The Fifteen Worst Defensive First Round Picks in NFL Draft History

1. Steve Emtman, DT – Colts

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 1st (1992)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1992 – 1997 (6)
  • Games Started (Games): 19 (50)
  • Players taken after him: Darren Woodson (DB), Jimmy Smith (WR), Troy Vincent (DB)
  • What makes him a bust? He had a great first 8 games in Indianapolis until completely destroying his ACL and MCL on his right knee. He never recovered and eventually retired.

2. Brian Bosworth, LB – Seahawks

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 1st (1987, Supplemental Draft)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 1987 – 1989 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 24 (24)
  • Players taken after him: Chris Carter (WR)
  • What makes him a bust? The hype surpassed the player this time. Brian Bosworth could have been great but after he was caught using steroids in college, everything started to fall apart and he never came close to earning his rookie contract, the largest in NFL history at that time.

3. Vernon Gholston, DE – Jets

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 6th (2008)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2008 – 2010 (3)
  • Games Started (Games): 5 (45)
  • Players taken after him: Matt Forte (RB), Josh Sitton (OT), Jamaal Charles (RB), Jordy Nelson (WR)
  • What makes him a bust? As a DE in the NFL, especially one that is taken in the top six picks, you would expect at least a few sacks, right? He provided zero, zilch, none, in his short lived career.

4. Aaron Curry, LB – Seahawks

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  • Overall Pick (Year): 4th (2009)
  • Years in NFL (Seasons): 2009 – 2012 (4)
  • Games Started (Games): 39 (48)
  • Players taken after him: Clay Matthews (LB), Brian Cushing (LB), LeSean McCoy (RB)
  • What makes him a bust? After Aaron Curry was drafted in 2009, everything changed for the Seahawks including a new coaching staff, quarterback, and a defense of the future. Many ‘Hawks fans beleive it was Aaron Curry that proved how broken the system was in Seattle.

It does not take very long for an NFL team to realize they made a mistake with their first round selection during the annual NFL draft. Most teams find out before training camp that they have a bust on their hands and now it is just about managing that player’s time and trying to extract whatever talent the player might have left in him.

In almost every draft, there are a few busts in the first round, it is simple human nature. Some players are not going to survive the NFL regardless of how talented they have been throughout their college careers.

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