The Broncos have been fortunate to not have many terrible draft selections that are widely remembered by the public. But for quite some time, there have been three picks that I’ve considered, far and away, worse than any others:
- Maurice Clarett (2005, 3rd round, 101st overall). He had been out of football for two years, and everyone knew that he was just trouble waiting to happen. Yet Mike Shanahan still thought that he could somehow rehabilitate him. To no one’s surprise, Clarett didn’t even make it out of training camp, and then he quickly found himself on the wrong side of the law. I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of Grey Goose vodka because it just reminds me of Clarett.
- Alphonso Smith (2009, 2nd round, 37th overall). Josh McDaniels had the hare-brained idea to give up a 1st round pick next year to acquire Smith. That 1st round pick, of course, turned into Earl Thomas, a fact that Seahawks fans never let me forget. Smith, meanwhile, lasted only one forgettable year in Denver, and was out of the league after 2012. Finally, being openly homophobic is the sour cherry on the top.
- Ted Gregory (1988, 1st round, 26th overall). Talk about a massive failure by the scouting department under Dan Reeves. At least such a thing can’t happen in these days due to how much the Scouting Combine has been overhyped.
But now, we have another contender to expand this list of shame to a clear cut list of four: Montee Ball.
Former University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball on Thursday faced a new set of domestic abuse charges involving a former girlfriend who told police that he choked her during an argument in 2014, under circumstances similar to those described last month by a different girlfriend.
The new charges against the former NFL player come on the heels of misdemeanor domestic abuse-related charges filed against Ball after his more recent girlfriend told police that Ball injured her after he threw her across their hotel room in February.
Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell often contend with each other as the biggest draft busts of all time among the general public, and I wish I could agree since it means poking fun at AFC West rivals. But I will always contend that the true worst draft pick of all time, and it’s not even close, is Lawrence Phillips. This is because of the following three facts:
- Phillips was a bad NFL player.
- Phillips was an even worse human being.
- It was widely known just how bad of a human being Phillips was, yet the Rams still disgracefully selected him 6th overall. (And they traded away Jerome Bettis to make room for him!)
Ball doesn’t meet the third criterion, but it’s sure looking like he’s going to meet the first two. John Elway is one of the NFL’s best GMs, but he’s also as fallible as the rest of us and will make mistakes even if they are rare. But as far as the NFL Draft is concerned, it’s going to be hard for him to whiff as badly as he did on Ball. Thank goodness he snagged CJ Anderson as an undrafted rookie the same year.