Worst overall first picks in the NFL Draft

Worst overall first picks in the NFL Draft. Having the possibility of being the first team to be selected in the NFL Draft is a privilege, because you can get the best collegiate player available in that generation or at least, the best prospect at the desired position.

The problem is when you make a mistake in that analysis of who is the best prospect available and end up throwing away your first overall pick, as happened to these teams:

Worst overall first picks in the NFL Draft
Jake Long /photo: USA Today

5. Jake Long | Miami Dolphins 

In 2008, the Miami Dolphins decided to invest the first overall section in an offensive tackle. Jake Long, had an expected start in the pros being selected four times to the Pro Bowl within his first five seasons. However, his career declined very quickly, especially when the longevity of offensive linemen is among the highest at all positions in football.

In 2012 he suffered a biceps tear that sent him to the injured list. After that he was a free agent, picked up by the Rams and began the parade through various teams including a laundry list of injuries: torn anterior cruciate knee ligament, torn Achilles tendon and permanent knee pain.

4. Tim Couch | Cleveland Browns 

The Cleveland Browns were looking for a franchise QB in the 1999 Draft to pull them out of the bottom. And their choice was Tim Couch, a player who had glory years with the University of Kentucky and decided not to play last season and look for the same success in the NFL.

Between injuries and very bad offensive lines, Couch spent five very complicated years in Cleveland where he managed to advance to the playoffs only once. His final record was 22 wins and 37 losses.

3. David Carr | Houston Texans 

The Houston Texans' big project, David Carr, ended up falling apart early. The Fresno State graduate was the first overall selection in the 2002 draft.

He spent five seasons with the Texans where his best numbers were the catches he suffered behind the line of scrimmage with 249, including a league record 76 sacks in his first year.

Carr was never able to add a winning season in Houston. He then began to visit several cities looking for professional stability, but it never came, so he retired in 2012 with more pain than glory.

2. JaMarcus Russell | Oakland Raiders 

In 2007 the Raiders had no hesitation in opening the draft with the selection of JaMarcus Russell, a QB who decided to leave his last collegiate year with LSU to turn pro.

After three seasons, Russell's record was 7 wins and 18 losses. In his rookie year he only played in four games. A year later he started 15 games and by 2009 his overweight was the biggest factor in him ending up on the bench and ultimately cut.

1. Ki-Jana Carter | Cincinnati Bengals 

In 1995 the Cincinnati Bengals did what it took to move up to the first overall pick in the draft and select Penn State star RB Ki-Jana Carter.

Carter signed the juiciest contract for a rookie in league history, but that same season he tore up his knee in a preseason game.

A year later he returned to combine in the backfield with Garrison Hearst and Corey Dillon. He stayed that way for two years until he suffered a wrist fracture in '98 that sidelined him for the season. By '99 a new injury sidelined him from the field and the Bengals decided to get rid of him.

He sought new airs, but nothing happened with him in Washington and New Orleans, in fact, he totaled fewer yards in his entire professional career than in his final year at Penn State.

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