My favorite Draft mistakes

The NFL Draft has always been hit-or-miss, but no general manager wants to be associated with a player who makes the list of the top five biggest blunders in the history of the draft…

5. Ricky Williams — Although he averaged over 1,000 yards a season in his five years, the flaky running back suddenly quit last year, citing a lack of desire.

Who was picked after? Champ Bailey and Torry Holt

Where are they now? If Bob Marley had an illegitimate child, then it was probably Ricky Williams. Since quitting football, Williams has enrolled in a school of holistic medicine and was last spotted by Esquire magazine trying to “squeeze the life juice out of a giant stalk of celery.”

4. Lawrence Phillips — The Mike Tyson of football. A former Nebraska running back had a huge amount of talent — and also had a huge rap sheet.

Who was picked after? Eddie George, Marvin Harrison, Ray Lewis

Where are they now?Over his football career, Phillips has been arrested twice for sexual assault and was released from both the 49ers and the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders for insubordination. Too bad street cred isn’t a quality NFL or even CFL teams look for.

3. Brian Bosworth — “The Boz” was all flash and no substance — illegal substances. After he failed a drug test in college at Oklahoma, he declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft as a junior. The Seattle Seahawks bought into the Bosworth buildup and reaped the benefits of a career that lasted 24 games.

Who was picked after? Since he declared late, he was included in the NFL’s supplemental draft, so noone of note.

Where are they now? He did what any washed-up celebrity would do: He made the natural transition to movie star. Bosworth appeared in the blockbusters Stone Cold, Back in Business and Blackout.

2. Tony Mandarich — The ultimate combination of extreme hype and no talent, the Green Bay Packers selected Mandarich No. 2 overall in the 1989 NFL Draft. Sports Illustrated called him the “Incredible Bulk,” and he was widely considered “The Best Offensive Line Prospect Ever.” In his rookie year he saw limited action on special teams.

Who was picked after? The next three picks after Mandarich: Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders.

Where are they now? In 1992, Mandarich left Green Bay for Traverse City, Mich., to pursue a degree in law enforcement. After that didn’t work out, he had more failed attempts to make an NFL squad. He currently works as a general manager at a golf course in West Flamborough, Ontario.

1. Ryan Leaf — The state of Montana’s most-hated person (he beat out Theodore Kaczynski in a 2004 state poll) takes the No. 1 spot for the all-time biggest NFL draft bust. “You can go five to 10 years without getting a chance to draft a quarterback like this,” former Chargers GM Bobby Beathard said of Leaf back in 1998 — emphasis on “Former.”

Who was picked after? Most notably Charles Woodson, but anyone would have been better.

Where are they now? Rumored to be somewhere in Moscow, Idaho, but he’s spent time at different spots across the country, including UTEP coach Mike Price’s vacation home, and even a brief stay in the great city of Tampa.

Look out for the 2005 NFL Draft, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.

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