The 40 Most Disappointing Draft Picks of All Time

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After the NFL season ends, teams turn their attention to the new crop of young players that will soon be joining the league via the NFL Draft. Franchises look for players that can address weak points on the team, ideally setting the team up for a deep playoff run. Yet this is not always the case. Even the most highly-touted draft picks can sometimes fail to pan out.

When professional sports franchises get a high draft pick, they hope the athlete could grow into a superstar and bring the team to a championship level — and maybe even one day make it to the Hall of Fame. While players like Sidney Crosby and LeBron James lived up to expectations, other athletes who seemed destined for greatness never did.

There are many reasons a player’s career can fail to live up to expectations — the athlete might struggle with character issues or injuries, play for a team that constantly fires its coaches, or just have some bad luck. Wasting a high pick on a player who doesn’t produce can set a franchise back years.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the length and quality of the professional careers of high draft selections in the four major sports, using data from the Sports Reference family of sites to determine the most disappointing draft picks in American sports history. There are very few recent draft picks on this list as it takes years to determine if a player has failed to live up to his perceived potential.