Draft Day Minus 4: Jerry Rice is the 4th Best Draft Pick

About 85% of Jerry Rice’s touchdown catches were thrown by Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks, which is more touchdowns than anybody caught from all quarterbacks.

Jerry Rice caught one hundred ninety-seven touchdown passes in his career, one hundred seventy-six with the 49ers. I don’t know exactly how many were thrown by quarterbacks other than Joe Montana or Steve Young, but let’s call it ten. That would mean Rice caught one hundred sixty-six touchdowns from Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks, which is more touchdowns ever caught by any other receiver under any conditions.

Rice also played in more NFL games, three hundred three, than any other player who wasn’t a kicker or a punter. He played two hundred thirty-eight with San Francisco and sixty-five with Oakland and Seattle. If he played all his games with San Francisco he would have ended his career as the single best draft pick ever, but currently, he ranks fourth.

I recently wrote about the great Larry Fitzgerald who currently ranks as the fortieth best draft pick ever. Fitzgerald currently has one hundred sixteen touchdown receptions over a fifteen-year career, but fifty-one of those touchdowns came during a five-year span when Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner was his main quarterback. When not playing with Warner, Fitzgerald averaged 6.5 touchdowns, versus ten with Warner.

It caused me to wonder who caught the most touchdowns without the benefit of a Hall-of-Fame quarterback. The heavyweight champ seems to be Cris Carter, although he caught most of his one hundred thirty from Donovan McNabb, a borderline candidate for Canton. Next in line is a tie between Tim Brown and Steve Largent, both with an even one hundred. Tim Brown ranks as the eleventh best draft pick ever, but Largent is buried deep within the mass of NFL draft picks. Chosen by the Oilers with the 117th pick, Largent played two hundred NFL games, all with Seattle, so Houston got no value from him. His career total was two hundred seventy points on my scorecard. If he played all of those games with Houston, he would have scored four hundred eighty points and would have ranked as the fiftieth best draft pick ever.

For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll consider both of the Mannings, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers Hall-of-Famers, so that eliminates Reggie Wayne and all the other receivers Peyton Manning threw to, Antonio Gates and all the other receivers Rivers threw to, and Hines Ward and all the other receivers Roethlisberger threw to. Who caught the most touchdowns without catching one from a Hall-of-Fame quarterback?

4 1685 San Francisco Rice Jerry WR Mississippi Valley State 1 20 16 303 238 20 20 20 1 50 689
5 983 Houston Matthews Bruce OT USC 1 19 19 296 296 1 0 0 0 50 682
6 8682 New Orleans Andersen Morton KK Michigan State 5 25 13 382 196 1 0 0 0 50 672
7 12574 Pittsburgh Webster Mike OC Wisconsin 7 17 15 245 220 17 17 17 17 50 622
8 8676 Los Angeles Slater Jackie OG Jackson State 5 20 20 259 259 1 0 0 0 50 614
9 1700 Oakland Janikowski Sebastian KK Florida State 1 18 17 284 268 1 0 0 0 0 589
10 185 Buffalo Smith Bruce DE Virginia Tech 1 19 15 279 217 1 1 1 1 50 585
11 688 Los Angeles Brown Tim WR Notre Dame 1 17 16 255 240 1 0 0 0 50 580
12 2696 Baltimore Lewis Ray LB Miami (FL) 2 17 17 228 228 17 17 0 0 50 576
13 2783 Miami Marino Dan QB Pittsburgh 2 17 17 242 242 1 0 0 0 50 571
14 1880 Washington Monk Art WR Syracuse 1 16 14 224 205 16 1 16 16 50 559
15 1790 Dallas Smith Emmitt RB Florida 1 15 13 226 201 15 15 15 0 50 551
16 1278 Cleveland Matthews Clay LB USC 1 19 16 278 232 0 0 0 0 0 546
16 590 San Diego Seau Junior LB USC 1 19 13 261 200 1 1 0 0 50 546
16 1767 Oakland Upshaw Gene OT Texas A & I 1 15 15 217 217 1 15 15 0 50 546
19 8685 Buffalo Reed Andre WR Kutztown State 5 16 15 234 221 1 1 1 1 50 545
19 4093 New York Strahan Michael DE Texas Southern 2 15 15 216 216 1 15 15 0 50 545
21 4169 Atlanta Van Note Jeff OC Kentucky 14 18 18 246 246 0 0 0 0 0 542
22 2895 Tampa Bay Brooks Derrick LB Florida State 2 14 14 224 224 14 0 0 0 50 542
23 198 Indianapolis Manning Peyton QB Tennessee 1 17 14 265 208 17 1 1 17 0 541
24 1397 Kansas City Gonzalez Tony TE California 1 17 12 270 190 0 0 0 0 50 540
25 7093 Denver Elam Jason PT Hawaii 4 16 14 252 220 16 16 0 0 0 538
26 1378 Atlanta Kenn Mike OT Michigan 1 17 17 251 251 0 0 0 0 0 537
26 5370 Pittsburgh Blount Mel DB Southern (LA) 3 14 14 200 200 14 14 14 14 50 537
28 2373 Oakland Guy Ray PT Southern Mississippi 2 14 14 207 207 14 14 14 0 50 536
29 6697 Tampa Bay Barber Ronde DB Virginia 4 16 16 241 241 16 0 0 0 0 534
30 18998 Chicago Mannelly Patrick OT Duke 10 16 16 245 245 1 0 0 0 0 533
31 14200 Oakland Lechler Shane PT Texas A&M 8 18 13 286 206 1 0 0 0 0 532
32 7968 Oakland Shell Art OT Maryland-Eastern Shore 4 15 15 207 207 15 15 0 0 50 528
33 28979 Washington Coleman Monte LB Central Arkansas 15 16 16 215 215 16 1 16 16 0 526
34 5181 New Orleans Jackson Rickey LB Pittsburgh 3 15 13 227 195 15 0 0 0 50 518
35 275 Dallas White Randy DT Maryland 1 14 14 209 209 1 14 1 0 50 513
36 6903 Dallas Witten Jason TE Tennessee 4 15 15 239 239 0 0 0 0 0 512
37 1003 Baltimore Suggs Terrell DE Arizona State 1 16 16 229 229 16 0 0 0 0 507
38 7668 Houston Bethea Elvin OT North Carolina A&T 4 16 16 210 210 0 0 0 0 50 506
39 8379 San Francisco Montana Joe QB Notre Dame 5 15 13 192 167 15 15 15 15 50 502
40 304 Arizona Fitzgerald Larry WR Pittsburgh 1 15 15 234 234 1 0 0 0 0 500
41 174 Dallas Jones Ed DE Tennessee State 1 15 15 224 224 1 15 1 0 0 496
41 9298 Pittsburgh Ward Hines WR Georgia 5 14 14 217 217 14 14 1 0 0 496
43 1104 Pittsburgh Roethlisberger Ben QB Miami (OH) 1 15 15 216 216 15 15 1 0 0 494
44 469 Pittsburgh Greene Joe DT North Texas 1 13 13 181 181 13 13 13 13 50 491
45 168 Minnesota Yary Ron OT USC 1 15 14 207 199 1 1 1 1 50 490
46 10072 Oakland Dalby Dave OC UCLA 5 14 14 205 205 14 14 14 0 0 485
47 2071 Los Angeles Youngblood Jack DE Florida 1 14 14 202 202 1 0 0 0 50 484
48 4694 Dallas Allen Larry OG Sonoma State 3 14 13 203 187 13 0 0 0 50 483
48 16680 Detroit Murray Eddie KK Tulane 9 19 12 250 174 19 0 0 0 0 483
50 3280 Baltimore Donaldson Ray OC Georgia 2 17 12 244 184 17 0 0 0 0 476
51 30267 New York J Rasmussen Randy OG Nebraska-Kearney 16 15 15 207 207 15 0 0 0 0 475
52 685 Detroit Brown Lomas OT Florida 1 18 10 263 164 18 0 0 0 0 474
53 2378 Cleveland Newsome Ozzie TE Alabama 2 13 13 198 198 0 0 0 0 50 474
54 170 Pittsburgh Bradshaw Terry QB Louisiana Tech 1 14 14 168 168 14 14 14 14 50 471
55 475 Chicago Payton Walter RB Jackson State 1 13 13 190 190 13 0 0 0 50 470
56 5001 Detroit Raiola Dominic OC Nebraska 3 14 14 219 219 0 0 0 0 0 469
56 8274 Pittsburgh Stallworth John WR Alabama A&M 5 14 14 165 165 14 14 14 14 50 469

 

Key:

Rank:     Where the player ranks among all draft picks taken in the Super Bowl era.

N/Y:       The draft pick number and year. Jerry Rice was the 16th pick taken in 1985 (1685).

Team:

Player:

Pos:       Position

School:

PTS:       All picks chosen between 1 and 20 gain the team one point if the player makes the team.  Every twenty picks add one more point. San Francisco earned 1 point because they took Rice 16th.

DY:         All years played for the team that drafted the player.

AG:        All games played in the NFL.

DG:        All games played for the team that drafted the player.

SB1:       Every time a player wins a Super Bowl ring, the team gets one point for every year of that player’s NFL service.  The 49ers scored 61 points because Rice played in 4 Super Bowls and lost 1.  Since Tom Brady played in nine Super Bowls, his chart goes from SB1 to SB9.

HOF:      The team earns 50 points if their pick makes the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

ADCS:    The total points a team earned for choosing a given player. If the draft pick never plays in the NFL, the team scores a zero. 2 other players earned as high or higher scores than Jerry Rice.

 

*The actual draft score belongs to the team that drafted the player. Even though Eli Manning won two Super Bowls with the Giants, he was actually drafted by the Chargers, so the Chargers get the credit for drafting him. If Manning achieved his career in a Chargers’ uniform, San Diego/Los Angeles would have gotten a higher score for drafting him.

The Answer to today’s trivia question. Which seven players caught seventy-five or more touchdowns without ever catching one from a Hall-of-Fame quarterback? The Manning brothers, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger HOFers.

Rank Receivers TDs
1 Cris Carter 130 *Donovan McNabb?
2 Tim Brown 100
2 Steve Largent 100
4 Brandon Marshall 83
5 Steve Smith 81 *Joe Flacco?
6 Harold Carmichael 79
7 Joey Galloway 77
8 Harold Jackson 76

 

 

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