The NFL draft is a lot of people’s favorite part of the off-season because it gives us a chance to play armchair general manager. Every football fan has that one guy you thought would be the next John Elway (or however).
For me, that is Sam Darnold, and at this point of his career, his most remarkable trait is that he sees ghosts. Some other notable ones (even worse than Sam Darnold) are JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and Johnny Manziel.
Those are the three guys we will cover, and a guy that almost made the list is Jeff Goerge. Jeff squeaked out because he had moments of greatness. Let’s get ready for the roller coaster of draft NFL busts.
Ryan Leaf was picked second overall by the Chargers and was supposed to be the next Dan Flouts. Some draft experts even though he should have been number one. By the way number one was Peyton Manning, so the Colts made the right choice.
One positive fact for Leaf is that he played the longest on the list. However, he only won four games in his three years (he lost 17 games). He has a 48 percent competition rating and threw 22 more interceptions than touchdowns.
The major reason for this bad play was his work ethic and how he saw himself. Right off the bat he thought he was the best player in the locker room and he was not. Also, having everything handed to you is not a good trait when you make it to the NFL.
He has an interesting story and it is worth reading, so if you have time learn about Ryan Leaf. In the meantime, the Chargers would find Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, so there was a greener pasture for the franchise.
Drafted by the Raiders in the first round Russell was known as a guy that could throw 70 yards on his knees. That might be true, but that talent did not cross over to the NFL. He was better than Ryan Leaf but still was far from great.
He did win 7 out of his 18 games, but he barely completed 50 percent of his passes. He also threw 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Might not sound terrible, but this is the 2000’s and not the 1970’s.
In his second year, he did have an alright season, but a lack of will during the off-season made him regress by his third year. Just Like Leaf he had a poor work ethic and blew his chance in the NFL.
He did want to have a comeback, but after all the bad press from the Raiders and press, he never took another NFL snap. He is the best player on this list, but that is a really low bar.
From Texas A&M Heizman winner to the most disappointing player of the 2010’s. He was drafted by the Browns late first round and became another name on the Browns Quarterback list. Johnny only played in 8 NFL games.
Johnny threw 7 touchdowns and 7 picks and completed a respectful 57 percent of his passes. However, unlike the first, Manzeil liked to party, which led to many negative headlines. The Browns gave him chances, but he blew his chance in the NFL.
It didn’t help that during this era of Browns’ football they were a dumpster fire. Johnny tried to get back to the NFL, but even in the CFL and the AAF he played terribly. Long story short is that he never played a down of NFL football again.
Biggest NFL Busts | Conclusion
What’s the difference between players like Peyton Manning, John Elway, and all the HOF quarterbacks? Two words, work ethic and all three, and none had a great one. Rookies play bad, but when you don’t get better it is a bad sign.
In the end, it takes a certain type of human to play at the NFL level. All three of the guys talked about should be happy they made it to the pro level.
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