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.
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.
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.
Todd Blackledge was yet another quarterback that fizzled out early on in their career. He was drafted to the Washington Redskins in 1983 and played with them for five seasons. Blackledge may have been picked before players like Dan Marino, but he sadly didn’t live up to the draft hype.
Blackledge did not make a name for himself within the five years he was on the Redskins' team. He moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but only for two seasons as a backup quarterback before he retired from the NFL altogether.
Jamarcus Russell was a quarterback with a lot of potential but poor execution. Praised for the strength of his throw, Russell was drafted to the Oakland Raiders in 2007. Despite being the starting quarterback for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Russell was lacking the work ethic needed to take his rookie career to the level of stardom it could have been.
He was with the Raiders for three seasons before leaving the NFL altogether. Analysts and commentators were disappointed with the talented player who had more potential than he was willing to pursue.