Joey Harrington joined the Detroit Lions in 2002. Unfortunately for Harrington, many factors contributed to his lack of success as a quarterback, including his lack of skills on the field.
Though his fourth season with the Lions was his best, throwing 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, Harrington’s performance quickly declined. Reportedly, the team’s management was also struggling at the time, which didn’t contribute anything positive to Harrington’s career. He was eventually replaced by Jeff Garcia and traded to the Miami Dolphins.
Ryan Leaf was drafted to the (then) San Diego Chargers in 1998. He proved to be quite a handful for the time, throwing five interceptions within two games and supposedly faking a hand injury in order to miss practice.
In his third game of the season, he was even put on the bench and replaced with a backup quarterback. Leaf was not a good fit for the team and reportedly did not get along with both his teammates or the media. His lack of passion and direction in the NFL resulted in a very short career for the young quarterback.
In 1991, Browning Nagle was selected by the New York Jets. What amazes analysts still is that Nagle was selected ahead of the soon-to-be star, Brett Farve. Nagle was on the Jets’ roster for just one season and only started for one game in his entire NFL career.
Nagle was out of the Jets by 1994 and replaced by Boomer Esiason. He then moved onto the Indianapolis Colts and finished his career in 1996 with the Atlanta Falcons. Nagle’s career had to be one of the shortest in NFL history.
There was a lot of expectation surrounding Blain Gabbert when he was drafted to the Jacksonville Cougars in 2011. Gabbert encountered struggles as a rookie on the team and was sacked around 40 times. Gabbert had untapped potential, but it was not seen on the field as many had hoped.
He struggled with numerous injuries in his early years and was eventually traded to the San Francisco 49ers. After 3 seasons with the 49ers, Gabbert then moved on to the Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did earn his first Super Bowl ring but as the backup quarterback.
In 1994, Heath Shuler was drafted to the Washington Redskins. Shuler started for 18 games but was benched by his third year. He was traded to the New Orleans Saints in 1997 and unfortunately continued to give a lackluster performance on the field.
A foot injury kept Shuler from staying with the Saints for a second season, and he then signed with the Oakland Raiders. But his pivot to the Raiders was cut short after he re-injured his foot and was cut from the team. Shuler then decided to retire from the NFL altogether.