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Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

A fun exercise here from Yahoo's Jay Busbee, and fun to discuss and debate. I was disappointed that Jay Berwanger was not in last place, but Jay only went back through the 52 years of the combined draft starting in 1967. Peyton Manning is No. 1. Last place goes not to the worst player, but to the player who provided the least amount of value to the team that drafted him: Bo Jackson.

Comments

11 comments, Last at 08 May 2019, 8:08am

1 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by Travis // Apr 24, 2019 - 1:54pm

I'm not sure how a system based almost solely on value to the team that drafted them ranks Vinny Testaverde (six below-average non-playoff seasons with Tampa, left as a free agent) ahead of Drew Bledsoe (nine generally above-average seasons with the Patriots, made a Super Bowl, traded for a first rounder).

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2 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by D // Apr 24, 2019 - 6:09pm

Yeah. I also can't really see how anyone can seriously argue that the 49ers got more value out of Alex Smith than the Bengals got out of Carson Palmer. (80 starts, 5.01 ANY/A, 40 Approximate Value vs. 97 starts, 5.97 ANY/A, 76 AV)

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7 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by Cythammer // Apr 26, 2019 - 2:51pm

If you wanted to include as a factor how well the team did with the QB than Smith might be better. The 49ers made an NFC Championship game with him at the helm in 2011.

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3 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by Bright Blue Shorts // Apr 25, 2019 - 6:11am

John Elway never plays for the Colts but get #15. In a trade he brings an All-pro left tackle at a time when left tackles weren't deemed as valuable as they later became.

Tom Cousineau never plays for the Bills but gets #49. His trade brings in a HoF QB who went to 4 Super Bowls.

Those two should be ranked within a few places of each other and I'd even argue Cousineau's should be the higher ranked. Plain fact it's poor analytics. The author uses one criteria to put Bo at #52 (value to drafting team) then uses another criteria (overall career value) to rank Cousineau at #49 and Elway at #15.

(NB there was a photo essay doing the same thing on NFL.com earlier in the week. Notably OJ's commentary was as short as possible and stayed with the bare facts of his playing career even downplayed his career).

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4 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by nottom // Apr 25, 2019 - 6:35am

Yeah, the criteria isn't particularly well applied. Even the Bo Jackson case which seems to be the primary driver is quite questionable, as an empty seat still provided more value than someone like JaMarcus Russell who cost his team millions of dollars while giving worse than replacement level performance

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5 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by Theo // Apr 25, 2019 - 12:42pm

I think starting a few seasons just because you were the first pick like Jamarcus does more damage to a franchise than just not playing at all.

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6 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by theslothook // Apr 25, 2019 - 5:39pm

LOL, Definitely! It guarantees your coach will be fired.

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8 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by MarkV // Apr 28, 2019 - 12:50pm

Ranking no2 would be more fun imo. Fewer qbs.
Megatron vs Von vs suh, vs pepper for best this century.

Lt, Tony dorsett, faulk. Lots of fun names

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9 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by RickD // Apr 30, 2019 - 3:25pm

Rick Mirer vs. Ryan Leaf!

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10 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by Richie // May 06, 2019 - 7:51pm

Mirer was a lot more successful than Leaf.

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11 Re: Ranking Every No. 1 NFL Draft Pick

by t.d. // May 08, 2019 - 8:08am

...and yet by failing so completely, Leaf led in no time to the Chargers drafting Drew Brees. If you're going to fail, there's something to be said for failing spectacularly

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