32. Todd Blackledge (1983, Pick #7)
Todd Blackledge is the product of teams being too enamored with the idea of a player being “a winner,” and overlooking his shortcomings in favor of that totally subjective judgment. In 1982, Blackledge led the Penn State Nittany Lions to a national championship, culminating a four-year career in which he went 31-5 as a starter.
The Kansas City Chiefs thought so highly of Blackledge that they made him the seventh pick of the 1983 NFL Draft, ahead of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Even Blackledge himself admitted to being surprised that the Chiefs selected him over some of the other quarterbacks in the draft, and expected to hear his name called somewhere closer to the second round of the draft.
He spent most of his career being pulled in and out of games by the Chiefs coaching staff, never throwing for more than 1,707 yards in a season. After seven forgettable seasons in the NFL, Blackledge retired.
31. Tony Eason (1983, Pick #15)
Another team that infamously passed on Dan Marino in the famed 1983 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots instead took quarterback Tony Eason from the University of Illinois. They took Eason despite the fact that head coach Raymond Berry knew that Eason was too frail to hold up against the brutality of playing quarterback in the NFL (especially in the 1980’s).
He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to start in a Super Bowl (when the Patriots lost to the Chicago Bears in 1986) and not complete a pass in the game. Eason might’ve led the Patriots to a Super Bowl in his third year, but as we all know, Marino rewrote the record books in his second year, leading the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl the year before.