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Top 5 Great College Quarterbacks that Sucked in the NFL

Updated on February 5, 2014

Hope for the Best..BUT...

As the NFL draft has passed, once again NFL teams are hoping that they picked up the best college players to straighten their professional teams. As you are on the clock with the first overall pick what player would you pick? In most cases there are mock drafts projecting the best available players in the draft. Here is where the problem comes, in some cases those best players, are not always the best pick. We have seen many instances where the best players in college football turn around and in the NFL they don’t accomplish anything and they fall down and nobody have ever heard of them again. We decided to bring you a list of those top 5 quarterbacks that were simply national champions in college, and also Heisman Trophy winners, but simply couldn’t do it in the NFL.

Ryan Leaf Then..
Ryan Leaf Then..
Ryan Leaf Now...
Ryan Leaf Now...

#5 Ryan Leaf

He was a quarterback for Washington State University. He was considered to be one of the best quarterbacks coming out of the 1998 NFL draft along with the hall of famer to be Peyton Manning. Ryan Leaf was one of the top three Heisman Trophy candidates, but didn't win as Peyton Manning won the award. Leaf took Washington State to their only National Championship game against Michigan in 1997 at the Rose Bowl, but even though he played great they lost 21-16. He won the Offensive PAC 10 Player of the year. He was selected as the third overall pick in 1998 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. In his only four year NFL career he recorded only 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions and a total of 3,666 passing yards. He is really one of the bust quarterbacks that were great in college and didn't do anything in the NFL.

Joey Harrington
Joey Harrington | Source

#4 Joey Harrington

As we all know who Joey Harrington is he unfortunately made our list for quarterbacks that were complete busts in the NFL. He played at the University of Oregon. He recorded over 6,000 passing yards in the three years he played for the ducks. He also recorded 53 touchdowns and only 21 interceptions. He was in the running for the Heisman trophy but came in third place. He was the best quarterback available in the 2002 NFL draft. He got picked 3rd overall by the Detroit Lions. He played a total of 55 games over 4 seasons for the Lions and recorded 18 wins and 37 losses. He recorded 79 touchdowns and 85 interceptions and he was a total bust as he was released by 4 NFL teams and he never played for any other teams except the Lions.

Tim Couch...
Tim Couch... | Source

#3 Tim Couch

Oh boy oh boy here is the number one pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. Couch played at the University of Kentucky and he was simply brilliant in college. He recorded over 8,772 passing yards, 76 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. He also was a Heisman Trophy finalist; first team SEC in 1997, 1998. He also was awarded SEC player of the year for 1998. After he was drafted in the NFL by the Browns in his short 4 year career he only recorded 11,131 passing yards and only 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions. He only won 17 games in his NFL career.

Akili Smith, is one of the worst of all time!
Akili Smith, is one of the worst of all time! | Source

#2 Akili Smith

Talking about the third overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Akili Smith was a player for the University of Oregon. He only played two years for Oregon recording 43 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and totaling 5,000 yards. When he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals he only recorded a total of 2,212 yards and only 5 touchdowns in the span of three years. He is considered one of the worst quarterbacks in the history of the Bengals.

Art Schlichter then
Art Schlichter then
Art Schlichter now
Art Schlichter now

#1 Art Schlichter

He is the worst quarterback that entered the NFL after being great in college. Art played for The Ohio State University. While in college he recorded over 7,500 passing yards and a total of 50 touchdowns. He was the best quarterback to enter the 1982 NFL draft. He was selected by the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts with the third overall pick in the draft. In his only three years NFL career he was able to record only 1,006 passing yards and a total of three touchdowns. This was caused due to his excessive gambling addiction. He was known for spending his money on gambling, and eventually he lost it all and was rumored to have stolen over 1.5 million dollars from friends, and partners. In 2012 Art was sentenced to 11 years in Federal Prison for a ticket scheme that resulted him in getting over 1 million dollars. He is the worst NFL quarterback that entered the NFL after being great in college.


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    • Ty Tayzlor profile image


      4 months ago from Anywhere

      This list could grow every year. There's at least one college star bust that comes out in every draft

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      I would have to have had Todd Marinovich in there somewhere, but a very entertaining article.

    • chefmancave profile image

      Robert Loescher 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Funny how the QB from Ohio State is rated as the worst by someone who lives so close to UofM. (Go Blue!)

      I might have added Andre Ware to your list. Up until Stafford, I would have added every QB the Detroit Lions have drafted in the last 248 years.

    • pmarinov profile imageAUTHOR

      Blogger at Best 

      5 years ago from Detroit MI

      There is more players that were great in college but turned out to be failures in the NFL, but the list is very big lol

    • wvugirl2007 profile image


      5 years ago from Virginia

      This is a very interesting article. I had never heard of these players. It is sad that they were not able to do better in the NFL. The saddest part of all is that a few of them seem to have have gone into the world of crime.


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