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NFL Quarterback Draft Busts

Let’s talk football.  The draft is taking place this weekend, starting tonight at 7 p.m. and I have to say that it’s one of my favorite times of the year (sportswise, that is). Most people only care about their team and who they draft. To be honest, I don’t care as much about the new players being drafted as I do about the mention of former draft busts.

Furthermore, I appreciate the former quarterback draft busts. Let’s take a gander at ten of the biggest quarterback draft busts in NFL history! Keep in mind that this is only my opinion and are listed from oldest draft class to most recent. Also, I only used quarterback busts from the past 15 years.

Ryan Leaf, Washington State, 1998 (2nd overall)

Considered by many to be the biggest draft bust of all time
Considered by many to be the biggest draft bust of all time. (Getty Images)

Fun fact: The only player taken before Leaf was none other than Peyton Manning. Imagine if the Colts had taken Leaf. Hilarity would have ensued.


Tim Couch, Kentucky, 1999 (1st overall)

Tim Couch
Getty Images

Side note: I honestly wouldn’t consider Couch to be a “bust” as he led the Browns to the playoffs one season. In my opinion, Couch is only labeled as a bust due to his injuries and the fact that he was the first player taken overall in 1999.


Akili Smith, Oregon, 1999 (3rd overall)

Fun fact: Smith was the third quarterback taken (out of three total picks) in the 1999 draft. Couch and Donovan McNabb were taken before him.


Cade McNown, UCLA, 1999 (12th overall)

Fun fact: Five quarterbacks were drafted in the first round in the 1999 draft.


David Carr, Fresno State, 2002 (1st overall)

David Carr
Getty Images

Side note: Similar to Couch, I don’t consider Carr a bust. He was Houston’s first ever draft pick and had a terrible offensive line “protecting” him. He got beat up. He’s also still in the league. Carr is labeled as a bust due to being a first overall draft choice.


Joey Harrington, Oregon, 2002 (3rd overall)

Joey Harrington
Getty Images

Fun fact: Harrington is currently a sports analyst on Fox College Football.


J.P. Losman, Tulane, 2004 (22nd overall)

Fun fact: Three other quarterbacks were taken before Losman in the 2004 draft: Eli Manning (1st overall), Philip Rivers (4th overall), and Ben Roethlisberger (11th overall).


Vince Young, Texas, 2006 (3rd overall)

Side note: I’d only consider Young to be a bust since he’s already out of the league. When he was healthy, he wasn’t a bad quarterback. He also had a bad attitude, which didn’t help his situation.


Matt Leinart, USC, 2006 (10th overall)

Fun fact: Last season, Leinart backed up Carson Palmer in Oakland. Leinart backed up Palmer in college at USC as well.


JaMarcus Russell, LSU, 2007 (1st overall)

JaMarcus Russell
Getty Images

Fun fact: Lane Kiffin (Oakland’s head coach at the time) wanted to draft wide receiver Calvin Johnson. I wonder what Oakland thinks about that decision today.

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