Pick Six  

 

Alt Ranks: Most spectacular USC QBs in NFL history


This has been a big week or couple of weeks for former USC quarterbacks.

Matt Barkley had a smashing Pro Day at USC on Wednesday and he might have strengthened his position as the No. 2 quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft behind Geno Smith, depending on who you talk to.

Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders appear headed for a divorce and a new team might be on the horizon. Oh, and the name of that team rhymes with Arizona Cardinals. However, he might want to play backup for a winner.

And even Pat Haden (seriously, he played quarterback) is in the news because USC will seek a new basketball coach. News which came to the surprise of many alumni who learned USC has a basketball team.

What's weird, though, is with the rich football tradition of USC football, it doesn't have a lot of quarterback success stories.

So with that in mind, the Alt Ranks will look at the most spectacular USC quarterbacks in the NFL of all time. And realize spectacular can have different meanings. So give it a moment and it will all sink in for you. And when you figure it out, we can go into the comment section to make fun of those users who don't get it and ask why Carson Palmer isn't No. 1.

And without further ado ...

  • John David Booty

    Booty arrived at USC early, with the intention of being the next great Trojans quarterback as he followed in the footsteps of Palmer. And then he sat behind Matt Leinart for three years. When Booty finally reached the NFL (he was a fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings), his claim to fame was giving up his No. 4 jersey to Brett Favre. That's good enough for No. 6 on this list.

  • Pat Haden

    The current athletic director at USC was a seventh-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams (thanks to playing in the World Football League and going to Oxford University under his Rhodes Scholarship). Haden pushed James Harris (while he was the NFC's leading passer in 1976), Ron Jaworski and Vince Ferragamo out of starting gigs, while keeping the Rams from reaching the Super Bowl. The L.A. Rams' lone Super Bowl appearance came when Haden broke his finger and was replaced by Ferragamo.

  • Rob Johnson

    Johnson didn't carry the high expectations of some other USC quarterbacks as a fourth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. But Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips set him up when he started Johnson over Doug Flutie in the 1999 AFC playoffs. It's hard to fault Johnson for the Bills' failure in that game because of the "Music City Miracle." Actually, it's not as hard as you think to blame Johnson, who did nothing in that game.

  • Mark Sanchez

    Consider me the last of the Sanchez defenders in the world. But has there been anything more spectacular than Sanchez's fumble in the closing minutes against the Tennessee Titans in Week 15? Oh that's right, there was the "butt fumble." I still might have faith Sanchez could work his way off this list, but he's firmly entrenched right now because of his high draft position.

  • Matt Leinart

    Many believed Leinart would have been the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. But he waited a year and to be honest, it probably cost him the top spot on this list, too. Leinart was still the No. 10 overall selection by the Arizona Cardinals and he failed to deliver as the savior of that franchise. Now he's even failed as a backup for the Oakland Raiders, too, having been pushed (get it?) out by Terrelle Pryor.

  • Todd Marinovich

    The hype machine started very early for Marinovich, who appeared in Sports Illustrated during high school. Marinovich had a controversial career at USC and then was selected with the 24th overall selection by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991 (yes, the same year Brett Favre was drafted). Even by Raiders standards, Marinovich's off-the-field behavior was erratic and he never recovered. And when it comes to spectacular NFL careers by USC quarterbacks, nobody can match Marinovich.

 

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