Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Drafting by the numbers

The NFL Draft is four days away, and everyone is busy with their mock drafts. This prompted me to look back at the first rounds of years past and see what number pick in the first round has produced the worthiest crop of players, relative of course to where they were picked. In other words, a No. 25 pick who becomes a regular All-Pro is better value than someone picked No. 1 who goes on to similar honors. I went through the drafts since 1995, which was the first year in which at least 30 players were drafted in Round 1.

#1 overall pick
Best picks: Orlando Pace, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer
Worst picks: Ki-Jana Carter, Tim Couch, Courtney Brown

#2 overall pick
Best picks: Tony Boselli, Donovan McNabb, Julius Peppers
Worst picks: Darrell Russell, Ryan Leaf, Charles Rogers

#3 overall pick
Best picks: Steve McNair, Simeon Rice, Larry Fitzgerald
Worst picks: Andre Wadsworth, Akili Smith, Gerard Warren, Joey Harrington

#4 overall pick
Best picks: Jonathan Ogden, Charles Woodson, Edgerrin James
Worst picks: Justin Smith, Mike Williams

#5 overall pick
Best picks: Jamal Lewis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Sean Taylor
Worst picks: Cedric Jones, Curtis Enis, Quentin Jammer

#6 overall pick
Best picks: Walter Jones, Grant Wistrom, Torry Holt, Richard Seymour
Worst picks: Lawrence Phillips, Ryan Sims, Kellen Winslow, Pacman Jones

#7 overall pick
Best picks: Terry Glenn, Champ Bailey, Byron Leftwich
Worst picks: Mike Mamula, Andre Carter, Troy Williamson

#8 overall pick
Best picks: Joey Galloway, James Farrior, Roy Williams (Dallas S), Jordan Gross
Worst picks: Tim Biakabutuka, David Terrell

#9 overall pick
Best picks: Fred Taylor, Brian Urlacher, Kevin Williams
Worst picks: Tommy Knight, Koren Robinson

#10 overall pick
Best picks: Willie Anderson, Chris McAlister
Worst picks: Travis Taylor, Jamal Reynolds

#11 overall pick
Best picks: Tra Thomas, Daunte Culpepper, Dwight Freeney, Ben Roethlisberger
Worst picks: Derrick Alexander (Minnesota DE), Michael Booker, Ron Dayne

#12 overall pick
Best picks: Warren Sapp, Warrick Dunn, Keith Brooking, Shaun Ellis, Jonathan Vilma, Shawne Merriman
Worst picks: Cade McNown, Damione Lewis, Wendell Bryant

#13 overall pick
Best picks: Tony Gonzalez, Takeo Spikes, John Abraham
Worst pick: Troy Edwards

#14 overall pick
Best picks: Eddie George, Bubba Franks
Worst picks: Jason Peter, Michael Haynes

#15 overall pick
Best picks: John Mobley, Anthony McFarland
Worst picks: Yatil Green, Rod Gardner, Jerome McDougle

#16 overall pick
Best picks: Hugh Douglas, Kevin Dyson, Jevon Kearse, Julian Peterson, Santana Moss, Troy Polamalu
Worst picks: Duane Clemons, Reidel Anthony, William Green

#17 overall pick
Best picks: Brian Simmons, Steve Hutchinson, D.J. Williams
Worst picks: Tyrone Wheatley, Sebastian Janikowski, Philip Buchanon

#18 overall pick
Best pick: Chad Pennington
Worst picks: Napoleon Kaufman, Robert Edwards, Calvin Pace

#19 overall pick
Best picks: Marvin Harrison, Tarik Glenn, Shaun Alexander, Casey Hampton
Worst pick: James Stewart, Kyle Boller

#20 overall pick
Best picks: Javon Walker, Marcus Spears
Worst picks: Dwayne Rudd, Terry Fair, Ebenezer Ekuban

#21 overall pick
Best picks: Randy Moss, Nate Clements,
Worst picks: Rashaan Salaam, Sylvester Morris

#22 overall pick
Best picks: Tyrone Poole, Bryan Thomas
Worst picks: Marcus Jones, Lamar King, Chris McIntosh

#23 overall pick
Best picks: Ty Law, Jeff Hartings, Antoine Winfield, Deuce McAllister
Worst picks: Rashard Anderson

#24 overall pick
Best picks: Eric Moulds, Ed Reed
Worst picks: Reggie McGrew, Willie Middlebrooks

#25 overall pick
Best picks: Donovan Darius, Chris Hovan
Worst picks: Billy Milner, Jon Harris, Antuan Edwards, Freddie Mitchell

#26 overall pick
Best picks: Ray Lewis, Alan Faneca
Worst picks: Jim Druckenmiller, Erik Flowers, Jamar Fletcher

#27 overall pick
Best pick: Larry Johnson
Worst picks: John Michels, Rae Carruth, Mike Rumph

#28 overall pick
Best picks: Derrick Brooks, Trevor Pryce, Chris Gamble
Worst picks: Andy Katzenmoyer

#29 overall pick
Best pick: Ryan Pickett
Worst picks: Jamain Stephens, John Avery, Dimitrius Underwood, R. Jay Soward

#30 overall pick
Best picks: Keith Bulluck, Reggie Wayne, Kevin Jones, Heath Miller
Worst picks: Craig Powell, Marcus Nash

So where have been the best and worst for the value?
Looking deep in the draft, #19 looks especially fruitful with Alexander and Harrison, two perennial MVP candidates. #16 and #23 have produced some solid players and few outright busts. And #30 has been promising in recent years with Wayne, Jones and Miller. On the flip side, picks 22, 25 and 29 haven't produced a real gem and have had their share of busts.

Near the top, it's more of a mixed bag. For every truly great player there is an equally big bust, with picks 12 and 13 having the best overall performance. Nothing in the top 10 has been especially fertile.

That speaks to two things: 1) The top 10 often includes several "workout warriors," who put on a great show at the scouting combines but don't have the ability to translate skills to the field; and 2) Teams have reached for need high in the draft, particularly when there are a multitude of good players at one position. That has been proven with the likes of Tom Knight, Travis Taylor, Troy Edwards and Jamal Reynolds, all of whom were in a pack of several players at the same position drafted high.

We'll see what happens this year.



Blogger Dave Jackson said...

The next post will look at which teams have done the best and worst in the first round over the past 10 years.

5:17 PM  

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