Draft

The all-time NFL draft busts: The worst pick at each of the 32 first-round slots

NFL draft stage

Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, which means we’re less than 24 hours away from teams making decisions that three or four years from now (heck, maybe even just two) are going to be ridiculed.

It’s a fact of life: The draft, in any sport, is a crapshoot. Heck, any type of player evaluation is much more crapshoot than science. There will be guys picked in the top 10 on April 27 who aren’t going to do squat in the NFL, just like there are top-10 picks in the NBA, MLB and NHL drafts who don’t do squat. It’s the same in recruiting, where five-star prospect Jimmy Cantmiss is outplayed by three-star recruit Joey Whydidtheysignhim.

Each of the 32 picks made in the NFL draft’s first round will, on some level, make sense. The measurables of almost every pick will be impressive or even tremendous. The fit will be great. A position of need will be filled. But it’s a given that a bunch won’t live up to their first-round status and there will be a handful who will be out-and-out busts.

In that vein, we are going to identify the worst pick at each of the 32 first-round draft slots in the past 50 years. Note that this is first-rounders only; this doesn’t look at players who were drafted, say, 30th overall back when the first round only had 28 picks.

Most of these were tough to select because, frankly, there have been three or four egregiously bad picks made at almost every first-round slot. There is one spot — surprisingly, in the high 20s — where there really hasn’t been an out-and-out bust.

Here we go.

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