Packers All-Time Draft Bust Team (1980-now) : Packers Insider

Packers All-Time Draft Bust Team (1980-now)

April 6, 2012 by  
Filed under News

By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor

~As we approach the NFL Draft, it’s time to take a look back at the worst draft picks of the modern era for the Packers.
While there were plenty of busts before 1980, I’m only going to cover the worst of the worst since 1980.

Tony Mandarich was an unbelievable physical specimen, but the steroid warning signs were obvious. Add the fact that you had some premium talent in Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, and Deion Sanders available, makes the pick the worst in Packers history.


QB- Rich Campbell, 1981, 1st rd, #6 overall
Ronnie Lott and Mike Singletary went off the board after this atrocious pick. He lasted four seasons with the Packers, appearing in just seven games. He threw a career total of 386 yards and 3 touchdowns, against 9 interceptions and a passer rating of 38.8. He was considered a “franchise-quarterback” when drafted.

Brian Brohm, 2008, 2nd rd, #56 overall
For a 2nd round QB to only last one season on an NFL team in today’s modern NFL, you have to be horrible. That’s what Brohm was for the Packers. He was taken as insurance as the Packers were turning over the franchise to Aaron Rodgers that 2008 season, and many people thought Brohm was ready for the NFL even a year sooner out of Louisville. He looked lost, and was cut the next season, then signed off the practice squad by the Bills.

Robbie Bosco, 1986, 3rd rd, #82 overall
Bosco would end up never throwing a pass in an NFL regular season game. After spending his first two seasons on injured reserve, the Packers cut Bosco. He had a great collegiate career at BYU, following in the footsteps of Steve Young, and preceeding Ty Detmer.

RB- Brent Fullwood, 1987, 1st rd, #4 overall
Like Bosco after Steve Young, Fullwood road the coattails of his previous guy at Auburn, Bo Jackson, and was over-drafted at #4 overall.
Although he had one good season in the Majikal 1989 season, he lasted just three full seasons for the Packers. His career rushing total of 1,701 yards for the Packers as a #4 overall pick is a sad story.

RB- Darrell Thompson, 1990, 1st rd, #19 overall
Thompson was the Gophers’ all-time leading rusher, and the Packers thought they were getting a franchise RB. Although he lasted five seasons in Green Bay, Thompson’s running style was so upright he was an easy target for tacklers. He finished his Packers’ career with 1,641 yards rushing, eight touchdowns and a 3.5-yard average in his career.

RB- LeShon Johnson, 1994, 3rd rd, #84 overall
As is often the case with the RB position, this was another case of a torn ACL ruining the player. After leading the nation in rushing his senior season at Northern Illinois with 1,976 yards, Johnson tore his ACL during his rookie year with the Packers. Five games into his second season, the Packers released Johnson. His Packers’ career consisted of 28 carries for 97 yards.

WR- Derrick Mayes, 1996, 2nd rd, #56 overall
The former Irish Mayes spent three seasons with the Packers, appearing in 29 games and starting only nine. His best season came in 1998, when he recorded 30 catches for 394 yards and three touchdowns. Although he broke receiving records of Tim Brown and Raghib Ismail at Notre Dame, he was a flop for the Packers. He did get himself a Super Bowl ring, however. 

WR- Frankie Neal, 1987, 3rd rd, #71
Lasted just one season in Green Bay, despite the Packers being horrible during those years. Eventually, Frankie turned to a life of crime on the streets.

There have been some great #80 WR’s for the Packers. But not all of them have been worthy of the number.

TE- Gary Lewis, 1981, 2nd rd, #35 overall
Lewis played four quiet seasons for the Packers, starting a total of three games. His career stat line: 21 catches, 285 yards and one touchdown. 

C- Jason Spitz, 2006, 3rd rd, #75 overall
Was drafted to replace Scott Wells as the Packers center, was given multiple chances at both center at guard, but ultimately was never able to last at either position.

OT- Tony Mandarich, 1989, 1st rd, #2 overall

The worst draft pick in NFL history, or a close 2nd now after the Jamarcus Russell bomb. Russell was taken with Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson right there. Mandarich was taken with Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas right there. Mandarich was a walking steroidAfter three seasons of mediocre-at-best performance on a four-year contract, Mandarich was cut in 1992 by the Packers citing a non-football injury.


OT- Jon Michels, 1996, 1st rd, #27 overall
The left tackle from USC started nine games for the Packers during his rookie season after veteran Ken Ruettgers went down with a knee injury. In ’97, he started the team’s first five games before suffering his own season-ending knee injury. The next year was more of the same – Michaels injured his right knee in training camp and never played another game for the Packers. In total, the Packers got 14 starts out of Michaels.

G- Dave Dreschler, 1983, 2nd rd, #48 overall
Never started a game, was castaway after just 2 seasons. Never should have been taken any higher than the 6th or 7th round to begin with. Fans had no idea why he was taken in round two. They still have no idea.

G- Syd Kitson, 1980, 3rd rd, #61 overall
Started 9 games in 3+ seasons before the Packers let him go, to Dallas. At least he earned a handful of starts and wasn’t a complete washout, but a 3rd rounder at guard is expected to become better than that. 

From Bulk to Bust, Mandarich set the franchise back 4 years


DE- Jamal Reynolds, 2001, 1st rd, #10 overall
Absolute huge bust in Ron Wolf’s final draft-dagger as Packer GM. Reynolds lasted all of two seasons for the Packers before they tried to trade him away, but ultimately simply released the bum.

DL- Justin Harrell, 2007, 1st rd, #16 overall
Most Packer fans moaned and groaned the second this pick was announced, and they ended up being correct on this one as Harrell was often injured in college, and that translated into the NFL. He had the perfect blend of size and agility, but for some reason was just made brittle and couldn’t last. Was a total waste, and what makes it worse is that Ted Thompson was just about to draft Darrell Revis with that pick, but the Jets flew in and scooped him up right before the Packers pick.

A nice guy with tons of talent, Harrell was never able to shake his brittleness. Some would say he just had a large amount of bad luck. Some would say it was a bad pick. Either way, the Packers got no return on their first round investment.

DL- Bruce Clark, 1980, 1st rd, #4 overall
Clark never wanted to play for the Packers, and he never did. The Packers thought he was bluffing, but he wasn’t. The idiot opted to instead go to the CFL where he signed with the Toronto Argonauts. The Packers got zilch out of the #4 overall pick, while some great players went off the board after the wasted pick. Dolphins center Dwight Stevenson, Redskins Hall of Fame WR Art Monk, and perennial Pro Bowl guard Matt Millen all would have been nice picks there.

Ron Wolf left the Packers on a low sour note.

What makes it even worse was that Wolf cashed in Matt Hasselbeck here to simply trade up in the first round and select Reynolds. Seattle got themselves the franchise QB who would lead them to numerous division titles as well as a Super Bowl. The Packers reached for Reynolds with their higher pick in round one, while Seattle then later used their lower pick in round one from the Packers to draft themselves Steve Hutchinson, who would become a perennial Pro Bowl guard.

DL- Mike Neal, 2010, 2nd rd, #56 overall
You all know the story here. He still has time to magically heal up and turn it around, but he’s already been suspended for the first ¼ of the 2012 season so his path looks remarkably similar to Harrell’s, and odds are that he will stay who you thought he was. An over-drafted, injury-prone college player who couldn’t stay on the field for the Packers. Ted Thompson’s overfaith in him also caused Cullen Jenkins to be let go, erroneously. Neal could only dream of becoming the player that Jenkins did.

DL- Donnell Washington, 2004, 3rd rd, #72 overall
The 6-6, 330 pounds behemoth out of Clemson never accomplished a single thing in his 2 seasons stealing money from the Packers. Not a single game played before the Packers threw him to the curb, and nobody else ever picked him up.

DL- Steve Warren, 2000, 3rd rd, #74 overall
Lasted 3 seasons, never started a game, registered a career total of 11 tackles and 1 sack for the Packers, which looks Pro Bowl like compared to Neal and Harrell through two seasons.

LB- AJ Hawk, 1st rd, 2006, #5 overall
True, he is not a total bust as he has been solid, somewhat productive, and accountable, for his six seasons. But the fact that he was taken so high, and taken before true dominant players like DL Haloti Ngata and TE Vernon Davis makes this one hard to swallow. Hawk provided a total of zero turnovers in the 2011 season. One of the highest-drafted linebackers in the whole NFL, the Packers have a right to expect more than no turnovers in a season.

LB- Mark D’Onofrio, 1992, 2nd rd, #34 overall
Like Harrell and Neal, it was the injury factor that led to his demise. He tore his hamstring his rookie year, and eventually was released before his second season. He never recorded a single tackle for the Packers despite being named a starter in his rookie training camp.

LB- Abdul Hodge, 2006, 3rd rd, #67 overall
Part of a great Big Ten linebacking crew that year (along with Hawk and Chad Greenway), Hodge had Packer Nation excited when Thompson drafted him. He lasted two seasons, mostly injured with knee problems, before the Packers cut him in August of 2008. 

LB- Torrance Marshall, 2001, 3rd rd, #72 overall
Lasted three seasons for the Packers, totaling 19 tackles in his Packer career. 2004 was the end of the road for Torrance. The last NFL news we heard from Marshall was this: Marshall had an arrest warrant issued for him in connection with the trashing of a former girlfriend’s house in Sheraden, Pennsylvania. The ex-girlfriend told police that when she got off work June 14, she found that her home had been ransacked. The damage, according to a police report, included clothes strewn around and bleach dumped all over them; mattresses sliced; electrical cords on appliances cut; and urine left on family photographs. Marshall had visited Pittsburgh earlier this month to “try and work things out” with the woman, police said.

Iowa's Abdul Hodge was a fan-favorite at first.

Hodge was a fan-favorite when drafted. He never lived up to the hype as his knees were a problem, and so was his quickness.

CB- Ahmad Carroll, 2004, 1st rd, #25 overall

Ahmad lasted two full seasons in Green Bay. He was cut after four games in 2006 and signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who released Carroll after he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and drugs.


CB- Terrell Buckley, 1992, 1st rd, #5 overall
Cocky and brash, Buckley added some excitement to the Packers during a time when they had been horrible and boring for over two decades. Buckley was a great athlete, but too tiny and he had terrible technique as a cornerback.

Buckley made a few big plays for the Packers, but allowed more big plays than he made.

 He made an impact the first time he touched the ball, returning a punt for a touchdown in week three of the 1992 season in a thrilling win over the Bengals. It also was the game that the youngster Favre came in to replace the injured Don Majkowski. 

CB- Vinnie Clark, 1991, 1st rd, #19 overall
Clark lasted only two seasons in Green Bay. During those two years, the cornerback started only 15 games and recorded four interceptions.
CB- Patrick Lee, 2008, 2nd rd, #60 overall
Lee was taken in the 2nd round, surprisingly, and was one of the few head-scratchers by Ted Thompson. He had one decent season only at Auburn, but never showed the ball skills or fluidity to be a successful corner in the NFL. But he had the size that Thompson looks for in his cornerbacks.

S- Marques Anderson, 2002, 3rd rd, #92 overall
Taken in 2002, he would only last two seasons before the Packers let him go, to the Raiders. He wasn’t terrible as he made some plays, but he gave up way too many big plays gambling.

S- Bhawoh Jue, 2001, 3rd rd, #71 overall
Born in Liberia, Jue wasn’t a total bust, and he actually made some plays for the Packers. But by the end of the 2004 season, the Packers had seen enough of him getting burnt, so they let him go. The Chargers gave him a chance, so then did the Rams and Cardinals. 

Patrick Lee never really amounted to much for the Packers, either on special teams or as a DB. He's finally been realeased this year.

He lasted an amazing four seasons in Green Bay and got himself a Super Bowl ring, but he was worthless as he never had a career interception and only made one start. That’s not what one expects from a second round pick.

P- BJ Sander, 2004, 3rd rd, #87 overall
The 2004 draft was very strange for the Packers. GM Mike Sherman traded up to select the crappy punter in round 3, causing the team to only have 2 more picks after round 3. They ended up being DL Corey Williams in round 6, and Scott Wells in round 7, pretty darn good picks. But the first 4 picks that draft were all awful in Carroll, Joey Thomas, Washington, and Sander.

Embarrassingly, Mike Sherman traded up in the third round to select this punter, who was only a one-year mediocre starter at Ohio State

All in all, a decent draft considering you got a Pro Bowl C in Wells and a nice player in Williams. But the earlier picks were all flops

K- Brett Conway, 1997, 3rd rd, #90 overall
From Penn State, Conway never played a single game for the Packers after he was beat out for the kicking job by waiver-wire pickup Ryan Longwell. Longwell would go on to have a fabulous 16+ season career with the Packers and Vikings, but Conway was a total flop, and more proof (like Sander) that you really never should take a punter or placekicker in the first three rounds of a draft. Sebastian Janikowski is the rare exception to that rule.


2 Responses to “Packers All-Time Draft Bust Team (1980-now)”
  1. Nic says:

    AJ Hawk doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near this list… especially when you left off Wayne Simmons, who had only 68 tackles and 4 sacks in his BEST season in Green Bay. Even if he didn’t live up to all of his expectations, AJ Hawk has still has 3 years of 100+ tackles and has been the Packers leading tackler for for half the seasons hes played in GB… not exactly a “bust.”

  2. admin says:

    That’s true Nic, but it’s rare for the Packers to have a pick in the top-5 of a draft, and when you look at the players like Ngata or Vernon Davis, who were physical specimens, who were taken right after the pick, it doesn’t look good for Hawk who is just a guy.

    But you are right, he has been very serviceable and durable. Doesn’t make many big plays, but he’s solid enough.

    I do like his old longer hair though.

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