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The title of this slide should be, "The Biggest Trainwreck in NFL History". While hindsight is always 20/20, I'm hoping that as you read this you can pick out the big mistakes the Chargers made in selecting Ryan Leaf second overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, other than the obvious mistake of actually selecting him.
Chargers general manager Bobby Beathard gave up a king's ransom in order to move up one spot from third pick to the second pick in order to draft Ryan Leaf. The Chargers traded two first-round draft picks, a second-round draft pick, and four-time Pro Bowl running back Eric Metcalf to the Arizona Cardinals.
That should go down as the ultimate bonehead draft day trade of all-time.
Granted many scouts and analysts were touting Leaf as the next best thing in football because of his arm, however he lacked the one thing Peyton Manning had, maturity.
The Chargers would then give Leaf a four-year contract worth $31.25 million with $11.25 million of that as a signing bonus. Essentially, that money was guaranteed to Leaf. At that time it was the largest signing bonus ever given to a rookie (bonehead mistake #2).
Leaf became the starting quarterback in his rookie season, however he was benched after throwing 13 interceptions to two touchdowns in nine games.
Let's not forget his wonderful outbursts when it came to the media and fans.
All in all his career with the Chargers was incredibly brief and he finally retired in 2002.
That may have been the best thing he did throughout his entire NFL career.