Ryan Leaf is the biggest NFL Draft bust ever: Fan debate

The NFL Draft is a time to look at a player's potential and to see how they could fit with your team. Sometimes those draft picks go on to successful careers with their team. Sometimes those picks don't pan out…and then sometimes they are Ryan Leaf, the biggest NFL Draft bust ever. If you disagree with me, by all means, post your opinions here at the Yahoo! Sports Grudge Judge case.

The San Diego Chargers had the second overall pick in the 1998 draft, right after the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts took a young quarterback from Tennessee named Peyton Manning(notes), so the Chargers selected a quarterback with a strong arm from Washington State named Ryan Leaf. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20.

Leaf only played two seasons with the Chargers before spending one season with the Dallas Cowboys before he was out of the NFL altogether. During his time in San Diego, Leaf completed only 48% of his passes for 3,172 yards. He compiled a horrific record of 4-14 while he threw 13 touchdowns compared to 33 interceptions. For his career, he completed 48.4% of his passes, threw 14 TD passes and 36 interceptions. Not exactly what you'd expect from a second overall pick.

Not only was Leaf horrible on the field, his off field problems didn't help matters either, namely his locker room blow up and drug issues. No one can predict what will happen with a player, but Leaf took things to a whole new level.

To make matters worse, the Chargers passed on Charles Woodson(notes), Fred Taylor(notes), Randy Moss(notes), Alan Faneca(notes), Matt Hasselbeck(notes), and heck, even Charlie Batch(notes) who was taken at the end of the second round would have been a better option.

Leaf is not the only bust to come out of the NFL Draft. Several players before and after him have done their best to dethrone Leaf as the biggest NFL Draft bust. You can make arguments for other busts such as Blair Thomas, JaMarcus Russell(notes), Tony Mandarich, Tim Couch, or even Todd Blackledge, but Ryan Leaf was easily the biggest NFL Draft bust ever.

REFS:
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/L/LeafRy00.htm

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Updated Friday, Apr 29, 2011