New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers

Teams are looking for talented youngsters in the upcoming NFL draft. But on many occasions, what looks to be a certainty can underwhelm, with players not living up to their expectations.

A bust can haunt franchises for a surprisingly long time, especially when considering who they could have drafted instead. Wide receivers are always a tricky business in the draft, as skill positions receive a lot of scrutiny when taken early.

Here are the five biggest wide receiver busts in NFL draft history:

#5. Troy Edwards, Pittsburgh Steelers (#13 in 1999)

Troy Edwards represented Louisiana Tech University in college football, where he established himself as one of the most productive receivers ever. He was named an All-American and took home the Fred Biletnikoff Award.

Steelers “needed” a WR in 99. Took Troy Edwards. Reaching is never good.

In the 1999 draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Edwards 13th overall. Before calling it a career in 2007 (as a member of the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League), Edwards eventually played for six different NFL teams. Edwards accumulated 203 catches for 2,404 yards and 11 touchdowns overall.

#4. Peter Warrick, Cincinnati Bengals (#4 in 2000)

If it weren’t for his arrest on suspicion of stealing, Peter Warrick (one of the most exciting athletes in college football history) would have easily taken home the 1999 Heisman Award. The were warning signs when he performed the 40-yard dash much slower than expected before the 2000 NFL draft.

Bengals lose Isaac Curtis in 1985.They draft Eddie Brown in 1985.Bengals lose Eddie Brown in 1992.They draft Carl Pickens in 1992.Bengals lose Carl Pickens in 2000.They draft Peter Warrick in 2000.Bengals lose Chad Johnson in 2011.They draft AJ Green in 2011.

Warrick was unable to reproduce his college performance in the NFL. His best season while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals was in 2003, when he caught 79 passes for 819 yards and seven touchdowns. However, a knee injury in 2004 cost him 12 games and led to his 2005 retirement, a disappointing return for a fourth-overall pick.

#3. Kevin White, Chicago Bears (#7 in 2015)

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings

West Virginia had a star player in Kevin White. He was the second wideout off the deck in 2015 after finishing his senior season with 1,447 receiving yards and ten scores. Injuries marred his first three years with the Chicago Bears, and after the 2018 campaign, the organization allowed him to leave.

Kevin White’s 64 yard catch tonight was more yards than he had in his entire Bears career

Since then, he has played for the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, and the Arizona Cardinals. While multiple wideouts selected after him (like Tyler Lockett, DeVante Parker, and Stefon Diggs) have gone on to have excellent careers, White would only record 25 receptions in the NFL.

#2. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars (#5 in 2012)

Before being selected fifth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 NFL draft, Justin Blackmon was a college player for Oklahoma State. There, he was a two-time consensus All-American.

From 2012-2017, the Jaguars made SIX straight picks in the top 5: WR Justin Blackmon, OT Luke Joeckel, QB Blake Bortles, DE Dante Fowler, Jr., CB Jalen Ramsey and then RB Leonard Fournette. None of them last more than 5 seasons with the team. Major whiffs.

Blackmon was so well-liked by the Jaguars that they moved up to acquire him. They had the seventh overall pick going into the 2012 draft, but following a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they were allotted the fifth pick.

Despite having a solid rookie year in 2012, Blackmon’s career was hampered by numerous suspensions. After violating the NFL’s substance usage policy in the 2013 campaign, he was suspended indefinitely for a subsequent infraction. Blackmon only participated in four games in 2013 (his second season) and hasn’t played since.

#1. Charles Rogers, Detroit Lions (#2 in 2003)

Detroit Lions 2006 Headshots
Detroit Lions 2006 Headshots

No matter how you look at it, Charles Rogers’ career was not good. He only participated in 15 games over three years, catching only 42.9 percent of the passes thrown his way. He had recorded only 34 catches for 440 yards and four TDs by the end of his career.

@JeffDLowe Charles Rogers. Thought the lions were getting a HOF WR and he played 15 games over 3 years. Head scratching

The fact that the Detroit Lions chose Rogers over Andre Johnson further strengthens his reputation as one of the worst draft blunders ever. Rogers left the NFL after three seasons, while Johnson had 14,185 receiving yards and 70 TDs by the end of his career.

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