Ryan Leaf (Washington State)
For those of you who think JaMarcus Russell was a disaster, we would like you to meet Ryan Leaf! This “then and now” photo, is all you need to know about former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf. As the poster child for “NFL Draft Busts” it’s impossible to compile a list like this without including Leaf. Why is Leaf considered one of the worst draft busts in NFL history? Well it seems hard to believe now, but prior to the 1998 NFL draft there was a legitimate debated as to whether Leaf or Peyton Manning should be the first overall pick. Many scouts thought Manning was “the safer pick” but favored Leaf’s arm strength and viewed him as the better prospect.
You want your quarterbacks to have confidence, but Leaf was arrogant and believed he was better than everyone and it was painfully obvious. Everyone remembers the (caught-on-camera) incident of him screaming at a reporter in the locker room, and having to be physically restrained by teammate Junior Seau. Less than a year later, Leaf started a screaming match with General Manager Bobby Beathard (the guy who drafted Leaf). At one point, Leaf even approached a heckler in the crowd during Chargers training camp. In 2002, just four years after the Chargers drafted him, Leaf was out of football. Leaf finished his NFL career with miserable totals of 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. If that wasn’t bad enough — future Hall of Famers Charles Woodson and Randy Moss were both available when the Chargers drafted Leaf.