Given his unimpressive college performance, it’s unclear why Jimmy Clausen was able to have an NFL career. Clausen was selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers.
He was highly unprepared for his rookie year and only managed to make 3 touchdowns and 9 interceptions within a span of ten games. After one year of perpetual struggles on the field, Clausen was replaced by Cam Newton. After being passed onto the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens, Clausen left the NFL in 2015.
David Carr was the first choice for the Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL draft. Carr fumbled the ball 12 times and was sacked 76 times during his rookie year. After a rough start, Carr’s work ethic began to be questioned.
After being sacked a total of 249 times in his five-year career with the Houston Texans, Carr was replaced by Matt Schaub. From there, he was passed along to the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and back again to the New York Giants.
Paxton Lynch was drafted to the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. Scouts turned a blind eye to some of Lynch’s flaws, but they were hard to ignore when he entered the field in his rookie year.
Maybe Lynch had the potential, but it was speculated that he just did not work hard enough. He was with the Broncos for two years and only started for four games in total. He left the Broncos in early 2019 and, after being unable to retain positions on both the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers teams, Lynch is presently a free agent.
NFL scouts took a big chance when they set their sights on Brandon Weeden. Analysts were highly skeptical of scouts recruiting the NFL hopeful who had played a spread offense in college, but Weeden soon became part of the Cleveland Browns.
In Weeden’s very first game as part of the Browns' roster, he finished with a 5.1 passer rating which was the lowest passer rating for any opening game of the season. Unfortunately, he continued to perform poorly in his next games and was eventually replaced by Jason Campbell.
For the 1999 NFL draft, Akili Smith was the third pick for the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith had one impressive year under his belt, which gave coaches hope of him being a tremendous asset to their team, but unfortunately, Smith wasn’t made to last.
Smith didn’t participate in training camp, which greatly hindered any progress he could make. His life off of the field became an even larger hindrance to his fledgling NFL career as he became an excessive partier. In total, he played in 22 games and, in a short four seasons in the NFL, only threw for 5 touchdown passes.