The 2010s have provided the National Football League with a plethora of talented quarterbacks capable of winning big games, not to mention Super Bowl championships, for franchises. Men such as Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Cam Newton, Derek Carr and so many others have proven they have the goods to earn Most Valuable Player honors and also guide clubs to perennial postseason berths. While Andrew Luck hasn’t yet matched the high expectations had for him when the Indianapolis Colts selected the QB via the first pick, that probably has more to do with that team failing to surround him with adequate pieces. Luck’s tenure in the NFL, to date, serves as a reminder that a QB, regardless of his talent, can only do so much if his employer fails him on a yearly basis.
For every example of a QB who will be listed among one of the better draft picks of the 2010s, there are those who flopped with teams for one reason or another. Injuries and perceived attitude problems sunk Robert Griffin III after a promising rookie season. Different types of demons prevented Johnny Manziel from saving the Cleveland Browns after the phenom once known as Johnny Football was selected by the club in 2014. Of course, we know what happened to those big names. What about the lesser-known QBs from the 2010s? Did some ever make it in the Canadian Football League or other competitions? Are any still working in the NFL as assistant coaches as of March 2018? We’re glad you asked about these forgotten QBs from the current decade.
15 Christian Ponder - Public Speaker
Former Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder is a player spotlighted in this piece who could truly be considered a bust. The Vikings saw a potential franchise QB in the product out of Florida State, and the club grabbed him with the 12th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Three years later, Minnesota moved on by taking Teddy Bridgewater, largely because Ponder disappointed during the pivotal 2013 season. There was hope, for a time, Ponder could receive a chance to revive his career with the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 campaign.
He didn’t, and he moved to New York City with wife and ESPN personality Sam Ponder in the summer of 2017. He is still a free agent, and he has also accepted taken speaking gigs at events such as one at Liberty University.
14 Colt McCoy - Redskins Backup QB
We decided to throw one forgotten QB from the 2010s who is still in the NFL into the mix here, if only because we didn’t remember Colt McCoy was still in the league as of March 2018. The former Texas Longhorns star signal-caller fell to the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft until the Cleveland Browns acquired him, which proved to be more of a curse than a blessing as it has been for so many QBs over the years. McCoy eventually signed with the Washington Redskins in the spring of 2014, where his status was overshadowed by the drama regarding the statuses of Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.
With Both RG3 and Cousins now gone, McCoy remains a silent backup signed up through the conclusion of the 2018 season. We wouldn’t blame you if you forgot he was still with the Redskins.
13 Jimmy Clausen - QB Coach
Maybe it was because he went to Notre Dame that there was so much hype regarding Jimmy Clausen back in the day, or maybe some analysts, experts and fans truly believed he would be the real deal in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers seemingly hoped so, as the club spent a second-round pick on Clausen in the 2010 NFL Draft. That experiment ended almost as quickly as it began. Carolina possessed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and the franchise selected Cam Newton and never looked back.
Clausen was last seen throwing bombs in “competitive” games as a member of the American Flag Football League in 2017. He has kept busy since then, however, in part by helping Baker Mayfield prepare for the 2018 draft during the current offseason. Any NFL team out there need a QB coach?
12 Tajh Boyd - Head Of Sales For Resort
It doesn’t feel as if it was only four years ago when Clemson product Tajh Boyd was featured on the ESPN program Gruden’s QB Camp. That, evidently, didn’t do a whole lot for Boyd’s draft stock, as he fell all the way down to the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft before the New York Jets took a flier on him.
Boyd never made it with Gang Green before the team released him ahead of the 2014 campaign, and he failed to catch on with the Pittsburgh Steelers the following year. Now out of the league and away from the game, entirely, Boyd heads the sales team for a resort condo complex that is located not far from the Clemson campus. Who says you can’t go home again?
11 Aaron Murray - CBS Sports Network Analyst
Before the New York Jets grabbed the previously mentioned Tajh Boyd, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Missouri QB Aaron Murray in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The hope, at the time, was that Murray would be a steal who could one day be molded into, at worst, a serviceable backup.
That never occurred, though, and Murray bounced around several other teams until the spring of 2017, when the Los Angeles Rams released him. Murray apparently read the writing on the wall after that cut, as he made the move to the broadcast booth the subsequent August when the CBS Sports Network announced that he had joined that team as an analyst. Technically, Murray remains a free agent, so the 27-year-old may not be finished just yet.
10 Brad Sorensen - Football Analyst
There was a brief tease in the summer of 2016 that Brad Sorensen, selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the then-San Diego Chargers, could make a splash in league in 2016 after Minnesota Vikings starter Teddy Bridgewater went down to a devastating knee injury that continues to threaten Bridgewater’s once-promising career. Minnesota then traded for Sam Bradford, and the rest is history.
The acquisition of Bradford made Sorensen surplus to requirements, as the team released the seventh-round pick before the start of the 2016 campaign. Now referred to as a former NFL QB in stories, Sorensen offers insight on the league and college football for outlets such as the Desert News. It’s believed his career is over as of March 2018.
9 Jake Locker - Retired
Former Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker is unquestionably the biggest bust among the forgotten NFL QBs from the 2010s mentioned in this piece. He entered the 2011 NFL Draft with high expectations hovering over him, and the Titans used the eighth pick to take him before inserting him into the starting lineup ahead of the 2012 regular season. That extra year of preparation didn’t make all that much a difference.
By October 2014, he lost his job to Zach Mettenberger, a clear sign the Titans were done with him. He retired in March 2015, explaining, at the time, he no longer had a desire to play the sport at the highest level. It has since been reported he is enjoying a quiet retirement with his wife and children.
8 Tyler Wilson - Real Estate Agent
Tyler Wilson had a solid final college season while leading the offense of the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2012, and he performed well during the week of the 2013 Senior Bowl. Nevertheless, his draft stock fell before the Oakland Raiders took him via a fourth-round pick. He failed to catch on with the Raiders even though it seemed, during the summer months, that he could compete for a roster spot. The Raiders dropped him to the practice squad, and the Tennessee Titans decided to give him a shot during the holiday season.
He failed to find a long-term home with the Titans or the Cincinnati Bengals despite looking the part, which remains somewhat surprising. Wilson has since moved on, and he is now a real estate agent in Little Rock.
7 Ryan Nassib - Free Agent
The New York Giants have a history of stashing backup QBs behind Eli Manning, who was the league’s ironman until former head coach Ben McAdoo benched the two-time Super Bowl champion during the 2017 season in a decision that played a role in the Giants shoving McAdoo out the door. Ryan Nassib, drafted by the Giants in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, was one such QB who never received a realistic chance of taking Manning’s job before the club moved on from him.
Nassib and the Giants parted ways after he suffered an injury in December 2016, and he enjoyed brief stints with the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars. The former Syracuse signal-caller was last seen working out for the Baltimore Ravens in January 2018, but the 28-year-old remains a free agent as of the posting of this piece.
6 Ryan Lindley - Recently Released By CFL Team
Ryan Lindley produced good numbers during his senior year at San Diego State University, but he nevertheless fell to the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft until the Arizona Cardinals stashed him on their roster. He saw action way before he was ready during his rookie season, and it showed in his lackluster play. As a first-year pro, Lindley posted a paltry 46.7 rating, and he matched seven interceptions with zero touchdowns. Eventually, he earned a second stay with the Cardinals, and he tossed a touchdown pass in a playoff loss in January 2015.
That was as close as Lindley would get to winning a starting job in the NFL. He made his way to the CFL, and he was last seen as a backup for the Ottawa Redblacks. Unfortunately, Ottawa released him in March 2018.
5 Greg McElroy - SEC Network Analyst
Grass being green, water being wet, the sun rising in the east and an Alabama quarterback failing to make a name for himself in the NFL. You can set your watch to all of these throughout the 2000s, thus far. In fairness to Greg McElroy, few expected he would become the next Joe Namath when the New York Jets spent a seventh-round pick on him in the 2011 NFL Draft. McElroy wasn’t a complete disaster while with the Jets, but an injury resulted in the end of his time with the club before the start of the 2013 season.
After a stop with the Cincinnati Bengals, McElroy announced his retirement from the game in March 2014. College football fans can now see McElroy working for the SEC Network and other ESPN properties.
4 Jonathan Crompton - Youth Football Camps
We now know that life at the University of Tennessee wasn’t always filled with joy for quarterback Jonathan Crompton, who was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After he bounced around multiple NFL franchises and also the CFL, Crompton admitted in June 2017 that his time at the school left a “bad taste” in his mouth due to the treatment he received during his up-and-down collegiate career.
Crompton silenced critics with a good senior year, but he failed to turn that into a memorable pro career at any level. These days, he can be seen tweeting during college football action. He also makes appearances at youth football camps, including one that took place in Georgia over the second weekend of March 2018.
3 Ricky Stanzi - Third-Sting CFL QB
We’re old enough to remember when some hoped Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi, taken in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, would, with some seasoning, become a starter with the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, he lost his backup job to none other than Cleveland Browns flop Brady Quinn in less than two years, and the Chiefs released him before the start of the 2013 campaign.
The story doesn’t end there, even though Stanzi last had a go in the NFL in 2016. He caught on with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL, and he is the third-string QB for that team as of the winter of 2018. Former fans of Stanzi’s work may not be all that impressed, but give him credit for remaining in the game through his 30th birthday and beyond.
2 Dan LeFevour - Retired
Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour had the size, on paper, to get the job done in the NFL, and the Chicago Bears took him with the 181st overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Size isn’t everything as it pertains to QB play, of course, and LeFevour was little more than a practice squad player while in the league. Like others mentioned in this piece, LeFevour didn’t give up on his dream of playing pro football just because he couldn’t become a starter in the NFL.
He moved up north and entered the CFL via the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2012. His time with Hamiton and the Montreal Alouettes got him noticed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April, but he eventually returned to the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts in August of that year. This past February, the 30-year-old retired as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
1 Mike Kafka - QB Coach For Chiefs
Then-Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid took Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft knowing that the team could stash him in the third spot on the depth chart and work with him. Reid was reportedly high on Kafka’s football intelligence, and it was hoped that, over time, Kafka would figure life out in the NFL and that his physical skills would catch up with his quarterbacking mind. Sometimes, things just don’t work out, and that was the case with Kafka’s playing career.
He became an NFL journeyman after the Eagles released him in August 2012, and he left the league in the spring of 2016 with zero pro touchdowns on his resume. Currently, he is the quarterback coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he works under none other than Andy Reid.