The Biggest NFL Draft Busts in History - The QBs

Who were the biggest NFL Draft busts in history? There’s been a lot more than you might think, so we’ve decided to focus on the quarterbacks.

Biggest NFL Draft Busts

  • Akili Smith (drafted 3rd overall in 1999 by the Cincinnati Bengals)
    In 22 career games, Akili Smith threw for approximately 2,200 passing yards with five touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In addition, he compiled a miserable 3-14 record as a starter.
  • Art Schlichter (drafted 4th overall in 1982 by the Baltimore Colts)
    This degenerate gambler had a career record of 0-6, with just 1,006 yards passing, 3 TDs, and 11 INTs. Unsurprisingly, you can add “convict” to his list of accomplishments.
  • Ryan Leaf (drafted 2nd overall in 1998 by the San Diego Chargers)
    Remember when the NFL world debated whether Leaf or Peyton Manning to be drafted first? Yeah, good times. Leaf’s immaturity, hair-trigger temper, and inability to earn his teammates’ respect led to his downfall. Leaf’s career numbers settled on a 4-17 record with 3666 yards, 14 TDs, and 36 INTs.
  • Johnny Manziel (drafted 22nd overall in 2014 by the Cleveland Browns)
    Too bad for the Browns that “Johnny Football” was nothing more than arrogance mixed with immaturity. Manziel lasted two years in the league, compiling a 2-6 record with 1675 yards, 7 TDs, and 7 INTs.
  • JaMarcus Russell (drafted 1st overall in 2007 by the Oakland Raiders)
    At 6-6, 265 lbs and with a cannon arm, Raiders’ owner Al Davis fell in love with Russell. Unfortunately, that million-dollar body came paired with a 10-cent attitude. Russell’s party lifestyle, low football IQ, and laziness guaranteed his bust status. Russell finished with a 7-18 record on 4083 yards, 18 TDs, and 23 INTs.

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  • Heath Shuler (drafted 3rd overall in 1994 by the Washington Redskins)
    What can you say about Shuler? He had more success as a politician than as QB (8-14 record, 15 TD, 33 INT, and 3691 yards).
  • David Klingler (drafted 6th overall in 1992 by the Cincinnati Bengals)
    Klinger compiled a 4-20 record as a starter, with 3,994 yards, 16 TDs, and 22 INTs. In fairness to him, severe arm injuries derailed his career.
  • Todd Marinovich (drafted 24th overall in 1991 by the Los Angeles Raiders)
    The tragedy of Todd Marinovich began with his father, Marv, treating his son as a lab experiment. Due to this, people referred to Marinovich as the “test-tube QB” when the Raiders took him in 1991. “Robo QB,” however, fell into a spiral of substance abuse that ended in prison time. Marinovich played in eight games, compiling a 3-5 record with 1345 yards, 8 TDs, and 9 INT.
  • Rick Mirer (drafted 2nd overall in 1993 by the Seattle Seahawks)
    Despite a lengthy NFL career, Mirer has to be considered a bust. After winning Rookie of the Year, Mirer’s career slid into mediocrity. Mirer’s final career numbers: 24-44 record, 11,969 yards with 50 TDs and 76 INTs in 80 games.
  • Josh Rosen (drafted 10th overall in 2018 by the Arizona Cardinals)
    This one may seem unfair, considering Rosen is still active in the NFL. However, Rosen’s time is running out in the NFL, even as a perennial third-stringer. No other first-round QB has ever been let go after one season, yet the Cardinals had seen enough to get rid of Rosen and draft Kyler Murray in 2019.

Wrapping Up

This is our list of the biggest NFL QB Draft Busts. Do you agree with our selections? Who would you have included in this list? Drop a note in the comments and let us know!


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