2002: Joey Harrington, QB, Detroit Lions
It’s fair to question whether Joey Harrington was worthy of the #3 overall pick, but you can’t question just how horrendous his situation was in Detroit. Harrington was surrounded by a rotating cast of subpar running backs, lousy wide receivers, and a mediocre offensive line that gave him little protection. On top of that, his own head coach actively tried to replace him. Head coach Steve Mariucci preferred a veteran quarterback, and criticized Harrington for each and every mistake.
According to team sources, it got so bad that Harrington was petrified to throw anything besides a check down pass. Mariucci openly feuded with team president Matt Millen over Harrington’s status as the starter; because Mariucci wanted to replace Harrington with Jeff Garcia (Mariucci’s quarterback during his coaching days with the 49ers).
After a disappointing four-year career in Detroit, Harrington was out of the NFL just two seasons later. In 81 career NFL games, Harrington threw just 79 touchdowns and 85 interceptions. Harrington will be remembered as the guy the Lions took instead of future Hall of Famers like Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, or Ed Reed.