In fairness to football teams and the people making personnel decisions, the quarterback position can be difficult to assess. A quarterback has to be a good athlete, but they also have to make smart decisions in a very short period of time. In addition, they must be competitive and have certain intangibles that can be difficult to measure until the player actually takes the field at the professional level. Throughout NFL history, there have been a number of quarterbacks that have not transitioned well to the pro game or have struggled along before they were mercifully released. With that in mind, here are a few of the worst signal callers in NFL history.
Quarterback Ryan Leaf has become the poster child for the draft “bust.” It is humorous now to remember that there was debate as to whether Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf should be the first pick of the draft. Leaf had the physical tools to be a good quarterback, but his attitude left something to be desired. After three years, the San Diego Chargers decided they had seen enough. Leaf briefly played with the Cowboys the following year, but then left the NFL for good.
Some people become enamored with athletes who have great physical prowess. JaMarcus Russell was obviously tantalizing to the Oakland Raiders, as he was big, strong, and capable of throwing the deep ball down the field. Unfortunately, JaMarcus did not prove to be a hard worker or a good decision-maker. The Raiders paid him $39 million over three seasons and then finally realized that Russell was not going to work out.
Mirer is another example of a high draft pick that simply did not live up to the hype. In Mirer’s defense, he was drafted by a bad Seahawks team, but unfortunately he did not improve the situation through his play. Mirer did start out with a good rookie season, but his play quickly deteriorated as he seemed to get worse every year. Rick bounced around the league for a few years, playing for Seattle, Chicago, Green Bay, San Francisco, Oakland, and the New York Jets. Finally, there were no employers and Rick Mirer ended his disappointing career.
Honorable mention: Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Heath Shuler, Andre Ware, Todd Marinovich