10 biggest NFL draft busts in UCLA football history

The UCLA Bruins have produced plenty of Hall of Famers in the first round of the NFL draft, but in football there's a Josh Rosen to every Troy Aikman.
Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen
Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen / David Wallace/The Republic
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1992. Tommy Maddox, QB. 45. Tommy Maddox. . . No. 25 overall. Tommy Maddox, QB. 3. player

Now, we have entered the quarterback portion of this trip down Nightmare Alley. Please fasten your seatbelts as we begin with the story of Tommy Maddox. Maddox was a prolific passer for the Bruins in the early ‘90s, throwing for 2,682 yards in 1990 and 2,505 yards in 1991 but his near 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio should have rang some alarm bells throughout the NFL. 

The Broncos felt comfortable grabbing Maddox late in the first round, but considering that John Elway played for seven more years and won two Super Bowls after the 1992 draft, it was something of a wasted selection. 

Maddox sat on the bench for two years in Denver, besides a four-game stretch in his rookie season in which he went 0-4 with five touchdowns to nine interceptions. In 1994, he was traded to the Rams for a fourth-round pick, which is serious depreciation. 

Maddox spent one year in LA, then a season as a backup in New York, but still hadn’t started a game since his rookie year. So, Maddox left football and became an insurance agent in Dallas. He didn’t get back into the game until the XFL began. Maddox led the Los Angeles Xtreme to the XFL championship and was the league’s MVP in its lone season. 

That performance was good enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers who signed Maddox and used him as a two-season bridge to Ben Roethlisberger. Maddox’s story is an inspirational one and won him Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL in 2002, but as far as Denver is concerned, they completely wasted their first-round pick in 1992.