Worst NFL Draft Busts: Quarterback
Many of the lists of busts that appear on the internet concentrate on recent disasters because the authors’ memories are short, and they are also based on reputation rather than any objective measurements.
The following list of the biggest quarterback busts since 1970 is based on a combination of draft position, productivity, and the harm the player did to his team.
So what makes a NFL player a bust? By definition, a bust is someone who spectacularly fails to meet high expectations.
Because the highest expectations are placed upon first round draft picks, only first round picks need apply for this list. Most of the dogs in this show were selected in the top ten overall.
10. Jerry Tagge
Selected 11th overall in 1972, Jerry Tagge is the earliest bust on this list, and most commonly forgotten. Certainly most Packer fans have thankfully forgotten his career totals of three touchdown passes against 17 interceptions.
The main reasons he does not rank higher on this list is that he was not a top ten pick and he played in an era when touchdown to interception ratios were lower than they are now.
9. Rick Mirer
An 11-year career in the NFL is long even for a good player, but 68 mediocre career starts is less than the Seahawks were hoping for when they drafted the Notre Dame alumnus second overall in 1993.
On top of underachieving as a starter, Mirer’s statistics are less than impressive. Although he produced 50 touchdown passes, his touchdown to attempt ratio was lower than that of Ryan Leaf.
His career total of 76 interceptions is impressive given his small number of starts.
8. Todd Blackledge
The 1983 draft is remembered for John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino, so why did the Chiefs select Todd Blackledge seventh overall? '
Even missing out on the Hall of Famers, they would have been better off selecting Tony Eason or Ken O’Brien.
Compared to Elway’s 51,475 career passing yards and Marino’s 61,361, Blackledge passed for a grand total of 5,286.
7. Heath Shuler
Selected third overall in 1994, Heath Shuler topped a number of bust quarterback lists until supplanted by more recent entries.
In only 22 career starts, he threw 33 picks and had a completion percentage of less than 50 percent.
After only two years as a part-time starter, he was shunted to the sidelines and eventually out of the league.
However, unlike most of the others on this list, he found success in another field–politics.
6. David Klingler
The Bengals have had a distinguished history of drafting busts, especially quarterbacks.
David Klingler, whom they picked sixth overall in 1992, is one example of a Bengals bust, but not the worst.
In 24 career starts, he boasted a record of 4 wins to 20 losses and threw a mere 16 touchdown passes.
5. Rich Campbell
Another sixth overall pick, Rich Campbell has the distinction of being the only top ten draft pick quarterback to never start a game.
After the Packers took him in the 1981 draft, he produced a grand total of 386 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Luckily for the Packers, their more recent first round quarterback out of Cal has been more successful.
4. Kelly Stouffer
Yet another sixth overall pick quarterback, Kelly Stouffer was taken by the Cardinals in 1987 but never played a down for his original team.
As he refused to sign a contract with the Cards, he was eventually traded to the Seahawks for whom he played for the remainder of his short career.
Often injured, Stouffer produced career totals of 2,333 passing yards and seven touchdown passes.
3. Art Schlichter
Art Schlichter was a human train wreck on a grand scale. Drafted fourth overall by the Colts in 1982, he started a total of six games and lost them all.
On top of being an unproductive quarterback (3 career touchdown passes), he had a severe addiction to gambling.
He was suspended by the league for betting, and even after his football career ended, he continued to get into trouble.
To feed his addiction, he stole money and passed bad checks, ending up in prison.
2. Akili Smith
Bad as David Klingler was, he was not the worst quarterback drafted by the Bengals. That honor belongs to Akili Smith, who was drafted third overall in 1999.
Although Cincinnati gave Smith ample opportunity to develop, allowing him to start at least one game for four seasons, he never produced.
In 17 career starts, he connected for five touchdowns, and completed only 47 percent of his passes.
1. Ryan Leaf
No list of quarterback busts could be complete without Ryan Leaf, who virtually redefined the conception of a bust.
Selected second overall by San Diego in 1998, Leaf combined ineptitude on the field (36 career interceptions in 21 starts and 48 percent completion percentage) with an adversarial attitude toward the media.
The impact of spending such a large amount of money on a guy who did more to hinder than help his team set the Chargers back for seven years.