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!