Draft Day Minus 3: Jason Hanson is the 3rd Best Draft Pick Ever

As a draft pick, Jason Hanson was good for three.

It is not fair to hold players responsible for their value as draft picks. Warren Moon proved to be an excellent NFL quarterback, but he went undrafted, played in the Canadian Football League, and then finally got a shot with the Oilers. Racism might explain why the NFL overlooked him, but it wasn’t Moon’s fault they didn’t give him a shot. The Dallas Cowboys drafted fullback Todd Christenson, but it was the Raiders who turned him into a tight end. He then led the NFL in receptions twice.

Brett Favre’s value as a draft pick plummeted when the Falcons gave up on him after one season and two games. If he played his entire career in Atlanta and appeared in as many games, he would have finished as one of the greatest picks ever. Instead, Favre became just another good draft pick.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, linebacker Monte Coleman rarely started over his long career, but played well on special teams and won three Super Bowls with the Redskins. Literally, dozens of better linebackers entered the NFL during Coleman’s career, but few had the good fortune to possess the right mix of luck and durability to end up providing depth on a series of great teams. Coleman made the Redskins better and deeper, but he wasn’t as good as Lance Briggs, for example, a better linebacker for the Bears who nonetheless was not as good a draft pick as Coleman. If Lance Briggs had been drafted by the Giants he might have won two Super Bowl rings, and if Coleman played for anybody but Joe Gibbs, Coleman probably wouldn’t have lasted so long.

This takes me to kicker Jason Hanson. Hanson played in a remarkable three hundred twenty-seven games, all with Detroit. If the Cowboys drafted Hanson in 1992 he would have won three Super Bowls and, assuming the same long career in a Dallas uniform, would be the greatest draft pick ever. Hanson’s lot was to play for Detroit, a franchise that never really put the pieces together, so his great kicking talent was somewhat wasted. He put in the work and the training to do his job well, but the rest of the organization failed to match his excellence. We’ll never know if Joe Montana would have been the same great quarterback without Bill Walsh, or if Walter Payton would have gained 20,000 yards playing for Don Coryell and with Dan Fouts instead of Neil Armstrong (the football coach, not the astronaut), and nominal quarterback Bob Avelini. It is both hard to imagine and easy to imagine Payton would have been even better had he spent the early part of his career on a better team.

I don’t think Hanson could have been much better as a kicker, but if the Lions had reached the Super Bowl a time or two during Hanson’s career, he might have been the greatest draft choice ever. As it stands, he was the third best ever, and a damn great pick.

Rank N/Y Team Last Name First Name P College PTS AY DY AG DG SB1 SB2 SB3 SB4 HOF ADCS
3 5692 Detroit Hanson Jason KK Washington State 3 21 21 327 327 0 0 0 0 0 0
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. Jason Hanson was the 56th pick taken in 1992 (5692).

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. Detroit earned 3 points because they took Hanson 56th.

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 Lions scored 0 points because Hanson 0 played in 0 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 2 kickers won a Super Bowl and led the NFL in field goals made in the same season?

Player Team Year
1 Mark Moseley Redskins 1982
2 Chip Lohmiller Redskins 1991

 

 

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