Most NFL fans tend to focus on quarterbacks when they talk about busts. But what about players at other positions who came in with high expectations and completely flopped. There have been plenty of wide receivers who had first-round talent but never amounted to much. Let’s take a look back at the worst wide receivers in NFL history who were selected in the first round.
Freddie Mitchell, 25th Overall, 2001
A lot of time has passed, so Mitchell has been forgotten about somewhat, but he’s truly one of the most disappointing wide receivers ever drafted in the first round. In four seasons with the Eagles, he only caught 90 passes, five for touchdowns.
He did a lot of talking for a player who never backed it up and eventually burned all of his bridges in Philadelphia. After four years with the Eagles, he was released and then suffered a knee injury that more or less kept him from earning a spot on another NFL roster.
Troy Williamson, 7th Overall, 2005
As a high school track star, Williamson surely had the athleticism to be an NFL receiver. But his career was plagued by drops, although fumbles were never an issue. After three seasons, the Vikings were done with him, trading Williamson to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick.
After parting ways, he infamously challenged Minnesota coach Brad Childress to “duke it out” at the 50-yard line. After two years in Jacksonville, he was done, ending his career with 87 catches and four touchdowns.
Rae Carruth, 27th Overall, 1997
Carruth has one of the saddest stories in all of pro sports; just not for his failures on the field. Over parts of three seasons with the Panthers, he caught 62 passes and four touchdowns with injuries holding him back after a somewhat promising rookie season.
Then Carruth’s story turned tragic with the death of his pregnant girlfriend. While he was cleared of charges for first-degree murder, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree. Carruth served a little less than 19 years in prison before being released in October 2018.
Kevin White, 7th Overall, 2015
Technically, there’s still time for White to save himself from infamy. Injuries held him back during his four years in Chicago. In fact, he missed his entire rookie season.
The highlight of his career might be catching a last-second Hail Mary from Mitch Trubisky against the Patriots, only to fall one yard short of the goal line. To date, White has played in just 17 NFL games, catching 25 passes and has no touchdowns.
Charles Rogers, 2nd Overall, 2003
It’ll be hard for any wide receiver to top Rogers for the biggest wide receiver bust. The guy was an All-American and the Biletnikoff winner at Michigan State and looked like a sure thing. Alas, a broken clavicle during his rookie year changed everything. That was followed by multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Following training camp ahead of his fourth NFL season, the Lions released Rogers and no other team gave him another chance. He finished his career with 36 catches and four touchdowns in just 15 games. Sadly, Rogers passed away in 2019 at the age of 38 because of liver failure that followed a cancer diagnosis.