Top 20 Quarterback Draft Busts in NFL History

By Doug Tozier
March 23, 2013 10:21 pm
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Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf... picking the franchise quarterback may just be the biggest crap-shoot in sports. Of all the QBs drafted in the NFL, who would have predicted that a No. 1 and a No. 199 would be the greatest of all time (so some would say).

It is the job of coaches and scouts to evaluate talent and find the best of the best from the college ranks. It works out less than half the time. When it does, greatness happens, and when it doesn't, they eat crow; and the fortunes of a franchise rise or fall in the blink of an eye.

I've included 20, first round QBs, who busted despite showing Montana-esque talent or potential. The only other criteria was that they had to be a top 7 pick that year. A few actually had minor success before caving to the pressure. Here's the list:

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By Doug Tozier
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12 months ago
Another bust at QB was Steve Pisarkiewicz, whom the Cardinals drafted in the first round in 1977. HC Don Coryell wanted Robin Cole, but management wanted Steve. Their relationship soured after that.

Also, Marc Wilson and Mark Malone, two guys taken in the first round in 1980 (by Oakland and Pittsburgh, respectively), were major busts.
12 months ago
young was no bust!! get it right.
12 months ago

How was Vince Young NOT a bust? What did he accomplish in his career that was so great??
12 months ago

Yeah, like throwing so many interceptions and trying to run instead of throwing... and then that attitude...
12 months ago
Todd Blackledge from the fabled '83 class deserves a mention too.
12 months ago
Todd Marinovich? Did I miss him or did you?
Thanks for including Vince Young. A pass or two, a couple runs and a defense gets him ROY would have been great story had he grown into an all around Qb.
12 months ago
Thanks for the comments. I could have included nearly a hundred, but the list is only 20! For a high pick like Young was, he failed. I did mention that he had a little success at first, but he dropped in value very quickly after that. He made too many bad decisions, and in this league there is no room for error.
12 months ago
You could have easily made it the top 100. One person I didn't see and thought was a failure was Dan McGuire drafted by the Seahawks.
12 months ago

Even limiting it to the first round would have been a much larger undertaking and list.
12 months ago
JaMarcus Russell is and probably always will be #1 on any list of this type, whether for QBs or for any position. I can't imagine anyone even coming close to being as terrible in every aspect of performance as he was. He gave Al Davis a better screwing than the NFL brass could ever hope for. Oh, by the way you didn't even mention his ability to fumble on almost any possession that he didn't throw an interception on. He was a master at it.
12 months ago
The Browns really messed up on Phipps. When the Bears, who needed a franchise QB at the time, trade down after losing that toss, a red flag should have went off in their head. I know that Bill Nelsen had bad knees, but still, they had to give up Paul Warfield to make that trade.

The team that traded up in that 2 spot, Green Bay, passed on Phipps as well. In addition, the Steelers also would have if they lost that toss. In the book The Super 70's by Tom Danyluk, Art Rooney Jr. basically said that they might have traded out of the 2 pick. They weren't that impressed with Mike.
12 months ago
Andre Ware, Akili Smith made my eyes hurt watching them play...
12 months ago

Funny.

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