Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And with the first pick in the NFL Draft...

When your team gets the #1 pick in the NFL draft, you're usually excited (minus the fact that means your team probably just finished 2-14). You are excited because it means you can select absolutely any player that you want. However, that player doesn't always turn out how you would like. Let's take a trip down memory lane and see what the first overall picks have looked like in recent years...

*Next to the name its (position-college-nfl team that drafted them)

2007: JaMarcus Russell (QB-LSU-OAK)

Hasn't played a snap yet even in the preseason because of a holdout. Not a great sign as he's the only 1st rounder not to sign as of now. It is said though that he'll be signed by the end of the week.

2006: Mario Williams (DE-NCST-HOU)

Had a mediocre rookie season, tallying 4.5 sacks but the main focus of this draft is how Reggie Bush wasn't the #1 overall pick. Then again, Houston has already blown a 1st overall selection before.

2005: Alex Smith (QB-UTAH-SF)

Was a bit shaky his first year throwing 1 TD with 11 INTs but he started to turn it around in 2006 changing that 1-11 line to 16-16 along with a couple scores on the ground. Threw for over 2800 yards last year as well and seems like a pretty safe bet (if he stays healthy) to top 3000 this year.

2004: Eli Manning (QB-MISS-SD)

Immediately traded to the Giants for a ton of picks. Did help lead them to a division title in 2005 but the team hasn't really lived up to expectations. Though he has thrown 24 TDs in the last two seasons, he hasn't been what he was hyped up to be coming out of college.

2003: Carson Palmer (QB-USC-CIN)

This guy's arm is amazing. While he is not very mobile, in his second year as a starter in 2005, he threw 32 TDs and over 3800 yards. After blowing out his knee against the Steelers in the playoffs that year, he bounced back to start all of Cincinnati's games in 2006, throwing for over 4000 yards. It is still early but Carson has HOF potential.

2002: David Carr (QB-FRESNO-HOU)

Accomplished pretty much nothing as the franchise player in Houston. You cannot hold him entirely accountable because his offensive line was always beyond horrendous but he wore out his welcome and was finally cut this past March. He currently resides on the Carolina bench.

2001: Michael Vick (QB-VT-ATL)

When he was drafted, many people though he would be the best player of his era. He showed many flashes of brilliance and finally seemed to be building his reputation as a passer as well as a runner. Now, the next time he plays football, it will be out in the jail yard.

2000: Courtney Brown (DE-PSU-CLE)

Showed great promise during his rookie season but was never the same after getting injured during his second year. Things started to turn around for him in Denver during the 2005 season but he tore his ACL in the 2006 pre-season and has not played a down since. Courtney is basically all but retired at this point.

1999: Tim Couch (QB-UK-CLE)

As was the case with Carr, starting out with a brand new franchise is very difficult and Couch wasn't up to the task. Things aren't looking any better for him as he was just cut by the Jags a couple of weeks ago and now admitted to taking HGH (aka steroids) to help him 'recover' from an injury...sure.

1998: Peyton Manning (QB-TEN-IND)

Sure thing Hall of Famer and now a Super Bowl Champion. And to think they were considering to draft Ryan Leaf...

1997: Orlando Pace (OL-OSU-STL)

This 6'7" monster has been selected to the Pro Bowl the past 7 years. Arguably the best lineman in the game today.

1996: Keyshawn Johnson (WR-USC-NYJ)

He had some solid years and was always a dependable receiver but he was never a completely dominant (ala T.O., Marvin Harrison) type. His outspokenness did not make him many friends as well...especially when he went after my favorite NFL player of all time, Wayne Chrebet (sorry, had to stick that in there).

1995: Ki-Jana Carter (RB-PSU-CIN)

I will conclude with the last running back selected first overall. Came out of dear old State with plenty of promise but blew out his knee on the 3rd carry of his first ever pre-season game and was never able to become the big time back he was expected to be. Commonly referred to as one of the biggest first overall busts of all time though I feel that assessment is slightly unfair due to his injury.

So in the end, you can see how much of a mixed bag first overall picks have been in the past. When these players are drafted, they are as hyped up as can be and full of promise but that does not always pan out in the end. Every now and then you select great players such as Peyton and Palmer but this just goes to show how the first overall pick guarantees your franchise absolutely nothing.

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