Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Apr 2007

Best Picks Ever by Team

Continuing our coverage of the draft on FOX is my piece on the best draft picks by each team. This link is to the AFC version; you can access the NFC side here.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 23 Apr 2007

72 comments, Last at 28 Apr 2007, 6:49pm by Jim G

Comments

1
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:08pm

Hate to break it to you, but Pritchet and Favre were drafted after Bruce Pickens in 1991, not after Deion. Plus, how is Pickens not the worst pick - 3rd overall? The guy was a total bum.

2
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:17pm

And how does Bart Starr get passed over (200 pick overall) for best value for GB. It was Title Town USA prior to Favre's arrival.

3
by Mark (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:24pm

Freddie Mitchell was loud, but he at least had the fourth-and-23 catch.

4th and 23!

The terrorists have won.

4
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:26pm

Ok, I guess this is a monologue, but Joey Browner at 19 trumps Alan Page at 15? Huh?

And Fisk trumps 9th rounder Scott Studwell? Studwell was a perennial starter for the Vikes.

5
by D (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:47pm

Was this only suppose to represent players taken in the post-merger era?

6
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:48pm

It's 4th and 26.

7
by anon (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 3:56pm

How is Robert Edwards worse than Chris Canty?

8
by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:01pm

I should note that yes, this was post-merger only.

9
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:04pm

John Lynch was certaintly a very good value selection in round 3 (of course so was Ronde Barber) but if you are really going for deep value (which seems apparent in some of the other picks), how can Dave Logan not be the call.

Logan was a 12th round pick in 1979 and started 100+ games for the Bucs at NT in the 3-4. He's fourth all-time behind Selmon, Sapp, and Rice in sacks (38.5). That's a pretty big number for a 3-4 NT.

10
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:06pm

Then I retract part of 4, and all of number 2.

11
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:15pm

I'll chime in with another mistake: In discussing the Bears, the article states that Rashaan "Salaam's failure begat the decision to take [Curtis] Enis, whose failure begat the decision to take [Anthony] Thomas, whose failure begat the decision to take Cedric Benson, which would theoretically figure that Rashaan Salaam cost the Bears four first round picks." Actually, Anthony Thomas was not a first round pick. He was a second round pick in 2001, after the Bears wasted their first round pick on David Terrell.

Thomas was very good his rookie year. Incredibly, he was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2001, beating out LaDainian Tomlinson.

12
by matt (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:19pm

i love the lions...my favorite part of the story is that the saints' best pick is willie roaf, chosen #8 in 1993 with a pick received from...wait for it, detroit. in exchange for...pat swilling. who lasted two years in detroit. they even unretired 9-time pro bowler joe schmidt's number for him!

yecch.

13
by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:24pm

Anthony Thomas was not even close to the Bear's worst pick ever. He was a very good running back for 1 year and serviceable for another 2. He also saved some woman's life by pulling her out of a burning car.

14
by Screaming Headless Torso (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:42pm

I'll have to disagree on the 9ers one. Yeah, Rice is the best WR ever, but Joe Cool is arguably the best QB ever, and QB>WR in my book. Additionally, Joe was taken in the 3rd round rather than the first, which I think adds something to the drafting skill of it all.

15
by Mark (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:42pm

Re: Kevin Allen (Eagles worst pick)

Either you're being kind because of liability or maybe folks don't remember what prompted his early departure from polite society.

FO article containing the details

16
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 4:42pm

Anthony Thomas wasn't listed as the Bears' worst draft pick. He was merely listed in a discussion of Curtis Enis and why he was the worst draft pick. As part of the discussion, the article mentioned how Rashaan Salaam's failure forced the Bears to draft several other running backs over the years, including Enis and Thomas.

17
by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 5:13pm

Chad Clifton was taken in the second round. But that is nitpicking a very entertaining article.

18
by A Washington Redskins Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 5:21pm

What are these "draft pick" things of which you speak?

19
by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 5:25pm

From the article "I was trying to decide between Enis, Rashaan Salaam, Cade McNown, David "BD" Terrell, and Anthony Thomas"

Thus he concluded that Anthony Thomas was near one of the worst draft picks the Bears have ever had. Despite being better than all those other players and having been drafted later.

20
by bowman (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 5:32pm

Houston's worst draft pick (by a mile) is Tony Boselli.

21
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 5:36pm

I love the explanation on Ryan Leaf's qualification as San Deigo's biggest bust, "Ryan Leaf requires no such introduction." Although, I think the selection of Robert Edwards as worst Patriots pick is unfair, his injury was completely unpredictable, and he had a solid first year before hand. There are plenty of better picks for biggest bust, but the guy who got stabbed by Irving Fryer might be the best choice.

22
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 7:08pm

Tom: You're right - my bad. I was focusing on the other parts of the discussion about the Bears and overlooked the part you mentioned.

I completely agree with you - the A Train was not even close to the Bears' worst draft pick. Just off the top of my head, I can think of many other far worse picks besides those he mentioned - Stan Thomas, John Thierry, Patrick Riley, John Allred, Bob "The Beast" Sapp (a third round pick who was cut in training camp), Roosevelt Williams, etc. But for my money, the choice comes down to McNown and Enis. I would probably choose McNown because Enis at least could blame his failure in part to injury. He looked like he would be OK until his injury. McNown, in contrast, was terrible from the start, had incredibly poor work habits (and thus was hated by his teammates - not a good thing for someone who was drafted to be a franchise QB), was arrogant and disrespectful and didn't think any rules applied to him (as evidenced by his habit of parking illegally in handicapped spaces). He only seemed to be interested in going out with Playboy Playmates who used to go out with other NFL QBs.

23
by Kevin Eleven (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 7:36pm

The Patriots took Edwards with ther #18, and got a good year out of him before he got hurt.

In 1990 the Pats spent the #8 overall on Chris Singleton, who likely never had so much as a good game. PLUS, they drafted Singleton after trading down- they could have stayed put and gotten Junior Seau or Cortez Kennedy.

Pat Harlow and Eugene Chung were also worse than Edwards. As bad as Jamain Stephens was, Huey Richardson was worse.

Not meaning to nitpick, though- it was a fun article.

24
by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 10:09pm

14:

Joe Montana probably benefitted considerably from playing in one of the earliest West Coast Offenses, under a true offensive genius in Bill Walsh. He is probably the best 49ers QB ever, but a lot of QBs were either good or great when playing in SanFran since Walsh. SEE Kemp, Jeff; Youing, Steve; Grbac, Elvis; Garcia, Jeff; Rattay, Tim.

However, Jerry Rice was the best WR in San Francisco from the first year he was there, and led the team in receiving for 11 years. After he left the 49ers he led the Raiders in receiving for two years. The only meaningful receiving-related records Jerry Rice does not own are the single-season receptions record, the single-game reception record, and the single-game receiving yardage record.

25
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 10:15pm

I think Ozzie Newsome was probably a better pick than Clay Matthews. At the very least, he's in the Hall of Fame, and that's gotta count for something. Although if he had the same career for a team that wasn't allergic to postseason success, Matthews probably would be in as well.

As for Cleveland's worst pick, there are just too many to choose from. At least Brown was extremely highly regarded coming out of college, and did show some flashes of extreme competence. On the other hand, you have Mike Junkin.

To recap: Cleveland had an all-pro linebacker in Chip Banks. San Diego wanted him, and he was in a contract dispute with Cleveland, so the Browns sent him to the Chargers in order to flip 1st and 2nd round picks (moving up to 5th in each round from the low 20s). Not a horrible trade, value-wise. But then with the 5th overall pick, they decided to take Junkin, an injury-prone LB from Duke who wasn't even projected to go in the first round. Or the second. Maybe the third, but that's not certain. And they took him fifth overall. Fifth. Number five. Not surprisingly, he sucked for two years in Cleveland, got cut, sucked somewhere else for a year, and was never heard from again. To summarize: he really, really, really sucked, and they took him about three or four rounds too early. And he sucked.

Then again, you also have Tim Couch. Not so much because of him (he wasn't great, but he at least showed some flashes, and before getting hurt against Atlanta he looked like he might be turning into a real QB), but because of what might have been. That was the draft when New Orleans was bending over and lubing up for the chance to get Ricky Williams. As an expansion team, how do you not arrange a deal with them, and acquire an extra five or six picks to screw up?

26
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 10:52pm

#21 and other curious readers....

The article could be read as Irving Fryar stabbing Hart Lee Dykes. The proper way to read it was that Hart Lee Dykes and Irving Fryar were together at a nightclub, and an altercation with other patrons resulted in Dykes getting stabbed.

Dykes, Katzenmoyer, and Edwards all had career-ending injuries. I would call a first rounder like Chris Canty, Eugene Chung, Trevor Matich (over Jerry Rice), or Kenneth Sims (at #1 overall), who don't have the career-ending injury excuse, much worse picks.

27
by Ruben (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 11:34pm

Regarding the Cardinals:

I'd argue that not only was Aeneas Williams the most valuable Cardinal ever; rather, he might be the single most-valuable player to his team ever, in terms of "value" spent vs. "value" received.

Consider: The Sunday before the 2000 election, wherein Arizona state voters were to vote on the bond for the new Cardinal Stadium, Williams returned a game-winning INT back to the house from the opposing endzone. The crowd was ecstatic, and many consider the play-and subsequent win-to be the (albeit short-sighted) catalyst for voters to approve the stadium.

How many players are responsible for single-handedly constructing $455 Million stadiums?

28
by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 11:35pm

Huey Richardson was a worse pick for the Steelers than Jamain Stephens.

29
by JMM (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 11:49pm

I am a big Rod Woodson fan. But Joe Greene was the best draft pick the Steelers have made. Rod was a great player stepping onto a team with a winning tradition. Mean Joe set the tone for the team that turned 40 years of not winning into 4 SB's in 6 years.

30
by rollo (not verified) :: Mon, 04/23/2007 - 11:58pm

Tony Boselli is the Jag's best draft pick. If Stroud or Henderson dominate for another half-decade they may supplant him on body of work, but Boselli was one the league's top two left tackle for a good 5 years. If you pro rate his career out he gets to Canton.

31
by Kevin Eleven (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:37am

26- Sims and Matich may have been disappointing, but they at least made SOME contribution.

Chris Singleton did NOTHING.

32
by pharmboyrick (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:58am

Regarding the Broncos, this totally misses the boat, especially for worst pick ever. Although Atwater is one of my all time favorite Broncos, I would have to lean toward Randy Gradishar '73. Both should be in the HOF, but will not because they did not play in a big market.

At issue would be the worst pick. Marcus Nash in '98 and Ted Greggory in '86 were far worse pros than WIllie Middlebrooks. At least Middlebrokks provided some trade value in that Denver was able to trade for a serviceable DL in Engerberger .

33
by pharmboyrick (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 2:38am

Regarding the Steeler drafts, I think Terry Bradshaw was their best pick. He does not get enough credit because the defense and running game carried him at the beginning of his carrer, but his ability to perform huge big games was the difference in their last two Super Bowl wins.

34
by Vanya (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 4:17am

I'm beginning to think that Barnwell's role at FO is to prove that FO has no Patriots bias because he spouts a lot of nonsense when it comes to New England. First of all I agree with many of the above posters that it is ridiculous to call a solid player who suffers a freak injury "worst pick", i.e. Robert Edwards. "Worst pick" to most people means a player who has no talent and/or desire to play, i.e. Canty or Chung for the Pats, meaning the scouts and coaching staff screwed up. Even if your definition of worst pick is simply lack of contribution for whatever reason, Edwards (sadly for Pats fans) would not qualify. The Patriots got at least a year of very solid production out of Robert Edwards, they got nothing out of Canty or Katzenmoyer but headaches. And just to pick more nits, McGinest is certainly not the best overall pick the Pats ever made - he had a few years there under Carroll where his play was mediocre at best. The best overall pick in Pats history is still John Hannah, although it appears you're not considering many pre-1980s players.

35
by kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 9:36am

Re #32: Regarding the Broncos, this totally misses the boat, especially for worst pick ever. Although Atwater is one of my all time favorite Broncos, I would have to lean toward Randy Gradishar ‘73. Both should be in the HOF, but will not because they did not play in a big market.

At issue would be the worst pick. Marcus Nash in ‘98 and Ted Greggory in ‘86 were far worse pros than WIllie Middlebrooks. At least Middlebrokks provided some trade value in that Denver was able to trade for a serviceable DL in Engerberger .
I mostly agree with you. The first thing that I thought when I saw Atwater was "What happened to Randy Gradisher?". I mean, Gradisher was Ray Lewis before there was a Ray Lewis. He made 7 pro bowls, averaged more takeaways (Ints *AND* fumble recoveries) per game than Lewis, and most mind-bogglingly... he averaged better than 14 tackles per game. Stop and think about that for a second. Randy Gradisher *AVERAGED* 14 tackles per game. Over a 16-game season, that's 224 tackles- and that wouldn't be a career year for Gradisher, that would have been an AVERAGE SEASON. Ray Lewis's career best is 183 tackles. Zach Thomas's career best is 165.

Atwater was the heart of Denver's defense for a while, but I don't think he's a HoFer (really, I think Atwater was hurt by the fact that there are probably 3 other safeties in his era with the exact same career, more or less, which'll make it hard for any one of the 4 to stand out from the pack). Gradisher, on the other hand, was one of the best defensive players the NFL has ever seen, and his exclusion from the hall is just absurd.

Also, I agree that Middlebrooks wasn't Denver's worst pick. He played a couple of years in the nickle and didn't entirely embarass himself in that capacity, and he also brought good value in return when he finally left town. Not what you'd hope for from a 1st rounder, but it could have been a lot worse.

36
by Kellerman (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 10:55am

Well, I guess I'll be a nitpicker too. Is Sterling Sharpe at 7 really a better pick than James Lofton at 6? I recall Sharpe as the first WR to consistently put up 100 catches in a season, but his career was a little short. Lofton had a lower peak but played forever. On the other hand some of those years were not in Green Bay. But how about John Anderson #26 overall in that same 1978 draft? He is, I believe, on the NFL's all-decade team for the 80's at LB.

Now, I am a Bengals fan, so I have a slightly skewed perspective with regard to their drafts, and I've always liked TJ Houshmandzadeh, but is he really better than Tim Krumrie? He was a 10th rounder in 1983 and started for 11 or 12 years on really good teams and made a huge number of tackles for a NT. He led the team in tackles once or twice.

Finally, the Throwin' Samoan (Jack Thompson) played about the same as Akili Smith, BUT, the Bengals got nothing from Smith when he departed while the Bengals foisted Jack off on the Buccaneers for a first round pick that turned out to be #1 overall. That is the pick that the Bengals traded to the Patriots after they couldn't strike a deal with Steve Young (off to the USFL with him!) and the Pats took Irving Fryar.

37
by pharmboyrick (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:12pm

Kibbles,
In regard to Atwater, I think thereare some compelling reasons to put him in the hall.

1. He was named to 8 pro bowls.

2. He was named to the All-90s team along with Lott, LeROy Butler, and Carnell Lake. Aside from Lott, I think Atwater easily seperates from the pack.

3. He won two Superbowls, and he was the standout defensive player in SuperBowl 32. He also played huge in big games, causing two turnovers in the '98 AFC Championship game against the Jets in what was an unexpectedly close game.

Aside from OL, Safety is probably the hardest position to make it to the HOF, and Atwater played in the mountain time zone which also reduces a players chances. SO while I agree that it will be tough for Atwater to get in, I disagree in that he was not good enough.

In regards to Gradishar, it disgusts me that Harry Carson got in before him.

38
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:23pm

Gosh, even post merger, in regards to the Vikings, there isn't a single GM or head coach in the league who would prefer to have Joey Browner's career on their roster to Randall McDaniel's. Not one. Heck, I doubt there is even one who would take Browner's over Chris Doleman's. Give it about a year or two more, and Kevin Williams' career will have been better. I also doubt whether you would find too many GMs or coaches that would take Browner's career over Randy Moss', baggage and all; the talent would just be too enticing.

As to value picks, in addition to Studwell (mentioned above). Brad Johnson in the 9th round and Birk in the 6th are better than Jason Fisk. No, Johnson wasn't great, but he was good enough to be a serviceable starter at the most important position for multiple years. Birk has put up multiple Pro Bowl seasons.

The Demitrius Underwood selection, however, is pretty spot-on.

39
by bengt (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:25pm

I think knowing when to trade up in order to get a specific player should also be considered for the best pick category. For instance, the 49ers trading up just in front of the Cowboys to get Jerry Rice (whom the Cowboys were ready to pick themselves), I would consider a genius move. If I remember correctly, the Steelers also traded up to the #1 spot for Terry Bradshaw.

40
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:26pm

Oh, no doubt, Gradishar joins the the group with Hanburger and Howely, among others, as linebackers who obviously should have been inducted into the HOF years ago.

41
by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:29pm

With all due respect, Will, I offer up http://www.myspace.com/joeybrowner in response.

When Randall McDaniel's Myspace page compares, we will talk.

42
by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:37pm

I can also appreciate that while I totally missed the boat on the Broncos picks, I especially totally missed the boat on the Worst pick ever, but I only totally missed the boat a little on the Broncos best pick.

Atwater and Gradisher both played ten seasons with the Broncos; Atwater made eight Pro Bowls in a Gilded era for safeties, while Gradisher made seven. It's not that simple to say that Atwater was a better player or pick, but I think that the debate isn't exactly cut-and-dry in Gradisher's favor, either.

The other thing about Middlebrooks is that people are counting the trade value that he brought (although Engelberger isn't exactly a prize), but they're ignoring the other issue that resulted because Middlebrooks wasn't very good -- the Broncos had to go and acquire Champ Bailey, which cost them Clinton Portis. Now, while I think that was an excellent trade for the Broncos, if Middlebrooks had lived up to his billing, they could have had a good corner AND Portis as opposed to the best corner.

As for #34, I'm sad to admit it, but I'm actually Bizarro-Aaron, misusing stats and getting everything about the Patriots wrong. Sorry dude.

43
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:41pm

Regarding the Cardinals, I don't know if the St. Louis era was considered (it seems that other relocated teams had their previous rosters evaluated), but I'd be shocked if any GM or coach would prefer Aeneas Williams' career to Dan Dierdorf's, and it isn't really very close.

44
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:45pm

I stand corrected, Bill. LOL.

45
by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:57pm

Will,

How is that the case?

Again, Pro Bowls aren't everything, but Williams made eight and Dierdorf made six. I don't think it would be unreasonable to say Williams was the best corner of the 90s. While Dierdorf's versatility gives him points, I still think that Williams is more valuable, and to say that it isn't really very close is way off.

46
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 1:11pm

Yeah, Bill, I was letting my soft spot for offensive lineman show, and overstated the case. In the 90's the value of cornerbacks rose substantially, whereas in the '70s, especially prior to '78, the value of a dominant tackle exceeded that of a dominant corner by quite a bit. The positions are on about the same level now, but given that in the era in which Dierdorf played the importance of an offensive tackle was greater, I'd give the nod to Dierdorf. It is close however.

47
by Vanya (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 1:16pm

Clearly anyone who picks Robert Edwards as the worst Pats pick can only be doing so on purpose in order to rile Patriots fans. At least until 2001, arguing about the Pats worst picks was a cherished Boston tradition. Picking Edwards would get you laughed out of the bar.

48
by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 1:58pm

39: The Steelers did not trade up to the #1 pick to draft Terry Bradshaw. They "earned" that spot by going 1-13 in 1969. The Bears also were 1-13 in 1969. If I recall correctly, the Steelers received the #1 pick over the Bears by winning a coin flip. Click on my name for 1969 records.

49
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 2:15pm

I've never followed the AFC as closely as the NFC, but John Hannah made the all-decade teams of the 70s and 80s, and was named first team All-Pro seven times. I'd take him over Willie McGinest, and I like McGinest quite a bit.

50
by Kevin Eleven (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 4:29pm

47- It's draft week, and there are all kinds of columns like Bill's out there. And since they're writing to entertain, sometimes a wtiter will go with an interesting story (Robert Edwards) over a dull thud (Chris Singleton, Chris Canty).

SI had Brian Bosworth in their Top-25 busts. Boz had one good season, then he got hurt. Seattle got him in the supplemental draft. The Seahawks won 10 games in 1986, 9 in 1987 (the strike year, so the number is skewed) and 9 games in 1987. So we're looking at a mid-late first. There were more than 25 players taken in the Top-5 that bombed worse than Bosworth...but "The Boz" is the more interesting story.

Ditto Todd Marinovich at #24. He's a goofy, interesting story...but from a pure football standpoint, he wasn't a noticeable bust.

51
by masocc (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 5:24pm

It's a shame the Seahawks can't take credit for drafting Steve Largent in the 4th round of the 1976 draft.

Instead, they just traded an 8th rounder in 1977 (who became the legendary Steve Davis) to the Oilers, just before the Oilers were going to *cut* him.

Easily one of the most lopsided trades ever. Arguably even more lopsided than the Ricky Williams or Herschel Walker trades.

Which reminds me... could we get a best/worst trades ever article? Or have we already had one?

52
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 6:10pm

Where's the love for Wilbert Montgomery ? 6,700 yards rushing and 2,500 yards receiving from a 6th round pick . He was probably the most important player on Vermeil's Eagles teams. Joyner and Simmons were great picks, but I think most Eagles fans would say Montgomery was their best value pick.

Oh and how about Reggie White as the best Eagles pick ever ?

53
by Josh (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 6:43pm

I hate Lawrence Phillips--not because he was a bust with the Rams, but when the Niners gave him a second chance, and he screwed up on blitz pickup and Steve Young got concussed and his career ended.

54
by PantsB (not verified) :: Tue, 04/24/2007 - 11:15pm

People have already pointed out how bad calling Edwards the worst pick is. Brady is clearly the best value pick. But the best overall pick as Willie? Nope. Hog Hannah. Drew Bledsoe (saved the franchise) the year before. Mike Hayes as the #5. Tippett, Armstrong, or Ty Law should all be in there before Willie.

55
by sam (not verified) :: Wed, 04/25/2007 - 1:05am

I would think Bobby McCray would have to be considered the Jags top value pick, over Danny Clark. An RFA this year, McCray was tendered at the 1st-round level. He had 10.5 sacks last year (and stood up well enough against the run). He plays a premium position. He wasn't drafted quite as low as Clark IIRC but he is a 7th-rounder.

56
by kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 04/25/2007 - 5:53am

Re #37: Sure, those are very good points in Atwater's favor... but tell me how they separate him from, say, a Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison, John Lynch, etc.

Like I said, outside of OL, Safety is the hardest position to make it into the Hall. Very, very few "true safeties" get in (as in, players who spent their entire career at safety rather than moving there when they became too slow to play CB). In order for Atwater to join those ranks, he has to separate himself from his peers to a higher degree than any other player at any other position... and he simply hasn't done that.

Re #42: The other thing about Middlebrooks is that people are counting the trade value that he brought (although Engelberger isn’t exactly a prize), but they’re ignoring the other issue that resulted because Middlebrooks wasn’t very good — the Broncos had to go and acquire Champ Bailey, which cost them Clinton Portis. Now, while I think that was an excellent trade for the Broncos, if Middlebrooks had lived up to his billing, they could have had a good corner AND Portis as opposed to the best corner.

I count that as a point in Middlebrooks' favor. I mean, I love Clinton Portis, but I'd rather have Bailey and a who-dat at RB than Portis and a solid player at CB. CB is the position where, according to general managers, elite talent is worth the most compared to average talent (as evidenced by CB salaries), and I question whether any CB in the history of the NFL has been as far above his peers as Champ Bailey is above his right now (not saying that Bailey is the best CB in history, I'm just saying that is there another guy in the league right now playing at the type of level where you say to yourself "that guy is going to wind up in the HoF some day"?)

Meanwhile, on the other hand, RB is the position where GMs have said there is the least difference between an elite player and an average player, outside of maybe Center, Safety, or special teams.

57
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 04/25/2007 - 11:28am

Again, it is statistically more difficult for linebackers to get in the HOF than it is for offensive linemen.

58
by Paul Tagliabue (not verified) :: Wed, 04/25/2007 - 4:22pm

Rae Carruth, has to be the worst pick ever for the panthers. Although he made the all rookie team with Reidel Anthony, he only had 44 catches for 550 yards. After that he broke his leg and SHOT HIS PREGNANT WIFE!!!

The league changed for him, just like it did for LT. It instituted a player conduct policy. And he joins Ben Gay as the only players whose names are banned from official NFL jerseys. The league accepts "Gay" Patriots Jerseys, so I guess Randall Gay is in. I never understood what Ben Gay did? must have been naughty.

59
by Grouchy Bills Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 04/25/2007 - 4:26pm

Request: you should have a similar article about best/worst/most even trades in nfl history. I was fascinated as a teenager in the 80's with how well the whole Cornelius Bennett / Eric Dickerson / zillions of draft choices trade worked out for the Bills.

60
by Ron Fisher (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 8:03am

You have alot of comments here, so I'll keep it short..

Just wondering why you picked New Orleans Saints "Johnathan Sullivan" as their worst pick over Ricky Williams?

My take: Yes Ricky did put up "some" numbers for the Saints, but compared to what the Saints had to give up and pay for him in regards to what they got out is probably the worst draft pick / let down in NFL history...

61
by VRWC (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:08pm

Regarding the Steelers; I'm sorry, but as much as I liked Woodson; Joe Greene, Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann were all better #1 picks. Troy Edwards was a much worse pick than Stephens, considering they could have drafted Jevon Kearse.
Regarding the Jets; How is Keyshawn Johnson a better pick than Joe Namath? How many rings does Johnson have? Namath not only won the Jet's only SB, he made the AFL...

62
by Jack Jets Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:29pm

Are you kidding me with your jet picks, best value Richie Anderson? What about a 6th rounder named Joe Klecko? Biggest bust? I'd argue Blair Thomas when we could have had Junior Seau. Best pick Keyshawn? He wasn't even as good as Chrebet. And you're leaving out the guy who changed football as we know it, Joe Willie Namath. How old are you 21?

63
by Ross (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 6:42pm

How can Clay Matthews be the best overall pick for the Browns when Ozzie Newsome was picked in the same draft and is in the Hall of Fame???? Clay was very good for a long time, but longevity does not trump Hall of Fame!!!

64
by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 9:51pm

Troy Edwards was not a worse pick than Jamain Stephens. Edwards did a lot of stupid stuff but he at least had a decent rookie season. Actually, a pretty strong rookie season. That's one more good season than Jamain Stephens had.

And none of them can hold a candle to the all out suckitude of Huey Richardson who was the last first round pick of the Chuck Noll era.

He never made it to the Bill Cowher era.

Oh, and one more thing on Troy Edwards, he at least gave us the legendary quote, "What he done?" following the first round selection of Plaxico Burress....

65
by PaulH (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 12:02am

Can someone explain to me how in the holy hell Clay Matthews was picked before Ozzie Newsome?

Ozzie was a first round pick in the same draft, and was in an incredible pick. He made several Pro Bowls, and is generally considered one of the greatest tight ends of all-time. Moreover, he never missed a game as a Brown, playing in 198 consecutive games.

Beyond that, though, as great as Ozzie's on-field career was, he was even better off the field. He's a class act, and has been rewarded countless times for his charitable work. Moreover, Ozzie has been with the Browns / Ravens organization ever since the day he was drafted. He worked his way up, and eventually became vice president for player personnel, where he helped assemble a Super Bowl winner. After that, he became the first African-American general manager in the history of the NFL.

How in the holy hell can he not be the best pick? He was picked in 1978, and he's still a key player for the organization 30 years later!

How many others can you say that of?

66
by kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 1:42am

Re #60: You have alot of comments here, so I’ll keep it short..

Just wondering why you picked New Orleans Saints “Johnathan Sullivan� as their worst pick over Ricky Williams?

My take: Yes Ricky did put up “some� numbers for the Saints, but compared to what the Saints had to give up and pay for him in regards to what they got out is probably the worst draft pick / let down in NFL history…
Are you kidding? The Saints got a LOT out of Ricky Williams. Notably, they got two First Round draft picks from Miami, which is almost what they paid for him in the first place. So basically they got three solid seasons from Ricky, and then sold him for almost as much as they paid for him. If that was the worst pick in the history of my franchise, I would be positively ecstatic. Isn't within a million miles of being the worst pick in NFL history. He wasn't even the worst pick of the first round of 2001- do the words Tim Couch, Cade McNown, or Akili Smith mean nothing to you?

67
by Jeff W (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 8:56am

Boselli not the best pick for the Jags?

68
by Jeff W (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 9:05am

Oh, how does Reggie White miss best Eagles pick ever?

69
by sam (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 9:50am

Agreed that Tony Boselli is probably their best pick, although when all is said and done they will have gotten a lot more years out of Stroud and Henderson. Remember that Boselli battled a couple of injuries in Jacksonville.

Soward though was impossibly terrible. Dude couldn't make team meetings on time when Coughlin sent a limo to pick up early. I loved when his mother blamed the city of Jacksonville for corrupting him. He never did drugs or drank when he was in LA.

70
by Mike (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 10:53am

God that Rashard Anderson pick sucked. Not only was he a huge bust, but he was suspended for 2 whole seasons and the Panthers had to keep paying his cap hit for 3 seasons even though he wasn't on the team.

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71
by Balaji (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 5:10pm

28, others: Agreed, there's no way Jamain Stephens was a worse pick than Huey. And what about Alonzo Jackson? Did that bum ever see any playing time in a meaningful game? Easily Cowher's worst pick.

72
by Jim G (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 6:49pm

Gotta agree with #62, with emphasis.

Keyshawn as the Jets best draft pick ever?? C'mon.

He's no higher than 3rd team just among the Jets all-time receivers. Maynard, Sauer, Wesley Walker, Al Toon, Chrebet, etc. At other positions I could name a dozen Jet draftees better than Key.

Saying he was a great pick just because Parcells, when looking to get rid of him, managed to rob the Bucs in doing so, is absurd. Why was Parcells getting rid of him? How much did the Bucs then pay to get rid of him before his contract was up? Those are a better measure of his value.

And Richie Anderson as the best value pick ever for the Jets?? A "nice" FB for a 6th round pick who averaged all of 70 rushing yards a season over 10 years, with seasons where he rushed for all of 2, 17, 27, 63, 70 yards, etc?

Over Joe Klecko, who made All-Pro at every position on the DL? And who Munoz said was the strongest opponent he ever played? For a 6th round pick, Joe seems even nicer.