Now that Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders have cut former first overall pick QB Jamarcus Russell we have to wonder who is the biggest first round QB bust of all time. First let us look at the candidates; we have Russell, Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Heath Shuler, and Andre Ware. In my mind we can exclude, Couch and Ware since they were drafted by terrible football teams and were never given a real good shot at being successful. Leaf has long been the biggest draft bust ever, but Russell may give him a run for his money.
Russell has made more than 39 million dollars playing football. If we broke that done that means he made about 110 thousand dollars for each of his 354 career completions. To put that number in perspective, the Colts would have paid Peyton Manning over 466 million dollars if they paid him 110 grand per reception. Russell was the first overall pick, and has never shown an interest of effort in being a star football player. In my mind that makes him the clear winner.
Leaf was the second overall pick, and he got paid a ton of money. His selection also cost the San Diego Chargers their first and second round picks in 1998, and a first rounder in 1999 plus two players they traded to the Arizona Cardinals for the privilege of drafting Leaf. Leaf threw 13 TD passes and 33 interceptions in two years with the team. Russell may be the winner, but it is by a hair.
Smith was the third overall pick in the 1999 draft behind Couch and Donovan McNabb. He was terrible but did not cost the Bengals as much as the others on this list. Shuler on the other hand was also the third overall pick in 1994. He played one year and after an injury was beaten out for the Redskins starting job buy Gus Ferrotte.