Being the first overall pick in the NFL Draft is a huge honor, but not all pan out. Who has been the worst first overall pick in recent memory? In the modern day NFL, the first overall pick is usually a quarterback.
The quarterback of the team is obviously the most important position, and the team’s success usually rides or dies with the signal caller. Being that the NFL has transformed itself a bit to be more of a quarterback-centric league, teams are constantly looking for the next elite one or are even dumping their old quarterbacks for another.
Other positions like edge rushers and offensive linemen are also sometimes taken with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. In recent memory, who has been the worst first overall pick?
Recent memory obviously is not a set time, but I took a look back from 2010 on to determine who the worst first overall pick in recent memory has been.
Who was the worst first overall pick in recent memory?
From 2010 on, the top picks in each draft since then are as follows:
2010: Sam Bradford
2011: Cam Newton
2012: Andrew Luck
2013 Eric Fisher
2014: Jadaveon Clowney
2015: Jameis Winston
2016: Jared Goff
2017: Myles Garrett
2018: Baker Mayfield
2019: Kyler Murray
2020: Joe Burrow
2021: Trevor Lawrence
2022: Trayvon Walker
So, right off the bat, we can easily eliminate Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Eric Fisher, Jadaveon Clowney, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, and Travyon Walker. I know Walker has just played one year, but it’s also way too early to tell.
So, that leaves us with Sam Bradford, Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, and Baker Mayfield.
Now, it’s just a comparison of the quarterbacks. Right now, I’d feel comfortable eliminating Jared Goff, as he’s the best passer of this group, has been to a Super Bowl, and appears to be having a career resurgence with the Detroit Lions.
And it’s actually pretty neat how close these three are in terms of passing statistics.
Record in regular season
Some other considerations to make: Sam Bradford was never in the playoffs, Winston never won a playoff game, and Mayfield won one of them.
I would say that Baker Mayfield can be taken out, as he did have quite the impact on the Cleveland Browns in getting some out of irrelevancy for a little while.
Both Jameis Winston and Sam Bradford were nothing more than mediocre quarterbacks who did some things well, but never put together a consistent product. Since Winston has a much higher ceiling than Bradford ever did, and given my own preference here, I’d say that Sam Bradford was the worst first overall pick in recent memory (since 2010).