Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Jul 2011

ESPN: 10 Most Disappointing Draft Steals

Sometimes that great player who falls to you in the draft is, in fact, too good to be true.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 12 Jul 2011

27 comments, Last at 19 Jul 2011, 6:23pm by nath


by Dean :: Tue, 07/12/2011 - 2:40pm

I'm not an insider, nor do I have any interest whatsoever in becoming one. But going just by the teaser paragraph, it's hard to call Reggie Bush a steal - or any other salary-cap-era RB in the top 15 for that matter.

There were many people who believed that even at 2, the Saints were making a reach.

by Scott C :: Sat, 07/16/2011 - 1:12am

Not even Ladanian Tomlinson at #5?

7 consecutive extremely productive years are definitely worth a top 5 pick in the draft, unless its not someone who plays every down on O or D.

I totally understand that the average first round RB is picked too high, but every 5 or so years, one is worth it.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sat, 07/16/2011 - 6:32pm

Tomlinson is a very good player and a good pick at #5. But #5 is really high up there. It's hard to call him a steal at that position. I think he'd at least have to be the undisputed greatest player in that draft class to be a steal at 5. But 2001 also had Drew Brees, Reggie Wayne, Richard Seymour, Chad Johnson, Matt Light, Michael Vick, Steve Smith, Casey Hampton, and Santana Moss. Now you could certainly make a case for Tomlinson being the best of the bunch, but head and shoulders above the rest is a stretch. I personally would take Brees first with the benefit of hindsight. Tomlinson has had an excellent career, but at 5 was not a steal, just a good solid choice.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:02pm

No, I'm pretty sure Tomlinson was plain better than all of those. Being a QB, Brees might have been more valuable (of course, they were drafted by the same team), but other than him and maybe Richard Seymour, there's not even an argument debating the merits of Tomlinson and any of those others. He's a top-10 RB all time. You can't say close to the same about any of those guys.

by dryheat :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:37pm

I'm not sure that say it about Tomlinson either. Was he better than Jim Brown, OJ, Barry, Walter, Emmitt, Dickerson? Probably not. Was he better than Faulk, Campbell, Sayers, Sims, Riggins? Maybe, seems to be a good argument against, though.

Can we even say that he's a better running back than contemporaries Terrell Davis, Curtis Martin, Bettis, Dillon, Peterson, Westbrook, Holmes, MJD?

I suppose it depends on your criteria.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 4:49pm

I think he's pretty clearly better than any of the backs in the 3rd group with the possible exception of Terrell Davis if you value a few years of unbelievable peak production over a long career.

I still wouldn't consider him a steal however; he was a top 5 pick for goodness sake.

by RickD :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:53am

My thoughts exactly.
A #2 pick really cannot be described as a "Draft Steal". A "steal" is a player like Dan Marino or Randy Moss: a player who drops quite a bit in the draft before being taken.

by nath :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 6:23pm

Well, Bush was considered such a slam-dunk #1 right until the eve of the draft that him falling to #2 was thought to be a steal for the Saints. Like Lawrence Taylor was a steal at #2 in 1980 (except he performed well enough to merit the term).

by dbostedo :: Tue, 07/12/2011 - 3:39pm

I am an insider - it's great and not too expensive. Anyway, they call Bush a steal because at the time some people were writing that he was the clear #1 choice, and a sure fire franchise player. So getting him at #2 is a "steal".

There were several choices like that in the list.

by Dean :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 9:49am

"some people were writing that he was the clear #1 choice"

Sure, but "some people" are idiots. "Some people" (I'm looking at you, Walterfootball) swore Jimmy Clausen should be a first round pick.

Anybody who wasn't trying to work an angle could pretty much tell that Reggie Bush had no business whatsoever being the top overall pick. To be fair, I would have taken D'Brick first, so I would have still botched the pick, but not nearly as badly as if I'd taken the diva.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 2:03pm

How is taking a consistently Pro Bowl left tackle botching a pick? He's probably the best player from the Top 10 selected that year. And he's easily Top 5 from the first round overall that year; depending on how you feel about Jay Cutler and Santonio Holmes, even better. I'd say Haloti Ngata is the only player that definitely 100% should have been taken above D'Brick. Cutler, Mario Williams and... Nick Mangold(!) being the only 1st rounders you could reasonably argue would have been a better #1 overall pick. (I just can't see a great, but not HOF great WR like Holmes being in the discussion. Heck, I won't argue with anyone who says Mangold as a center shouldn't be in the discussion either.)

Also: NYJ had 4 2006 first rounders starting on their team last year. I wonder what the record is for most first rounders starting for a team is...

by Dean :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 2:26pm

I would say with the benefit of hindsight that Mario Williams was the best pick after all, whereas at the time, he would have been my second pick. So maybe botching it is overstating things. Wasn't ment to be a slight of Ferguson.

Oh, and the Dolphins had 21 first round picks on their roster during one of Marinos last years. Maybe '94 or so? I don't know what the record is for first round starters, but they have the most first rounders on their roster. A lot of them were Steve Entman types who were valuable contributors but not starters.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 9:15pm

Yeah, i know a lot of team stockpiled first round players, but weren't necessarily starters - 21 is such an outrageously large number that has to be the team with the record though. How many of them couldn't be starting? You'd have to go out of your way to not end up with 7 or 8.

As for D'Brick/Williams - I disagree. With hindsight, Ngata is the best player in that entire draft. I know he's a nose tackle DT so he won't ever have the stats to make his case, but come on, man - not even Williams (who is very good) is on his level. Anyway, I don't think you can "botch" a #1 pick if you get a top five player for that - and there's no QB available in that Top 5 group. And, sadly, the 3 best QBs from that year appear to be Cutler, Vince Young and... Tavaris Jasckson? I don't think the Jets are crying over having D'Brick instead of any of those guys...

Also, as a side note, The Broncos got both Dumervil and Brandon Marshal in the 4th round that year. If they had gotten both in the 1st, that still would have been a hell of a round. On the second day? Sheesh...

by dbostedo :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 4:34pm

"Anybody who wasn't trying to work an angle could pretty much tell that Reggie Bush had no business whatsoever being the top overall pick."

Given the amount of debate that went on, I don't think it was nearly as clear cut as you think. I especially don't think saying that he "had no business whatsoever being the top overall pick" is correct. Otherwise, he wouldn't have even been the second pick. I.e. there wasn't anyone so head and shoulders above the crowd that they are the obvious #1 - so there were valid arguments for any of the top few players to be #1 overall.

by Dennis :: Tue, 07/12/2011 - 4:37pm

If you are going to keep linking to insider articles like these, can you at least post the lists so the non-insiders can join in the discussion?

by Jerry :: Tue, 07/12/2011 - 5:20pm

I would imagine that ESPN would frown on even that part of the content they're paying for being released on this site.

I'm not an insider either, but I have no problem with FO linking to their own work even when it's behind a pay wall.

by LionFanInAZ (not verified) :: Wed, 07/13/2011 - 7:53pm

I'd agree, except that ESPN gets money from advertisements and TV deals. Charging extra for extra information is a scam. Especially if they force you to see advertising even when you pay for content.

by JasonPackerBacker (not verified) :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 9:01am

Eh, but ESPN itself, as a cable station, charges you extra to watch AND STILL puts on plenty of advertisements. Premium content, extra price. Economically, "premium" doesn't connote better, or more useful, but only something that people will pay extra for.

This isn't news, people, just regular old capitalism...make money in whatever niche you want. That doesn't mean I love it, for sure -- that's why I don't have cable.

by Anony-mous (not verified) :: Wed, 07/13/2011 - 9:27am

I had expected to see Glenn Dorsey on the list.

by judge (not verified) :: Wed, 07/13/2011 - 11:17pm

you give me the 1st paragraph,then cut me off and say"pay".Y'all are lucky I have time to read this drivel at all.You're stupid to think I would pay for it though,or even consider paying for it.This is no insider information anyway,just opinionated crap!

by JimmyOz (not verified) :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 12:28am

WAH WAH I can't see a list of players that someone wrote that i probably won't agree with but i can't argue about the list so i'll argue about having to pay for something.


Che lives.

by MJK :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 5:25pm

Interesting...I'm not an insider, and I just read the whole list...

by SF burgh (not verified) :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 6:28pm

Please please note that it is an espn insider article before the jump. That way if you want to pay to be one you can if you don't like me you don't get there get confused for a sec and go oh and clck back.

by tuluse :: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 6:43pm

Everything labeled "ESPN" is insider only.

by dryheat :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 8:51am

According to Mike Reiss, Chad Jackson and Andy Katzenmoyer made the list. I have to imagine that there's a better choice out there than a rookie starter who had to retire with serious neck injuries. Heck, Robert Edwards had to retire ultimately with serious knee injuries, and he was a higher pick.

by Martial (not verified) :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 1:44pm

Katzenmoyer wasn't very good as a pro. Turned out he didn't like studying. He was great in college because he was a better athlete than the guys around him, but that doesn't cut it in the modern NFL. Yeah, he had a neck injury, but he was also in Belichick's doghouse.

by dryheat :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 3:27pm

I don't think he was ever healthy while Belichick was HC. I think he was IR until the day he retired. The 3/4 or so season he did play under Carroll, I thought he played very well for a rookie.

Am I just misremembering?

Also, I don't ever remember anybody calling his drafting a "steal".