Worst First-Round Quarterbacks Since 1998
In 1998, the Indianapolis Colts selected Peyton Manning with the first pick of the NFL draft.
That selection turned out to be one of the best ever by any team in any draft.
The San Diego Chargers had the second pick. They chose quarterback Ryan Leaf.
And that selection turned out to be one of the worst picks by any team in any draft.
When a team selects a quarterback in the first round, they are hoping to set the team up for 10 to 15 years. On the other hand, a failed quarterback selection can a team back for five years or more.
Since 1998, several first round quarterbacks have failed. Most are forgotten now, relegated to the scrap heap of NFL history.
None of these players ever led their team to a Super Bowl, and some franchises are still trying to recover from these failed choices.
Here are the worst of the worst.
10. David Carr
David Carr was the first player selected in 2002 with the Texans' first ever draft choice in the hopes of securing the franchise's cornerstone.
Carr was immediately placed behind a horrible offensive line and went on to be sacked an NFL record 76 times during his rookie year. He has a career record as a starter of 23-56.
Despite missing only four games in five years with Houston, the Texans let him go in favor of Matt Schaub.
He has bounced around the NFL since, spending time with Carolina, the Giants and San Francisco.
He was on the Giants roster in 2011, but appeared in no games.
9. Tim Couch
When the Cleveland Browns re-entered the NFL in 1999, they made Tim Couch the first pick in that year's draft.
He did lead the Browns to their only playoff berth since then in 2002, but as his luck would have it he broke a leg in the final regular season game and missed the playoffs.
That would be the beginning of his end in Cleveland, as he would lose his starting job the next year.
Despite workouts with several teams, he never played again in the NFL after that 2003 season.
In a career that only lasted five years he threw more interceptions (67) than touchdown passes (64).
8. Matt Leinart
Following a great collegiate career at USC including winning the Heisman Trophy in 2004, Matt Leinart was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th pick in 2006.
Leinart's career quickly went downhill.
Often criticized for lacking focus, he was replaced by the aging Kurt Warner in 2007.
He has thrown only 15 touchdown passes in his career, and 11 came in his rookie season.
He was a back-up to Matt Schaub in Houston in 2011. When Schaub was injured, Leinart was named the starter. He suffered a fractured collarbone in his first start, knocking him out for the season.
He was released by the Texans in March.
7. J.P. Losman
The great quarterback class of 2004 featured first rounders Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and . . . J.P. Losman.
Losman was selected 22nd by Buffalo.
His career got off to a bad start when he suffered a broken leg in his rookie training camp.
After backing up Drew Bledsoe for a year, he became the starter in 2005. He was benched after five games.
A full-time starter in 2006, he had a career-best 3,051 yards and 19 touchdowns as the Bills were 7-9.
Evidently though the Bills weren't impressed with his development, and drafted Trent Edwards in 2007.
After leaving Buffalo following the 2008 season, he played in one game for Oakland in 2009.
He played in Miami in 2011, completing six passes for 60 yards as Matt Moore's back-up.
6. Patrick Ramsey
A product of Tulane, Ramsey was taken with the last pick of the first round in 2002 by Washington.
Steve Spurrier was the Redskins coach at the time, and even though Spurrier may be a genius at the college level, he failed miserably in the NFL. Drafting Ramsey in the first round was perhaps his biggest failure.
Ramsey never played a full season in his career, and just three years later, the Redskins would use another first round pick on Jason Campbell.
Though he bounced around between a lot of rosters, he has not appeared in an NFL game since 2008 with Denver.
He played in only 37 games in his career, throwing for 5,930 yards, 35 touchdown passes, 30 interceptions and a rating of 74.9.
5. Cade McNown
Cade McNown was drafted by Chicago with the 12th pick in 1999.
To say that his career was forgettable would be an understatement—it only took two years for the Bears to give up on him.
He appeared in 25 games, starting 15, and compiled a 3-12 record as a starter.
His career completion percentage was less than 55, and he was sacked 45 times while only completing 16 touchdown passes.
Although he later spent time on the roster in Miami and San Francisco, he never appeared in an NFL game after leaving Chicago.
4. Brady Quinn
Brady Quinn was drafted by Cleveland with the 22nd pick in 2007.
Unfortunately for him, Derek Anderson had a career year that year for the Browns. Quinn appeared in only one game as a rookie.
Over the next two years he started 12 games, going 3-9.
Despite the fact that he is still in the NFL, having signed with Kansas City this offseason, his career has been a bust.
He has played in only 14 games in five seasons, and none since 2009.
3. Akili Smith
Akili Smith was chosen third in 1999, behind Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb.
Being drafted by the Bengals probably didn't help his career, but even so Smith's NFL statistics were horrible.
In a career that lasted only four years, Smith started 17 games, winning only three.
In 2000, he started 11 games and threw just three touchdown passes.
In his entire career he threw for a grand total of five touchdown passes, but was sacked 59 times and had a career rating of 52.
2. Ryan Leaf
Ryan Leaf has long been the poster-child for bad drafting. He become infamous as the anti-Peyton when the Chargers selected him second behind Manning in 1998.
No two players have ever had more contrasting careers. Though there was debate prior to that draft regarding who was the best player, it is clear that the Chargers drew the short straw.
Leaf actually won his first two games as a starter, and the Chargers won more games than the Colts that year. However, after winning those first two games, Leaf would only win twice more as an NFL starter. His career record as a starter was 4-17.
In his rookie season he threw two touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.
He missed all of his second season before having his "best" season.
In 2000, he played 11 games, throwing 11 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions, while being sacked 31 times.
He last played in the NFL with Dallas in 2001.
His dismal statistics: 14 touchdown passes, 36 interceptions, 3,666 passing yards, sacked 65 times and a career rating of 50.
While most on this list have passed into oblivion, Ryan Leaf continues to make news.
He was recently arrested in Montana on burglary, theft and drug charges.
1. JaMarcus Russell
JaMarcus Russell did what once would have been thought impossible. He was a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf.
He earns the distinction due to the fact that he was the first overall pick of the 2007 draft, going to the Oakland Raiders.
He held out during his rookie camp, and never caught up to the pro game.
It only took three years for the Raiders to give up on him.
In his three years in Oakland, he was 7-18 as a starter. In his final season he totaled three touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.
In his career he threw for 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 4,083 yards and was sacked 70 times.
It's no coincidence that since his release in Oakland, he hasn't been able to catch on with another team.
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