College Players Who Failed in the NFL Quiz



By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

For every Tom Brady, Matt Ryan or Peyton Manning, there’s a college standout who just couldn’t cut it in the pros. It’s well known that college success doesn’t necessarily translate into Super Bowl rings. It’s a particularly tough transition for quarterbacks, as some college programs focus more on the run game, so when they graduate to pro ball the pass pressure is turned way up. Then there’s the fact that the QB is left staring down the behemoth creme de la creme of defensive players, making it easy to see why only the strongest survive.

Sometimes, however, just the opposite phenomenon happens. Tom Brady is perhaps one of the best known examples of a college player who flew in under the radar and shocked everyone in the NFL with his consistent, stellar performances. A QB at the University of Michigan with a steady, winning record, Brady was nonetheless the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft. It wasn’t that the scouts thought he lacked talent, however. They simply didn’t notice him. His performance at the NFL combine (where all prospective picks work out, run drills and otherwise try to knock the socks off of potential teams) was underwhelming. Brady, at 6 feet, 5 inches, was tall, but skinny. And his time at Michigan didn’t exactly showcase his incredible passing arm. Of course, you probably know him as the player widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time today, but back then he seemed like a Hail Mary pass if there ever was one. Guess he showed them!

Although Brady uses his NFL time to shine, plenty of other players don’t. Johnny Manziel (also known as “Johnny Football”) was a much-hyped Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Texas A&M who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round. His hard-partying ways and other questionable decision-making ultimately led him to underperform and get cut by the team. He currently plays for the Canadian Football League (CFL). He’s hardly the only player in that boat however. How much do you know about NFL draft busts over the years? Take this quiz to show your skills!

In the 1983 draft, quarterback Todd Blackledge was selected ahead of which player?

Blackledge was the seventh pick of the draft, selected well ahead of 27th pick Dan Marino. Blackledge played with the Chiefs and Steelers but never lived up to expectations.


Defensive end Vernon Gholston was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft. How many sacks did he record during his career?

Experts thought Gholston would be a defensive monster, but he wound up starting only five games and never had a single sack.


During the 1994 draft, quarterback Heath Shuler was selected with which pick?

Shuler was the third pick overall, taken by the Washington Redskins. He was touted as the downtrodden team's potential savior. He lasted only three seasons.


After a lackluster three-year NFL career, what did Heath Shuler do with his life?

He ran for Congress and was elected three times. He gave up politics to become a lobbyist for the energy industry.


For which college team did wide receiver Charles Rogers play?

Rogers was an all-American receiver for Michigan State. Coming out of college, some draft experts saw him as the second coming of Randy Moss. He wasn't.


Which widely reported problem contributed to the downfall of wide receiver Charles Rogers?

In part to cope with the pain of his playing injuries, Rogers used substances like Vicodin, marijuana and alcohol. His repeated violations of league drug policy meant the end of his playing days.


In the 1989 draft, offensive tackle Tony Mandarich was selected one pick before which notable player?

Mandarich was the second pick, just after Aikman and just before a guy named Barry Sanders. Of the first five picks that year, Mandarich is the only one who didn't make it to the Hall of Fame.


What was Tony Mandarich's football nickname?

He was "The Incredible Bulk" because he was such a huge, muscular player. There were rampant rumors that he was a prolific steroid user.


After being cut by the Green Bay Packers, what did Tony Mandarich do?

Years of substance abuse caught up to him and he wound up in rehab. He eventually admitted to using steroids to pump up his huge body.


In the 1998 draft, quarterback Ryan Leaf was selected with which pick?

The San Diego Chargers took Leaf with the second pick. The No. 1 pick that year? A Hall of Fame quarterback named Peyton Manning.


How many touchdown passes did Ryan Leaf throw during his four-year NFL career?

He played for the Chargers and Cowboys and threw 14 touchdown passes. His poor decision making (both on the field and off) led to the early demise of his playing days.


After being arrested for burglary, drug and theft charges, Ryan Leaf was sentenced to how many years in prison?

Leaf has had widely publicized substance abuse issues that ended with multiple arrests. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in Montana but was released early.


Before becoming the seventh overall pick of the 1990 draft, how many NCAA records did quarterback Andre Ware set in 1989?

Ware set 26 records as part of the University of Houston's high-speed offense. He also won the Heisman Trophy.


How many touchdown passes did Andre Ware throw during his NFL career?

Ware just couldn't succeed in the NFL, where he threw only five touchdown passes before giving up on the league in 1995.


After being selected as the No. 2 pick in the 1990 draft, for how many teams did running back Blair Thomas play?

He played for five teams in seven seasons. In four years with the New York Jets, he scored only five touchdowns.


Which team selected quarterback JaMarcus Russell as the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft?

The Raiders figured that Russell was a franchise quarterback worth a nearly $70 million contract. He wound up playing three seasons, with a 7-18 record.


After a standout career in college, why did quarterback JaMarcus Russell fail in the NFL?

Russell was considered an immensely talented player who simply didn't want to put in the work to make it in the NFL. He reportedly offered to play for free in 2016 as part of a comeback attempt, but no team was interested.


Which team used the first overall pick of the 1992 draft to select Steve Emtman?

The Colts used the first pick to nab Emtman, who left college early for the NFL. In six seasons, he played just 50 games because of continual injury problems.


How many seasons did linebacker Brian Bosworth play in the NFL?

Bosworth had a loud personality that he couldn't back up on the field. He played for only three seasons.


After he was drafted, why did Brian Bosworth sue the NFL?

He wanted to wear his college number (44), but NFL linebackers weren't allowed to wear that particular number. So he sued and lost.


In the 2009 draft, Aaron Curry was considered the best player at which position?

Seattle selected Curry with the fourth overall pick — he was thought to be the best linebacker in the entire draft. He played only 48 games and recorded 5.5 sacks.


Which problem prevented quarterback Art Schlichter from succeeding in the NFL?

Schlichter was the fourth overall pick of the 1982 draft, but he loved gambling. He also loved fraud and in 2012 was sentenced to 10 years in prison.


Before being selected in the 1999 draft, quarterback Akili Smith played for which university?

Smith was a standout player for Oregon. He bounced from three NFL teams before getting run out of the league for subpar performance.


Akili Smith was selected ahead of which player?

Couch and McNabb were selected just before Smith, the third overall pick. Notable men selected after Smith include Champ Bailey, Daunte Culpepper, Jevon Kearse and Peerless Price.


Quarterback Tim Couch was the No. 1 draft pick in which year?

Cleveland selected Couch as the No. 1 pick in 1999. He played five subpar seasons and is now a sports analyst for Fox.


The Cleveland Browns selected defensive end Courtney Brown with which pick of the 2000 draft?

Brown was the No. 1 pick of the 2000 draft. He was actually fairly productive his rookie year but then tanked.


What problem contributed to the end of defensive end Courtney Brown's NFL career?

Brown was injured during his second season and never really got healthy again. He retired after the 2005 season.


After being selected as the No. 1 pick in 2002, how many times was quarterback David Carr sacked in his rookie year?

Carr started 16 games his first year and was sacked 76 times. Houston's poor offensive line couldn't protect their star quarterback.


How many seasons did Derek Carr play in the NFL?

In spite of his mediocre performance, Carr lasted for 11 seasons. His most productive year was 2004, when he threw for 16 touchdowns.


Which team selected quarterback Rick Mirer at the No. 2 position in the 1993 draft?

Mirer had a celebrated college career at Notre Dame and was picked by Seattle. His career lasted for 12 seasons, but he scored only 50 touchdowns.


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