With it looking increasingly likely that JaMarcus Russell will be cut by the Raiders before the season begins (and possibly much sooner), I thought we might pass the time by getting a head start on the inevitable debate: Is Russell or Ryan Leaf the biggest draft bust of all time? Even if Russell stays on the team, he'll be buried on the depth chart and, barring injury to others, has almost certainly thrown his last pass in the NFL. So, before you ask, I don't think this comparison is premature.
Without further ado....let's trek into the quick 'n dirty stats of two of the sorriest QBs of all time.
Ryan Leaf - Drafted #2 overall by the San Diego Chargers in 1998
Games played: 25
Games started: 21
Completion percentage: 48.4
Career yards: 3,666
Yards per attempt: 5.6
Average yards per game: 146.6
Lifetime passer rating: 50.0
Bust "intangibles": Volatile personality that alienated both teammates and local media, injury prone
JaMarcus Russell - Drafted #1 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2007
Games played: 31
Games started: 25
Completion percentage: 52.1
Career yards: 4,083
Yards per attempt: 6.0
Yards per game: 131.7
Lifetime passer rating: 65.2
Bust "intangibles": Below zero work ethic in either weight room or film room, refused to take ownership of his poor performances
Verdict: Though it's like trying to pick between two giant piles of manure, I think that Ryan Leaf must retain his title as the biggest draft bust of all time. Why?
1) Russell lasted longer, playing in and starting more games.
2) Russell managed to put up a better passer rating, completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio
3) Russell managed a somewhat better winning percentage
4) The Chargers actually moved up in the draft for Leaf, forcing them to trade away some valuable assets
So...congratulations JaMarcus! Once you're officially consigned to the dustbin of NFL history, you'll at least be able to take some comfort in knowing you're only the second biggest draft bust of all time!