Well, in a surprise to nobody we have a 1 facing a 2. Drafting Ryan Leaf is one of the more iconic bad moments in Chargers history, but people actually forget just how bad it really was when you account for the fact that Bobby Beathard traded up to make the selection crippling the team not just with a bad pick, but by losing out on future picks that might have made up for taking the wrong player. The Titans' cheapshot on Shawne Merriman is similar in that we didn't realize at the time how bad either of these moments really were. Both set the team back years. We wouldn't see a legitimate starting QB until Drew Brees and we still haven't seen a replacement for Merriman's pass rushing.
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(1) On April 18, 1998 the San Diego Chargers selected Ryan Leaf out of Washington State University with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. For the right to select the young quarterback they traded the third overall pick, a future first round pick, a second round pick, and three-time Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf to the Arizona Cardinals. Leaf would go on to have a terrible three year run with the Chargers culminating in a 1-15 season before being cut on March 2, 2001. Ryan Leaf is widely considered the greatest bust in NFL Draft history and that's without even accounting for the price the Chargers paid to move up to select him.
(2) On December 9, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee the San Diego Chargers won in overtime 23-17 in one of the more physical games in recent memory. At one point in the game, Vince Young handed the ball off then ran into Shawne Merriman before flopping on the ground like a soccer player. There was no flag and no ill intent. That didn't stop the Titans from "retaliating." Jeff Fisher coached teams are notoriously dirty and the 2007 Titans were no exception to this rule. David Stewart and Kevin Mawae intentionally took out Merriman's left knee. He would never be the same player he was before and the San Diego Chargers still haven't replaced his production on the field. The lack of a healthy Shawne Merriman went a long way toward preventing San Diego from fielding a championship caliber defense.
Which was worse?
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