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5 NFL Quaterbacks That Didn’t Pan Out


In a new series Top 5 Tuesday, Sean will take a look at the Top 5 players in certain categories. This week he takes a look at five NFL quarterbacks that could have been special.

When a team drafts a quarterbacks they are drafting them in hopes that they will lead their team to the promise land. They are putting their eggs all in one basket. However, sometimes this does not turn out the way it was suspected and thing go sour.

There are many reasons a teams drafts a quarterback. Some are taken as purely back ups. Some are taken to become the future face of the franchise. Most, however, are taken to make an immediate impact and reinvigorate the franchise they are drafted by. That is not always the case. Lets dive in and see when it was not.

4 Oct 1992: Quarterback Jeff George of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Colts won the game, 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran /Allsport
4 Oct 1992: Quarterback Jeff George of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Colts won the game, 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran /Allsport

5. Jeff George – George was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts before the 1990 season. He lost 35 of his 49 games as a Colt and compiled only 1 winning season, 1992. George would eventually have a falling out with the Colts and they traded him to the Falcons where he would make his first playoff appearance. Jeff George would have a tumultuous career. He ended up playing 12 years with 5 teams, having 2 playoff appearances, and one playoff victory. He would never make a Championship game appearance. A once promising career for a kid out of Illinois just became a long journey through NFL time.

17 Apr 1999: #1 pick Tim Couch of the Cleveland Browns holds up his Browns jersey during the NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport
17 Apr 1999: #1 pick Tim Couch of the Cleveland Browns holds up his Browns jersey during the NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport

4. Tim Couch – In 1999 the Cleveland Browns once again began play in the NFL after being spurned for Baltimore by owner Art Modell. They needed an immediate face of the franchise and Couch was going to be the one. He would take the reigns of the franchise his second game of his rookie campaign and never look back. He would lead the Browns to one playoff appearance in 5 seasons. Couch’s career would be marked by injury and fluctuation in play. He would only play 5 seasons all for Cleveland.

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterback Joey Harrington #3 of the Detroit Lions walks to the sideline after failing to convert on a fourth down against the Denver Broncos on September 28, 2003 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Lions 20-16. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
DENVER – SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterback Joey Harrington #3 of the Detroit Lions walks to the sideline after failing to convert on a fourth down against the Denver Broncos on September 28, 2003 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Lions 20-16. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

3. Joey Harrington – Harrington war drafted by the Lions in 2002. Harrington’s best season was in 2004. He threw for 19 TDs and 12 INTs that year. He led the team to a 4-2 start but then collapsed, along with his career, and finished that season 6-10. Harrington’s career was marred by poor o-line play, mismanaged front office and multiple changes in offensive philosophy. He never really reached his full potential as a pro. He would finish his career with stints in Miami and Atlanta. He would only play 6 years.

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2. David Carr – Carr was drafted in 2002 by the expansion Houston Texans where he would play 5 of his 10 seasons. He would never make the playoffs with the Texans. His career was often plagued by injury. He would Play 5 years outside the Texans organization with the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants. He would win his only Super Bowl as a member of the New York Giants playing backup to Eli Manning.

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03: JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JANUARY 03: JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

1. JaMarcus Russell – Russell was drafted number 1 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2007. A strong armed, mobile quarterback he fit right in with what Al Davis was looking for. However, Russell’s career would never take off. He would only play 3 seasons in Oakland and amass a record of 7-25. He could,, if not already, go down as the worst QB to ever play in the NFL.

So you see, all that glitters is not gold. Quarterbacks come and go. Only the strong can survive in a league that eats the weak. It’s a chance that General Managers have to take. Sometimes only to find out it was fools gold.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]