#1 – Carson Palmer — 2003 No. 1 overall, Bengals
It may be hard to remember now, but Carson Palmer actually had a couple good seasons with the Bengals. He even quarterbacked them into the playoffs in 2005 and 2009 — pretty heady stuff for that organization. Was he great? No. Good even? Also, no. But Cincinnati could have done worse. (Other quarterbacks taken in the 1st Round in 2003: Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller and Rex Grossman.) And on the way out of Cincinnati, he got the Bengals two high draft picks. All in all, Carson Palmer was a decidedly sort-of-okay draft pick.
#2 – LaVar Arrington — 2000 No. 2 overall, Redskins
LaVar Arrington was not a bust. He made three Pro Bowls in his first four seasons in the league. Then he just sort of disappeared and was out of football by 2007. No doubt you would like more out of a No. 2 overall pick, but Arrington didn't single-handedly sink his team or anything. His career was undeniably meh.
#3 – Cadillac Williams — 2005 No. 5 overall, Buccaneers
Williams best season came as a rookie when he averaged 4.1 yards per carry and ran for 1,178 yards. After that he was a serviceable, but injury-prone back and was arguably not much worse than the two backs picked ahead of him: Ronnie Brown and Cedric Benson. A very C+ pick by Tampa Bay.
#4 – Levi Brown — 2007 No. 5 overall, Cardinals
If you take an offensive tackle with the fifth pick in the draft, you're expecting him to be a dominating force and possible future Hall of Famer. Brown has never been that. Six seasons into his career, he has zero Pro Bowl appearances and the Cardinals have never had much of a running game. Yet he has started every game during the first five years of his career and Arizona thought enough of him to re-sign him before the 2012 season. So that's sort of decent.
#5 – Darrius Heyward-Bey — 2009 No. 7 overall, Raiders
The Raiders were ripped for reaching to take Heyward-Bey with the 7th pick when most teams didn't even project him as a first rounder. Yet Heyward-Bey has improved every season, going from 124 receiving yards in 2009 to 366 in 2010 and 975 in 2011. That silenced some critics. But not all. Those still really aren't good numbers for a No. 7 overall pick. History will probably judge Oakland's pick of Heyward-Bey as "questionable."