2000 NFL Draft

Ranking the 10 worst NFL draft classes of all-time

Home » NFL » Worst NFL Draft Class: Most Disappointing NFL Drafts of All Time

There’s plenty of debate and conversation about the best NFL draft classes, but what about the worst NFL draft class?

After all, we tend to remember some of the biggest NFL draft flops and the worst NFL draft picks.

However, we tend to forget the years that most teams struggled to find impact players.

Of course, it’s rare that there are no good players are taken in the NFL draft. But there have been years that have had more bad NFL draft picks than other years. Even if we try to forget them, some of the biggest NFL draft flops have come in the same year, leading to some truly disappointing draft classes.

Worst NFL draft class

But what year deserves the distinction of being the worst NFL draft class of all time? Obviously, no draft class wants that title, but we were too curious not to dig deeper into this question. That’s why we put together a list counting down the worst NFL draft class in league history.


10. 1977

Tony Dorsett was the only Hall of Famer to come out of this draft class. There just isn’t much to write home about with the rest of the class. Three USC Trojans were taken in the first five picks, although only one of them ended up going to a Pro Bowl.

In fact, the second round almost produced more Pro Bowlers than the first round with most of the first-rounders to become Pro Bowlers being selected late in the round. That doesn’t say much about the players who were taken near the top who should have become stars but never did.

9. 1986

If Bo Jackson could have stayed healthy, he might have been able to save this class from being one of the worst of all time. But because he never fulfilled his promise, the class of 1986 was left with just one Hall of Famer, defensive end Charles Haley.

In fairness, players like Jim Everett, Keith Byars, and Pat Swilling all had nice careers. The likes of Brent Jones, Seth Joyner, and Mark Rypien were also late-round gems. But most of the top-10 failed to live up to their promise, not to mention a few other first-rounders who were busts. 

8. 2013

For what it’s worth, the book isn’t entirely closed on this class, but it’s looking bleak. Keep in mind that an offensive lineman from a MAC school was taken first overall with no quarterbacks taken in the first round other than E.J. Manuel, who became a bust and never should have been taken before the third round.

In the top-10, there were busts like Luke Joeckel, Dion Jordan, Tavon Austin, and Dee Milliner. Those are some serious flops from the same class.


For what it’s worth, Lane Johnson, Kyle Long, Eric Reid, DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Tyrann Mathieu, and a few others came from this class, so there is a nice silver lining. But the most impactful quarterback is a tossup between Mike Glennon, Geno Smith, and Matt Barkley. You can look back at nearly half of the first round and just shake your head at how these players were drafted so early.

7. 1999

Tim Couch and Akili Smith were two of the top three picks, so it’s safe to say the early part of the draft failed to deliver.

To be fair, Hall of Famers Champ Bailey and Edgerrin James were top-10 picks and Donovan McNabb and Ricky Williams were top-5 picks who had excellent careers.

But two of the first three quarterbacks selected were complete busts and the rest of the quarterbacks outside of McNabb didn’t do much either. Plus, there weren’t many hidden gems in the late rounds, making this a rather forgettable draft.

6. 2002

The great Ed Reed is the only Hall of Famer to come out of the class of 2002 class. In fairness, the likes of Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, and Jeremy Shockey have a strong case for Canton as well. However, David Carr and Joey Harrington were two of the first three picks in this draft and neither lived up to their high draft selection.

David Garrard was probably the best quarterback from this class, which should embarrass everyone from this year’s class. In addition to the two quarterbacks at the top, top-15 picks like Ryan Sims, Levi Jones, and Wendell Bryant were big disappointments as well, which is why this class has to be considered among the worst draft classes ever.

5. 1991

We’ll give credit where credit is due because Brett Favre and fellow Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams came from this class. Players like Herman Moore, Ricky Watters, Bryan Cox, Leon Lett, and Ed McCaffrey also came from this class.

But most of the best players from this class were not taken early, which means there was an incredible amount of busts. Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich were the two quarterbacks taken in the first round and both were massive disappointments.

Outside of Favre and Watters, the entire second round was practically one giant bust. Outside of a few exceptions, this class didn’t produce much, although it would be a few years until we saw a class as bad as this one again.

Read more: Biggest NFL draft steals of all-time

4. 1984

George Orwell may have had the NFL Draft in mind when he wrote about how terrible 1984 would be. There are no Hall of Famers to come out of this draft, which is a good way to get on our list.

For what it’s worth, this class was never set up for success, as there wasn’t a quarterback selected in the first round.

To his credit, top overall pick Irving Fryar had a nice career, although not what you would expect from the first overall pick.

However, there are far too many players picked in the top 15-20 picks that never amounted to anything. Things didn’t get much better in the second or third rounds before this class completely fell apart. 

3. 2009

Top overall pick Matthew Stafford has done all right for himself, but this draft is filled with disappointing careers.


Several top-10 picks turned into complete busts, including Jason Smith, Aaron Curry, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. That doesn’t include no. 11 overall pick Aaron Maybin, who is one of the biggest busts of all time. While some good players were ultimately found, Alex Mack might be the closest to a Hall of Famer to come out of this class.

2. 2000

After 1999 turned into a disappointment, the 2000 draft class didn’t do much better. Top overall pick Courtney Brown joined a long line of busts taken by Cleveland.

Players who looked like they’d be elite playmakers never became that, including Peter Warrick, Travis Taylor, and Ron Dayne.

Of course, this class did give us Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher and memorable players like Shaun Alexander and Sebastian Janikowski. But if you were to re-draft this class, Janikowski might be a top-5 pick, which says all you need to know about how disappointing the class of 2000 became.

1. 1992

Roughly 30 years later, this class has produced no Hall of Famers. It’s the only class since 1984 to fail to produce at least one Hall of Fame player.

If the names Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt don’t ring a bell, it’s because this class was terrible and they were the first two picks. David Klingler was the first quarterback selected, which also hurts this class. Even Heisman winner Desmond Howard had a disappointing NFL career after being taken fourth overall (at least outside of winning Super Bowl MVP honors).

While there were plenty of Pro Bowlers like Darren Woodson, Jimmy Smith, and Troy Vincent, there aren’t many players who left their mark on the league and almost nobody picked after no. 40 who made a difference in the NFL.

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