Draft Day Minus 10: Bruce Smith is the 10th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Only 32 men recorded 100+ sacks. Bruce Smith did it twice. Bruce Smith played for nineteen years and recorded twelve sacks or more in eight of those seasons. It compares rather favorably to baseball’s Henry Aaron and Aaron’s RBI totals. In twenty-three years Aaron drove in one hundred or more RBI’s eleven times. I like the idea of a clearly defined level of greatness, and twelve sacks seem to…

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Draft Day Minus 11: Tim Brown is the 11th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet For a nearly a generation Tim Brown was the only great Raider draft pick. From 1965 through 1985 the Raiders had more stars than the night sky. When the golden run ended, the Raiders became, first, just another NFL team, and, ultimately, one of the worst run teams in the NFL. The trade of perhaps the premier pass rusher in the league last year, Kahlil Mack, underscored the continuing…

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Draft Day Minus 15: Art Monk is the 14th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Art Monk was better than anyone who came before him but blossomed in the shadow of Jerry Rice. Art Monk found an odd niche in the pantheon of great wide receivers. He was the last of the old school great wide receivers, more like Paul Warfield or John Stallworth than Jerry Rice. Monk enjoyed one truly great, modern season, 1984, when he caught one hundred six passes for over…

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Draft Day Minus 16: Emmitt Smith was the 15th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Emmitt Smith owns the best numbers. Was he the best back ever? I’ve heard that, when asked who the better halfback was, Emmitt Smith defers to Walter Payton and says Payton was the best ever. Smith may be simply be talking modestly or he may actually believe Payton was the better of the two. I believe Payton was the best back ever although Smith’s numbers were slightly better. As…

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Draft Day Minus 17: Clay Matthews Sr. was the *16th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Why is Clay Matthews Sr. on the defensive when it comes Hall of Fame consideration? An amateur scout whose opinion I respected once told me he thought Clay Matthews Sr. was a good linebacker but nothing special, and so not worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. The thing was, Matthews played in the NFL for nineteen seasons so he must have been pretty good in the prime of his…

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Draft Day Minus 18: Junior Seau is the *17th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Junior Seau personified the best and the worst of NFL football. With the possible exception of Pittsburgh Steelers’ center Mike Webster, no player personifies the NFL, for better and worse, than San Diego Chargers’ linebacker Junior Seau.  Seau attended USC, the single greatest source of NFL players on Draft Day. Since 1967, and I assume ever, more players entered the NFL via the Trojans’ program. Of all USC alumni…

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Draft Day Minus 19: Gene Upshaw was the *18th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Pete Rozelle, RePete Rozelle, and go away for Pete’s sake. Today’s post takes on the form of the good, the bad, and the other.  For the past couple of days, I had to deal with grades and report cards, so I had to skip a couple of posts. The twentieth best pick on Thursday was Michael Strahan, and the nineteenth best pick was Andre Reed, the first playing in…

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Draft Day Minus 22: Derrick Brooks is the 22nd Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet Can three great defensive players make a team competitive for a decade? In 1995 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted two hall-of-famers, Warren Sapp and today’s addition to the list of great draft picks, Derrick Brooks. Two years later the Bucs also drafted Ronde Barber, another great player. For the next decade, the Buccaneers had great defenses, including one good enough to win the Super Bowl in 2002. At about…

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Draft Day Minus 23: Peyton Manning is the 23rd Best Draft Pick, with a Bullet

Tweet As far as Peyton Manning goes, he was great, but I have the nagging sense he got lucky when he won his two Super Bowls. Since 1967 and the start of the modern NFL draft, teams drafted quarterbacks with the number one overall pick twenty-one times. Of the twenty-one, six are still active. Of the retired number one quarterbacks, eight have Super Bowl rings, and seven don’t. Complicating things…

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Draft Day Minus 24: Tony Gonzalez

Tweet Running backs are no longer running the show. To gray beards like me, the idea of trading a very good running back still in his prime for a sixth-round pick seems heretical, but that’s what the Bears did. It is indicative of how far the game moved away from the ground game as the primary aspect of the offense. After looking a few random numbers, I came away with…

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Draft Day Minus 25: Jason Elam is the 25th Best Draft Pick Ever

Tweet The Broncos went to Eight Super Bowls with fewer stars than the Steelers, Cowboys, and Patriots.   In the Super Bowl era the Denver Broncos played for the championship eight times, a mark exceeded only by the Patriots who went eleven times. The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers also went eight times, so the Broncos rank as one of the more successful franchises in the Super Bowl era. During…

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