In the wake of Vernon Gholston‘s release by the New York Jets, the folks over at the National Football Post put together a list of the top 20 draft busts since 1998.
With their time frame spanning the entire Matt Millen-era, you can imagine my concern in scanning the list.
In truth, the damage could have been worse but the Lions did manage to land two picks on the list.
Joey Harrington was the first former Lion to make the list; he “earned” the number ten spot in the top 20. Here is what NFP had to say:
Yes, Harrington never lived up to the hype of being the third overall selection in the draft, but give this guy at least a little bit of credit. He bounced around the league for seven seasons, threw for just shy of 15,000 yards and had to try and win games for a team assembled by Matt Millen. The day commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced Harrington’s name as the Lions’ first selection in 2002 was the day his career ended.
Who they could have had: It wouldn’t have been a huge upgrade, but the Lions passed on David Garrard three times in 2002.
Based solely on his signing bonus, Matt Millen paid Rogers $252,777 per reception ($9.1 million/36 career receptions) during his career. However, I may be giving Millen too much credit here, as it was actually the Ford family’s money that he was so brazenly flushing down the toilet when he selected Rogers.
But that’s not the true genius of Matt Millen. To understand how bad of a pick this really was, take a look at which player was drafted one spot later.
Who they could have had: Andre Johnson (No. 3 to the Houston Texans)
Check out all 20 players by clicking the thumbnail below: