This is a journey into the deep dark abyss of college quarterbacks who dominated Saturdays but failed when it came to Sunday in the NFL. Over the past 12 seasons, ten college quarterbacks have won the Heisman trophy, including Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart, and RGIII.
Winning is an honor that recognizes an athlete as the best of the best as related to college football. Unfortunately this coveted collegiate prize has been somewhat of a curse for quarterbacks; a stigma that says you’re the best in college but not good enough for the NFL. Since 2000, of the nine quarterback Heisman winners, all have gone on to have some interaction with the NFL. Unfortunately for Cam Newton, their track records aren’t in his favor, or are they? Let’s take a look, and you decide.
#9 - 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke, Florida State
Weinke Spent seven years in the NFL from 2000-2007 with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers. His career statistics were 15 TD, 26 interceptions, 3,904 passing yards, and a 62.2 passer rating. For his lack of contributions in the NFL, Chris Weinke was a BUST!
#8 - 2001 Heisman Trophy winner, Eric Crouch, Nebraska
Coming out of college at 5’11 it was thought that Crouch was too small to play NFL quarterback. He was originally drafted by the St Louis Rams as a wide receiver where during his one season with the team he racked up a whopping zero receptions. In 2005 Crouch attempted a comeback signing with the Kansas City Chiefs but was sent to NFL Europe where he played safety. Eric Crouch was a BUST!
#7 - 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, Carson Palmer, USC
To date, Carson Palmer has spent eight seasons in the NFL with the Bengals and a few games with the Oakland Raiders. He has thrown for over 22,000 yards, 154 touchdowns with an 86.9 passer rating. He is the only Bengals quarterback to pass for over 4000 yards in two seasons. His accomplishments make Carson Palmer a BEAST!
#6 – 2003 Heisman Trophy winner, Jason White, Oklahoma
White is the only of our Heisman heroes to go undrafted. He tried out with the Chiefs but the team did not sign him. He again tried out with the Titans and this time he was offered a contract but instead decided to leave the game of football because of his bad knees. Jason White is without a doubt a BUST!
#5 – 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Leinart, USC
Matt, Matt, Matt…To date, Matt Leinart has five years in the NFL with theArizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans. In those five years he has thrown for less than 4,000 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Coming out of college most thought he’d be the next great thing but this guy wasn’t fooled! He proved he wasn’t hungry for the NFL when he opted to return to USC for a final year after back to back Rose Bowl and National Championship victories and a Heisman Trophy. Although his career isn’t over it’s not going anywhere fast and because of that, Matt Leinart is a Big Time BUST!
#4 - 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith, Ohio State
After four years in the league Troy Smith threw eight touchdowns and five interceptions with the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers before signing with Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. The highlight of Troy’s career was a sideline blowup with last season with then 49ers Head Coach, Mike Singletary. Troy Smith was a BUST!
#3 - 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, Florida
Tebow is only entering his third season in the NFL. Tebow led the Broncos into the playoffs and stunned the Steelers but would eventually lose to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After John Elway stated he was going to help Tebow, something better came along and Tebow was traded to the New York Jets. Although the jury is still out on Tebow as to whether or not he can be a successful NFL quarterback, Tebow gets the benefit of the doubt and a PUSH!
#2 – 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
In his rookie season Bradford threw 18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and accumulated just over 3,500 passing yards. Despite his 76.5 passer rating, Fantastic Sam almost led the hapless St. Louis Rams to the playoffs in 2010. Bradford definitely has tremendous upside but has not improved upon his rookie numbers in 2011. Although his time is short, we’ve seen enough of Bradford to classify him as a BEAST!
#1 – 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, Auburn
And then there was one! Fasten you seatbelts this one’s gonna get a little bumpy. With virtually no off-season to prepare due to the lockout, Cam Newton entered the NFL pre-season in a quarterback competition with Jimmy Clausen. Despite his poor statistical pre-season the Panthers decided his time was now, and the keys to the franchise were handed to the rookie. What did Cam do? He broke the rookie record for passing yards in his first game. He also broke the NFL record for rushing touchdowns as a quarterback.
Of the previous eight quarterbacks, all were Heisman winners, but only two, were the number one overall pick in their respective NFL Drafts. They were, Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer; two of the three beasts on this list.