Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Apr 2006

FO on FOX: Best and Worst Draft Years Ever

Two fun articles on FOXSports.com. The linked article is about the worst draft years of all time. See if you can guess where 1943 ranks. Yes, we go back that far. There's also an article on the best draft years of all time.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 27 Apr 2006

23 comments, Last at 30 Apr 2006, 10:24am by dryheat


by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 1:02pm

Well, at least Dallas did pretty well in 1992. Too bad they couldn't keep that kind of talent evaluation up for the rest of the decade. I wonder what changed?

by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 1:08pm

RE 1:

Uh they fired Jimmy Johnson?

by charles 2.0 (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 1:24pm

When is the supplemental draft for this year again?

by someone (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 1:52pm

1986 was a good draft year. The first round sucked, for the most part, but the rest of the rounds were stocked with talent. It was the year that had one of the best all-time draft performances by one team, that being the 49ers. Seth Joyner in the eighth? Clyde Simmons in the ninth? I could go on.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 2:09pm

I think WWII might have had something to to do with the low quality of th '43 draft, though, of course, that raises the question of what happened in '44.

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 2:13pm

In 1992 the Steelers picked up Leon Searcy, Levon Kirkland, Joel Steed, and Darren Perry.

Thats a helluva draft in any year, let alone the worst draft ever.

Searcy went to a couple pro bowls at tackle, Kirkland was an outstanding middle linebacker for about 6 years (and went to a couple pro bowls), and Joel Steed never got the recognition he deserved because he was a nose tackle in a 34 defense....I think Perry picked off like 8 passes his rookie year (as an 8th round draft pick).

Nicely done Mr. Modrack.

by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 2:20pm


Did you mean Eagles? They drafted Joyner and Simmons. Too bad Buddy didn't have the same success with o-lineman.

by Theo (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 2:43pm

Why talking about the stone age?
What good did 2002 bring us?

by Spike (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 2:46pm

Sounds like we'll have to argue what a "bad draft" means. HOFers is a pretty good stick, but I'd think the "first day" equivalent of picks is the key. If you head through an entire first round--the supposed top quality talent--and nothing comes of it but a couple of guys who had long careers? That's a bad draft for sure.

Individual teams may get quality players for themselves, especially by picking and training well later on, but if the entire LEAGUE washes out on who it thought the best guys would be, that's a pretty lame draft.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 3:57pm

There is the companion "best drafts" article as well, linked.

How would the 1984 draft rank if you included the USFL supplemental draft? Some of the guys chosen there include Steve Young, Reggie White, and two of my favorites, Kevin Mack and Gerald "Ice Cube" McNeil. (Other players, like Jim Kelly, already had been drafted by NFL teams and were ineligible) If you include that talent influx, suddenly that draft doesn't look nearly as bad...

by someone (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 7:21pm


the Joyner and Simmons comments referred to the general quality of the draft, not the 49ers. As I recall the 49ers picked up a whole host of talent in that draft, including Haley in the fourth and Don Griffin in the sixth.

by someone (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 7:22pm

oh and Brent Jones in the fifth IIRC

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 7:37pm

As a Packers fan it was interesting to see 1992 as the worst draft ever. Despite blowing their first two picks, that draft was really a great one for GB.

Of course trading for Favre isn't really a draft "pick", but after that the Packers drafted Robert Brooks, Edgar Bennett and Mark Chmura, the nucleus of their offense for the next several years.

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 04/27/2006 - 8:34pm


Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, and Michael Lewis. Oh, and the Eagles cut 7th-round pick Raheem Brock, who went on to start at DE for the Colts in every games since 2003, including last year when right DE was a revolving door for the Eagles.

by Moses (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 9:33am

RE 1 & 2:

Drafting is more of a random walk than people would like to admit. The difference between top talent evaluators and poor talent evaluators, especially when it comes to the early rounds of a draft, is fairly slim with only a few showing consistent excellence over-time.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 10:26am

#10 interesting point.

Did the AFL also have separate drafts in the early 60s? I think they did.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 1:08pm

Hey, MDS, I just thought you should know that this popped up on my MSN Messenger start page as one of the main articles. That's when you know you've made the internet big time.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 2:28pm

Yeah, the AFL had their own draft, and there were a few bidding wars that went on. I think it would be really hard to draft during an era with a competing league like that - if you pick a guy high and he goes to the other league, you basically get screwed (at least until the USFL collapses and you still have that player's rights). If you think "signability" is an issue now, imagine what it would be like if two competing teams both claimed rights to the same player. We've seen it happen a few times with Canada (Tom Cousineau, Raghib Ismail), but I can't imagine it'll happen too often from there anymore.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 4:39pm

I'm reading a history of the World Hockey Association currently, and the things that they, as a competing league had going for them was:

1) Paid more money than the NHL.

2) Were willing to draft 18 year olds(Minimum age in the NHL was 20). Once the most talented young players have the choice between playing for meal money in Jr. Hockey or turning Pro, there's no choice at all.

So I agree that this kind of double drafting scenario couldn't happen anymore in football. Who can pay more than the NFL? And the minimum age thing seems settled.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 5:23pm

Vince McMahon has said that if the XFL had lasted another year, he would have started going after 18-year-olds. I think it would have been fascinating to watch guys choose between Florida State and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, or USC and the Las Vegas Outlaws.

by andy (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 6:05pm

Ahh, the XFL. Such a good idea. So poorly packaged.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Fri, 04/28/2006 - 7:58pm

Re #12:

oh and Brent Jones in the fifth IIRC

Drafted and cut by the Steelers; there were health issues, IIRC.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Sun, 04/30/2006 - 10:24am

Unfortunately, unless you live for high school all-star games, a league full of 18-19 year-olds is going to be one terrible product.