C8 THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011 2011 NFL DRAFT DAILYNEWS.COM SPOT ON No. 14 JIM KELLY QB, Buffalo Bills, 1983, Miami (Fla.) The Bills had to wait for Kelly to play out his career with the >>> THE BEST FIRST-ROUND Houston Gamblers of the USFL. He was worth it, leading Buffalo to DRAFT SELECTIONS SINCE 1967, four straight AFC championships. Although he didn’t win a Super FROM NO. 1 TO 32 Bowl, he’s an easy pick over Eddie George and Darrelle Revis. Drafting in the NFL is a lot like investing on Wall Street. No matter how extensive the research, there’s no telling what will happen once the money is plunked down for a Terry Bradshaw No. 15 ALAN PAGE DE, Minnesota Vikings, 1967, Notre Dame Page was the first defensive player voted league MVP, and among or Lawrence Taylor. Or for a Lawrence Phillips or the stars of the “Purple People Eaters.” Like Kelly, we’re celebrating Tony Mandarich. his role in getting his team to four Super Bowls without punishing It never hurts to try learning from history. him for going 0-for-4. Now a judge on the Minnesota Supreme With that in mind, The Associated Press looked Court, he can appreciate this decision being uncontested. back at every player taken at each spot in the first round of the NFL draft since the “common draft” began in 1967. This pick-by-pick approach compared all the No. 1s to each other, the No. 2s No. 16 JERRY RICE WR, San Francisco 49ers, 1985, Miss. Valley St. ... all the way to the Nos. 32s. Like Payton, he’s the kind of guy who would’ve been an easy pick What follows is a subjective list of the best pick regardless of where he was taken. Any receiving record Rice didn’t made at each slot, with the reason they were set is probably not very important. He could’ve caught touchdown passes wearing his three Super Bowl rings. He laps the field over chosen, and others who were considered. Picks Harry Harris Associated Press file photo Russ Francis and Troy Polamalu. were based on a player’s entire career. When it NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle points to the No. 1 overall pick of the 1970 was close, the balance tipped toward the player draft, Louisiana Tech’s Terry Bradshaw, selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers. who meant the most to the team that drafted him. The research yielded some nuggets worth keeping in mind for this year’s draft. as wise drafting being a big part of the Steelers becoming such a No. 17 EMMITT SMITH RB, Dallas Cowboys, 1990, Florida Let’s see, he was the leading rusher in NFL history, led his team to The best news is for the Cincinnati Bengals, who pick fourth. perennial power. Pittsburgh claimed three of the top 11 “best” picks three Super Bowls in four years, won a regular-season MVP award History says that’s a juicy spot. Only No. 1 has produced more Hall of and five of the 32. and was a Super Bowl MVP. Yeah, that’s pretty good for a No. 17 Famers. The eighth and 19th spots also have been bountiful, raising The quality of several college programs jumped out, too. Southern pick, better than Gene Upshaw and Doug Williams. hopes for fans of the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants. California and Miami (Fla.) put four guys on this list, Syracuse had three and Florida and Ohio State had two. Sorry, San Francisco 49ers fans, but history shows seventh is a spot to avoid. It’s the first pick that features an overwhelming collection of clunkers. Since ‘67, no Hall of Famer has been drafted at As for the best year, the Class of ‘83 lived up to its hype, putting three guys on this list, more than any other year. The ‘83 crop’s great No. 18 ART MONK WR, Washington Redskins, 1980, Syracuse reputation is primarily for quarterbacks, and this list includes two of It’s often said that Joe Gibbs won Super Bowls with three different No. 7, at least not yet. The same can be said of Nos. 12, 22, 24, 25 those players and a defensive back. quarterbacks. Well, all three threw to Monk. He held the record for and 29-32, although the 29-32 grouping deserves an asterisk because most receptions until Rice came along. The strongest competition those didn’t become first-rounders until the 1990s. Let the debates begin. here are both newcomers with potential for greatness, Joe Flacco These results also validate several things fans already knew, such — Jaime Aron, The Associated Press and Maurkice Pouncey. No. 19 MARVIN HARRISON WR, Indianapolis Colts, 1996, Syracuse No. 1 TERRY BRADSHAW QB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1970, Louisiana Tech No. 10 ROD WOODSON DB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1987, Purdue Suddenly, there’s a run on Syracuse receivers. Harrison had the luxury of being on the receiving end of Peyton Manning’s passes, Marcus Allen and Jerome Bettis had terrific careers, helping teams but he was very good for a very long time, helping the Colts go John Elway, Troy Aikman and win Super Bowls. Bettis was probably the better pick because he from also-rans to Super Bowl champions. He topped a field that Peyton Manning were far more was less of a college standout; Allen, after all, won the Heisman included Jack Tatum, Randall McDaniel and Shaun Alexander. dazzling. Earl Campbell was far Trophy. Yet Woodson trumps them all. An All-Pro at cornerback, more feared. Yet teams draft safety and kick returner, he was voted to the NFL’s all-time team players they think will help them win championships. Bradshaw guided the Steelers to four Super while still playing. He helped the Steelers reach the Super Bowl, then was part of Super Bowl teams for the Raiders and Ravens. No. 20 JACK YOUNGBLOODDE, Los Angeles Rams, 1971, Florida You try telling him that Steve Atwater or Javon Walker were better. Bowl titles and was the MVP in two of those championship games. No. 11 BEN ROETHLISBERGER QB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004, Miami (Ohio) Youngblood played 201 straight games in his Hall of Fame career, and that doesn’t include playing a Super Bowl with a broken leg. Big Ben has guided Pittsburgh to the Super Bowl three times in No. 2 LAWRENCE TAYLOR LB, New York Giants, 1981, North Carolina seven seasons, winning twice. He’s the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl and he’s still only 29. Pretty amazing that there are only two No. 21 LYNN SWANN WR, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1974, USC He changed the course of his team’s history — Super Bowl titles QBs on this list so far, and both were drafted by the Steelers. Swann’s specialty was making the big catch in big games, which earned following the 1986 and 1990 seasons — and changed the way Michael Irvin and Dwight Freeney were also considered for this spot. him this selection over Randy Moss. As great as Moss was in his prime, outside linebackers are used. Heck, he also led to a change in the he was part of a 15-1 Minnesota team that didn’t reach the Super Bowl importance of offensive left tackles. All that earns LT this spot over some other incredible players, such as Randy White, Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson. No. 12 WARREN SAPP DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 1995, Miami (Fla.) and part of a 16-0 New England team that lost the Super Bowl. Voted the top defensive player in college football, he was supposed to be a top-five pick. Then came rumors he’d tested positive for No. 22 JACK REYNOLDS LB, Los Angeles Rams, 1970, Tennessee No. 3 ANTHONY MUNOZ T, Cincinnati Bengals, 1980, USC cocaine and marijuana, causing him to slip in the draft. The Bucs took the risk and were rewarded with a standout career. Between Those Rams sure were good at drafting in the early ‘70s. Along with Youngblood, “Hacksaw” helped the Rams get to the Super Bowl. Barry Sanders was an unbelievable talent, and would’ve been the his success and the mediocre careers of all other No. 12 picks, there Reynolds, however, moved north to San Francisco and won two NFL’s rushing champion had he not retired early. While he made are no runners-up. Super Bowls. The most noteworthy other selection at this spot also more people pay attention to the Detroit Lions, he never got them is known by his nickname: “The Refrigerator.” But William Perry over the top. Munoz was among the greatest blockers in league wasn’t nearly as good for as long. history. His best work was in 1981 and ‘88, years his quarterbacks (Ken Anderson and Boomer Esiason) were NFL MVPs and the No. 13 KELLEN WINSLOW TE, San Diego Chargers, 1979, Missouri Bengals went to the Super Bowl. Tony Gonzalez also was drafted 13th, and he’s broken all of Winslow’s receiving records at tight end. The pioneer at the position gets the No. 23 OZZIE NEWSOME TE, Cleveland Browns, 1978, Alabama nod, though, even over another strong candidate, Franco Harris. As GM of the Ravens, Newsome would love finding a bargain like No. 4 WALTER PAYTON RB, Chicago Bears, 1975, Jackson State himself. He retired with the fourth-most catches in NFL history and wound up in the Hall of Fame, making him the obvious pick over “Sweetness” would be in the discussion of greatest running backs of Ray Guy and Deuce McAllister. (At a weaker draft spot, Guy — a all time, probably the best of the Super Bowl era. His only Super punter — might’ve been an intriguing choice for this list.) Bowl was as part of the ‘85 Bears juggernaut, but his overall dominance makes him an easy choice over fellow Hall of Famers Joe Greene, Derrick Thomas, John Hannah and Bob Griese. No. 24 CALVIN HILL RB, Dallas Cowboys, 1969, Yale The Cowboys might have thought their scouting computer hiccuped No. 5 DEION SANDERS CB, Atlanta Falcons, 1989, Florida State when it claimed an Ivy League running back was one of the best players in college football. They took the chance anyway and were rewarded with the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Hill tied Jim Although “Prime Time” won Super Bowls rings with other franchises, the other guys he’s up against didn’t lead their original teams to Brown’s record for most yards by a rookie and he was second only to Super Bowl titles either. Thus, his overall talent wins him this spot Gale Sayers in the league that season. He helped Dallas reach the over Mike Haynes, Junior Seau and LaDainian Tomlinson. Super Bowl for the first time the next season and win it all the season after that. Aaron Rodgers makes for tough competition here, but as a top-10 talent who was slipping, he wasn’t the draft-day risk Hill was. No. 6 FLOYD LITTLE RB, Denver Broncos, 1967, Syracuse >Lots of really good players have been taken at this spot, yet few who jump out as franchise-changers. Little wins out for all that he No. 25 SANTONIO HOLMESWR, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2006, Ohio State George Rose Getty Images Monica M. Davey Getty Images Geez, another Steeler. But being a Super Bowl MVP gives him the meant to the Broncos in their AFL days and then early NFL years. Others under consideration were John Riggins, James Lofton, Tim 3 Many consider USC’s 16 Jerry Rice was recently credentials to top the other 25th picks, a crop that includes Ted Washington and — wait for it — Tim Tebow. Brown, Walter Jones and Torry Holt. Anthony Munoz, right, the chosen by NFL Network as best offensive lineman ever. the best player of all time. No. 7 ADRIAN PETERSON RB, Minnesota Vikings, 2007, Oklahoma No. 26 RAY LEWIS LB, Baltimore Ravens, 1996, Miami (Fla.) Except for the Colts taking Harrison, it’s hard to imagine what the The youngster is on his way to becoming the first Hall of Famer other teams drafting ahead of the Ravens were thinking in ‘96. Lewis drafted at this spot. The fact the pick is riding on the expectations was a standout player in college who became a two-time NFL for the rest of his career says something about the rest of the defensive player of the year and a Super Bowl MVP. That gives him candidates here. Those also in the conversation include Phil Simms, the nod over Hall of Famer Joe Delamielleure and Dana Stubblefield. Sterling Sharpe, Bryant Young and Champ Bailey. No. 8 RONNIE LOTT DB, San Francisco 49ers, 1981, USC No. 27 DAN MARINO QB, Miami Dolphins, 1983, Pittsburgh Perhaps the greatest value among all first-rounders. No, he didn’t Whether he lined up at cornerback, free safety or strong safety, Lott win a Super Bowl for the Dolphins, but he set virtually every NFL was among the best at his position. Making the All-Decade Team passing record. No other 27th pick comes close. Few other twice puts him among the greatest of any decade. Those four Super first-rounders in any spot do. Bowls he won with the 49ers make him an easy pick over Larry Csonka and Mike Munchak. No. 28 DARRELL GREEN DB, Washington Redskins, 1983, Texas A&I No. 9 BRUCE MATTHEWS G, Houston Oilers, 1983, USC The Redskins may have been hoping Marino fell to them in ‘83. Regardless, they did darn well, getting a speedy cornerback who was He retired having played the most games by a position player in NFL among the NFL’s best for many years and part of the reason Ezra Shaw Getty Images Doug Pizac Getty Images history. And he didn’t just play, he excelled, earning nine All-Pro selections. No wonder he became the rare offensive lineman 17 Emmitt Smith finished 20 Jack Youngblood, left, Washington won two Super Bowls and played for another title during his career. Derrick Brooks is another No. 28 pick who had a welcomed into the Hall of Fame the first time he went on the ballot. as the all-time rushing king helped anchor the Rams’ distinguished career, but not as spectacular as Green’s. A no-brainer pick over Brian Urlacher. with three Super Bowl titles. defensive line for 14 years. No. 29 NICK MANGOLD C, New York Jets, 2006, Ohio State After a string of Hall of Famers, a mere two-time All-Pro will have to suffice now that we’re getting into the spots that are first-round BEST OF THE REST newcomers. This pick reached top-tier status in 1993, and Mangold >>> THE BEST PICK FOR THE SECOND THROUGH SEVENTH ROUNDS: is the best of the bunch by helping the Jets get within a game of the last two Super Bowls. Nick Barnett and Michael Jenkins are SECOND ROUND: JACK LAMBERT FIFTH ROUND: MIKE WEBSTER next-best contenders. LB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1974 C, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1974 The face of the most dominant defense of his era, the Steel Curtain, Lambert was the successor to Dick Butkus as the most fearsome The anchor of the Steel Curtain teams and a nine-time Pro Bowl choice who also played for the Chiefs, Webster was rugged, versatile and No. 30 REGGIE WAYNE WR, Indianapolis Colts, 2001, Miami (Fla.) Kudos to Peyton Manning for helping put another guy on this list, defensive player in the game. He won four Super clever. He was equally adept as a pass protector even if he’s not on here himself. Wayne went from excelling Bowls with Pittsburgh and entered the Pro and run blocker and was especially durable, alongside Harrison to proving worthy of taking over as the main Football Hall of Fame in 1990. playing in 245 games. Webster was inducted man, keeping the Colts near the top of the NFL and getting them to into the Hall of Fame in 1997. another Super Bowl. He beats a solid field that includes teammate THIRD ROUND: JOE MONTANA Joseph Addai, Heath Miller and Keith Bulluck. QB, San Francisco 49ers, 1979 SIXTH ROUND: TOM BRADY >>> The perfect quarterback for Bill Walsh’s West QB, New England Patriots, 2000 Coast Offense, Montana was as precise as any passer in NFL history. An unshakable leader who performed his best in tight situations, he led the A backup to start his career, Brady replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe early in the 2001 season and guided the Patriots to their first of three No. 31 NNAMDI ASOMUGHA S, Oakland Raiders, 2003, California Welcome to the party, Raiders. Alas, this great pick is likely to leave 49ers to four championships in nine seasons and Super Bowl wins in four seasons. Brady has won the club when free agency begins. They’ve already made the was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. two NFL MVP awards and holds several passing two-time All-Pro, and NFL man of the year for all his off-field good marks, including 50 TD passes in 2007. He deeds, the highest-paid defensive back. Now he’s expected to cash FOURTH ROUND: STEVE LARGENT guided New England to an undefeated 2007 in again. His toughest competition here was Todd Heap. WR, Houston Oilers, 1976 record before losing in the Super Bowl. Largent played only four preseason games with Houston before being traded to the expansion Seattle Seahawks for an eighth-round draft pick. One of the best route runners the game has SEVENTH ROUND: SHANNON SHARPE TE, Denver Broncos, 1990 Sharpe won two Super Bowls with Denver and No. 32 LOGAN MANKINS G, New England Patriots, 2005, Fresno State The way this powerhouse club has been built, it’s fitting that its only seen, Largent also had great hands and a another with Baltimore as a dangerous receiving appearance on this list is with an interior offensive lineman taken surpassing knowledge of defenses. He made threat. When he retired in 2003, he held several with the final pick of the first round, out of a non-BCS school. receptions in 177 games, then a record, and had receiving records for the position. His blocking Mankins is a two-time All-Pro who protects Tom Brady (a 100 touchdown catches. Largent made the Hall improved throughout his career, and he made the sixth-rounder, by the way). Other guys up for this choice were of Fame in 1995. Hall of Fame this year. Mathias Kiwanuka and Anthony Gonzalez.
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