 2 Picks in Draft History

How do you rate failure and success?  Well when you are picked number two in the draft it is all about production and the money that is thrown at you.  Are you deserving?  Did you come as advertised? 

And to be fair it isn't all one franchise either.  Bad choices are replete throughout the NFL. 

So here are five of the worst number two picks in draft history.  Sure they are others, but these are egregious.

5. Robert Griffin III, Washington, 2012

Is it too early to throw in the towel on RGIII?  Well he was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft.  He signed a deal worth 21.1 million dollars over four seasons.  The deal included a signing bonus of 13.8 million.  To get Griffin Washington traded the number six pick in the 2012 draft, two future first-rounders and a second-rounder for the St. Louis Rams number two selection, aka Griffin III.

What has he done?

Sure in his first year he was pretty good.  He lead his team to the playoffs.  He won a couple rookie awards.  And he finished with a 102.4 passer rating, completing 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.

And then reality hit.  The next two seasons Griffin III was sat by two different coaches for inefficient play.  

In 2013 he passed for 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  In 2014, when he played he passed for four touchdowns and five interceptions.

And did I mention he was sat by two different head coaches? 

It might be too early to call it on Griffin III.  But you think you are the only one who considers Griffin III a bust?  Rewind the Washington game versus the Rams.  Look who the Rams sent out as captains for the coin toss?  You think that wasn't a big FU to Washington?  Think again.

4. Robert Gallery, Oakland Raiders, 2004

Peter King of Sports Illustrated called Gallery, "the best lineman to come out of college in years."  Clearly he wasn't the only one who thought so, as the Oakland Raiders drafted him number two in the 2004 draft, behind quarterback Eli Manning and ahead of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  

It is also fair to mention that free safety Sean Taylor went fifth in the same draft to Washington.

In his first year with the Raiders, played Gallery at right tackle.  He gave up three sacks.  In his second year he started every game and gave up 3.5 sacks.  The next season he was moved to left tackle.  That offensive line gave up nine sacks to one team.  During the 2006 season he played in 13 games and gave up 10.5 sacks. 

In 2011 he signed with the Seattle Seahawks for three years for 15 million.  The Seahawks released him after one season.

In 2012, he signed with the New England Patriots for one year.  In 2012 he announced his retirement. 

Gallery played for eight seasons in the NFL.  Whether his lack of productivity and early retirement were due to playing on a bad team, coaching changes, or position changes it doesn't change the fact, "the best lineman to come out of college in years" wasn't.

3. Johnny Lam Jones, New York Jets, 1980

What happens when you go for an athete and not a position player for the second pick?  You get just what you asked for.

Jones was drafted second in the 1980 draft.  Running back Billy Sims was the number one pick and offensive tackle Anthony Munoz was drafted third.  The next wide receiver picked in 1980 draft went at number 18, it was Art Monk. 

The Jets traded two first round draft picks to move up to the second position and draft Jones.  His contract of 2.1 million was the first NFL contract woth over a million dollars.

The problem was while Jones was a world class sprinter he wasn't a NFL wide receiver.  He could outrun the coverage, but he couldn't catch the ball.   In five years Jones managed 13 touchdowns on 138 receptions. 

2. Tony Mandarich, Green Bay Packers, 1989

Let's talk the 1989 draft: Troy Aikman was drafted first; Barry Sanders was drafted third; Derick Thomas was drafted fourth; and Deion Sanders was drafted fifth. Whew, that's pretty impressive.  And then there is Mandarich at number two.

Mandarich held out until the end of training camp.  The Packers eventuallly signed him to a four year 4.4 million dollar contract.  He was the first offensive lineman to make a million dollars a season. 

"You are not supposed to be as strong as I am.  You're not supposed to be as fast as I am.  You're not supposed to be as good as I am."---Tony Mandarich 1989

And he wasn't.  Mandarich stopped his collegiate steriod use when he entered the NFL.  He then developed an addiciton to pain killers.  He was so ineffective the Packers did not allow him on the field his final year in Green Bay. 

1. Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers, 1998

The Chargers traded their third overall pick, a future first round pick, a second round pick, and Eric Metcalf, a three time Pro-Bowler to the Arizona Cardinals for the second pick.  After the Indianapolis Colts picked quarterback Peyton Manning, the Chargers picked Leaf.  They signed him to a four-year contract worth 31.25 million dollars.  His signing bonus was 11.25 million dollars.  That was the highest amount given to a rookie at the time. 

Leaf's rookie seson was characterized by poor play on the field and bad behavior off the field.  Rodney Harrison, Chargers safety at the time is quoted as describing it as, "a nightmare you can't even imagene.  If I had to go through another year like that, I'd probably quit playing."

Leaf missed his second season due to a shoulder injury he sustained in the seasons first training camp workout. 

Leaf appeared in 25 NFL games starting in 21 of those games.  He completed 48.4% of his passes.  He threw 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. 

In his downward spiral of a career Leaf was signed and released by the Chargers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks before his eventual retirement. 

His career quarterback rating finalized out at 50.0%. 

In 2005, NBC Sports Michael Ventre called Leaf, "the biggest bust in the history of professional sports."

In 2010, the NFL Network named Leaf as the the number one NFL quarterback bust of al time.

In 2011, Deadspin ranked Leaf as the 6th worst NFL player of all time. 

And Rodney Harrison commented, "He took the money and ran."

Unfortunately for both him and his teams, never far enough.


Follow me on Twitter @neverenoughglt


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