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Published: March 7, 2016 at 11:28 a.m.
Updated: Dec. 8, 2016 at 08:53 p.m.

Recent Heisman winners who were NFL disappointments

Of the 78 different players who have won the Heisman Trophy, there are more players who never played one NFL game (14) and more players who went undrafted (15) than players who went on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (9).

That mixed bag of results among Heisman winners in the NFL means there are plenty of players who simply did not pan out as a pro. Here is a look at the biggest disappointments among recent Heisman winners in the NFL.

13 Photos Total

  • Johnny Manziel 13

    Damian Strohmeyer/ Associated Press

    Johnny Manziel

    2012 Heisman Trophy winner (Texas A&M) -- The Browns traded up to the No. 22 spot in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to select Manziel. The electric Manziel was expected to breathe life into a stagnant Browns offense. Instead, Manziel's NFL career has featured some wayward on-field moments and ample off-field drama. He spent part of the 2015 offseason in rehab, and followed that up with numerous off-field incidents that finally prompted the Browns to move on.

  • Tim Tebow 12

    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Tim Tebow

    2007 Heisman Trophy winner (Florida) -- The Denver Broncos selected Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Aside from some late-game heroics during the 2011 season, including a game-winning touchdown pass that won a playoff game for the Denver Broncos, Tebow's NFL career was less than impressive. His ability to throw the football in the NFL was the biggest concern, and Tebow couldn't shake that weakness, completing just 47.9 percent of his passes in three seasons in the NFL. He's now pursuing a professional baseball career with the New York Mets.

  • Robert Griffin III 11

    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Robert Griffin III

    2011 Heisman Trophy winner (Baylor) -- The Washington Redskins dealt four high-value draft picks to move up four spots in the 2012 NFL Draft to select RGIII. The early results were outstanding. RGIII led the Redskins to the NFC East crown and their first playoff appearance in five seasons. However, a late-season knee injury was further damaged in the Redskins' playoff loss to the Seahawks. It's been all downhill since. RGIII's 2013 season concluded with his being inactive for the Redskins' final three games. In 2014, his struggles added perceived dysfunction to the team. RGIII didn't play a snap in 2015 as the team turned to QB Kirk Cousins, who led Washington to the playoffs. The Redskins released him after the 2015 season, and he signed with the Browns. He was chosen to start for Cleveland, but suffered a broken bone in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 1. He will return from that injury to start for the Browns on Sunday.

  • Troy Smith 10

    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Troy Smith

    2006 Heisman Trophy winner (Ohio State) -- Smith played in 20 games, starting eight, for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in four seasons in the NFL. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Matt Leinart 9

    Paul Connors/Associated Press

    Matt Leinart

    2004 Heisman Trophy winner (USC) -- In six NFL seasons (playing for the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders), Leinart -- a first-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2006 NFL Draft -- had more interceptions (21) than touchdown passes (15). (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

  • Jason White 8

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Jason White

    2003 Heisman Trophy winner (Oklahoma) -- White's decorated college football career didn't warrant selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, or a priority rookie free-agent signing after the draft. White eventually signed with the Tennessee Titans, but he decided to quit football due to weak knees. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)

  • Eric Crouch 7

    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Eric Crouch

    2001 Heisman Trophy winner (Nebraska) -- Despite playing quarterback for the Cornhuskers, Crouch was seen as a better prospect as a wide receiver in the NFL. Crouch was a third-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 NFL Draft, but he never played a down in a regular-season game. He bounced around multiple teams and leagues, spending time with the Rams, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL, the Hamburg Sea Devils in NFL Europa, the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League and finishing his pro football career with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • Chris Weinke 6

    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Chris Weinke

    2000 Heisman Trophy winner (Florida State) -- Weinke was the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers in 2001, during which the team won the first game of the season and then proceeded to lose 15 consecutive games for a 1-15 finish. Following that season, Weinke was a backup for the Panthers for five more seasons and then the San Francisco 49ers late in 2007 (earning a start in his final NFL game, a Week 17 loss to the Cleveland Browns). (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • Ron Dayne 5

    John Greilick/Associated Press

    Ron Dayne

    1999 Heisman Trophy winner (Wisconsin) -- Dayne played seven seasons in the NFL, including being a part of the New York Giants' run to Super Bowl XXXV following the 2000 season. He scored 28 touchdowns in those seven seasons, averaged 3.8 yards a carry, but never materialized into the workhorse back many envisioned following a magnificent career in Madison. (AP Photo/John Greilick)

  • Danny Wuerffel 4

    Koji Sashara/Associated Press

    Danny Wuerffel

    1996 Heisman Trophy winner (Florida) -- Wuerffel was in the NFL for six seasons as a member of the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. He played in 25 games, made 10 starts, threw for 12 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

  • Gino Torretta 3

    National Football League

    Gino Torretta

    1992 Heisman Trophy winner (Miami) -- Torretta was a seventh-round selection by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1993 NFL Draft. He played in one game for the Vikings in 1993, and then appeared in one more NFL game (for the Seattle Seahawks in 1996) before quickly fading away from the pro game. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

  • Ty Detmer 2

    Keith B. Srakocic/Associated Press

    Ty Detmer

    1990 Heisman Trophy winner (BYU) -- Detmer was a ninth-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 1992 NFL Draft, and then spent the majority of his 14-year NFL career as a backup. He made a total of 26 career starts (including a 1997 wild-card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers). Detmer completed his NFL career with 34 touchdown passes and 35 interceptions. (AP Photo/Keith B. Srakocic)

  • Andre Ware 1

    Lennox McLendon/Associated Press

    Andre Ware

    1989 Heisman Trophy winner (Houston) -- Ware was a first-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1990 NFL Draft, but started just six games for the team. He then bounced around between the NFL (Los Angeles Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars), Canadian Football League (Ottawa Rough Riders and BC Lions) and NFL Europe (Berlin Thunder). He finished his NFL career with five touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He was sacked a whopping 16 times in just three starts with the Lions in 1992. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

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