When a quarterback is selected in the NFL Draft, especially in the first round, they usually come with high expectations. Teams often use their first-round draft picks on a quarterback with the idea that they will build their futures around them. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way for the organization. Here are five of the biggest quarterback busts in Draft history.
NFL Draft history's biggest busts at the QB position
#5 - Cade McNown, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears are one of the most legendary of all NFL franchises of all time, but they haven't exactly been known for having elite quarterbacks. In the 1999 NFL Draft, they believed they finally found the right opportunity to acquire a franchise quarterback when they selected Cade McNown with the 12th overall pick.
It didn't work out that way for the highly-rated prospect from UCLA, as he lasted just two seasons with the Bears. He recorded just a 3-12 record as a starting quarterback while completing fewer than 55 percent of his passes. McNown was released by Chicago after just two years and never started another game in his NFL career.
#4 - Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel earned his nickname Johnny Football while attending Texas A&M, where he played his college football. He was known for an electrifying style of play on the field and a polarizing personality off of it. He had an arrogance about him that worked while successful at the college level but probably hurt him in the pros.
Manziel lasted just two years with the Cleveland Browns after being selected with the 22nd overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. He started just eight games and put together a disappointing 2-6 record while never living up to the hype he created around himself.
Biggest busts at the QB position in NFL Draft history
#3 - Akili Smith, Cincinnati Bengals
Akili Smith was an exciting quarterback prospect at the University of Oregon. The Cincinnati Bengals selected him with the third overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft and thought they were getting the future out of their franchise, but Smith failed to live up to his high expectations.
Akili Smith survived just four years in the NFL, where he would start 17 total games. He posted an ugly 3-15 overall record with a disappointing five touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
#2 - JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders
JaMarcus Russell came out of LSU with many red flags surrounding his work ethic and commitment to football. The Oakland Raiders decided to ignore them all and selected Russell with the first overall pick of the 1999 NFL Draft, which turned out to be a huge mistake.
After holding out for a more significant contract as a rookie before ever arriving on the team, he appeared in just one game and threw four interceptions. He was infamously difficult with the coaching staff and was much more of a distraction than an asset as he routinely showed up unprepared to play football. He lasted just 25 total games in his career and threw 23 interceptions.
#1 - Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers
Ryan Leaf was selected by the San Diego Chargers as the second overall pick in the 1998 Draft out of Washington State University. The Chargers gave up two first-round picks and a second-rounder to draft him, as he was considered one of the highest-rated quarterback prospects ever.
Many draft experts believed the Indianapolis Colts made a mistake by selecting Peyton Manning before Ryan Leaf, but they would all be completely wrong about that. Manning went on to win five NFL MVP awards and two Super Bowl rings, while Leaf was an epic bust, recording a 4-14 overall record with a massive 36 interceptions and just 14 touchdowns.