Chargers Draft

LA Chargers: Looking back at each time the team drafted a QB in the first round

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 24: Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers looks to the sideline during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers played on December 24, 2001 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 24: Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers looks to the sideline during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers played on December 24, 2001 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
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4 Oct 1998: Quarterback Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers in action against linebacker Bertrand Berry #57 of the Indianapolis Colts during a game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Chargers 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Vin
4 Oct 1998: Quarterback Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers in action against linebacker Bertrand Berry #57 of the Indianapolis Colts during a game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Chargers 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Vin

1998: Ryan Leaf

While few Chargers fans today remember the selection of Domres, no one can forget this one. Ryan Leaf is considered by some to be the biggest draft bust in league history.

Coming into the 1998 draft, all of the talk was about the top two quarterbacks, Leaf and Peyton Manning. Believe it or not, there was much talk back then about which one should go first.

Manning seemed like the sure thing, having been born and bred to play the quarterback position and follow in the footsteps of his father. But many thought that the physical abilities of Leaf, which included major arm talent.

The Indianapolis Colts had the No.1 pick and opted to take Manning. That was the right pick.

The Chargers came up next and grabbed Leaf and that seemed like the start of something special. The Chargers fell into a talented quarterback who could sling it around and lead the team for years to come.

When you say that didn’t materialize, it would be a major understatement.

Leaf lasted just three seasons in San Diego and it wasn’t just poor play that ushered him out of town. Leaf was plagued by injuries and just wasn’t a good leader. He had locker room tirades and seemed to alienate himself from his teammates.

He ended up being benched in favor of guys like Craig Whelihan and Moses Moreno and by the end of the 2000 season, he was gone. The Chargers gave up on him that quickly.

He got a shot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the Dallas Cowboys and lastly, the Seattle Seahawks. All of those teams threw in the towel even quicker than the Chargers did and by 2002, he was out of the league forever.

For a guy with such great physical ability chosen as the No. 2 overall pick, that is hard to do. Leaf will long be remembered as probably the worst draft pick in Chargers history.

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