Past NFL Draft Picks – Hit or Miss
As much as the Mel Kipers of the world try to convince us otherwise, the NFL Draft is a highly inexact science. Need proof? Just look at some of the prominent Draft Day hit and misses from the last decade. And these aren’t obscure fourth rounders; each player listed below was selected in the first 10 picks of the first round.
Hit: 3. Houston Oilers – Steve McNair, QB, Alcorn State
“Air” McNair has been the foundation of the Oilers/Titans franchise and was named co-MVP in 2003. He also led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, commanding one of the greatest last-second drives in Super Bowl history – only to come up one yard short against the Rams.
Miss: 1.Cincinnati Bengals – Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Penn State
Missed entire rookie year after suffering a knee injury in preseason. Rushed for only 1,144 yards and 20 touchdowns over 57 games with the Bengals, Redskins and Saints.
Hit: 4. Baltimore Ravens – Jonathan Ogden, LT, UCLA
Under the direction of Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens drafted the team’s two cornerstones in 1996, taking Ogden at No. 4 and then Miami linebacker Ray Lewis at No. 26 overall.
Miss: 6. St. Louis Rams – Lawrence Phillips, RB, Nebraska
In 35 games with the Rams, Dolphins and 49ers, Phillips rushed for 1,453 yards, on 3.4 yards per carry, and 14 touchdowns. Out of the NFL since 1999, Phillips has had successful stints in the CFL and NFL Europe.
Hit: 1. St. Louis Rams – Orlando Pace, LT, Ohio State
Won Super Bowl XXXIV and was an integral part of three MVP awards (Kurt Warner in ’99 and ’01, Marshall Faulk in ’00).
Miss: 9. Arizona Cardinals – Tommy Knight, CB, Iowa
In 73 games, Knight accumulated only three interceptions and 2.5 sacks with the Cardinals, Ravens and Rams.
Hit: 1.Indianaplois Colts – Peyton Manning, QB, Tennessee
Named MVP in 2004 and co-MVP in 2003, Manning now owns the single-season NFL records for touchdown passes (49) and passer rating (121.1) after a brilliant 2004 season.
Miss: 2.San Diego Chargers – Ryan Leaf, QB, Washington State
Leaf played in 25 games with the Chargers, Cowboys and Seahawks, finishing his career with 3,666 passing yards, 48.8 completion percentage, 14 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and a 50.0 passer rating.
Hit: 2. Philadelphia Eagle – Donovan McNabb, QB, Syracuse
Was booed on draft day by Philly fans who wanted the Eagles to draft Texas running back Ricky Williams. Has since led the Eagles to four consecutive NFC Championship Games and Super Bowl XXXIX last year.
Miss: 3. Cincinnati Bengals – Akili Smith, QB, Oregon
Drafted ahead of UFC quarterback Daunte Culpepper (No.11). In 22 games, Smith passed for 2,212 yards, five touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He will get another shot in the NFL after signing with Tampa Bay in
February. He spent time this spring playing in NFL Europe.
Hit: 5. Baltimore Ravens – Jamel Lewis, RB, Tennessee
In 2003, Lewis joined O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders and Terrell Davis as only the fifth running back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season.
Miss: 1. Cleveland Browns – Courtney Brown, DE, Penn State
After drafting Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch with the No.1 overall pick in ’99, the Browns drafted Brown No.1 overall in ’00. Did not
live up to his surname )Paul, Jim, etc.) in Cleveland, recording 17 sacks in 47 games over 5 seasons. Is now a member of the Denver Broncos.
Hit: 5. San Diego Chargers – LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU
The Chargers passed up a chance to draft Viginia
Tech quarterback Michael Vick, trading with Atlanta to acquire Tomlinson, quarterback Drew Brees and kick returner Tim Dwight. In only 4 seasons, L.T. has 5,899 rushing yards, 2,022 receiving yards and 60 total touchdowns.
Miss: 3. Cleveland Browns – Gerard Warren, DT, Florida
Though Warren produced 16.5 sacks in 60 games over four seasons, he was not worth the price tag (or the No.3 overall pick) and followed the rest of the Browns defensive front to Denver this offseason.
Hit: 2. Carolina Panthers – Julius Peppers, DE, North Carolina
In only 44 games over 3 seasons, Peppers has 30 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. He also helped lead the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Miss: 6. Kansas City Chiefs – Ryan Sims, DT, North Carolina
Peppers college teammate was the first defensive tackle selected – ahead of Tennessee’s duo of John Henderson (No.9) and Albert Haynesworth (No.15). Has record 5 sacks in 37 games.
Hit: 10. Baltimore Ravens – Terrell Suggs, LB, Arizona State
A classic case of over-analyzing measurables rather than game tape. Suggs was labeled a ‘tweener and fell to the Ravens, where he has 22.5 sacks and 7 forced fumbles in 32 games over two seasons.
Miss: 6. New Orleans Saints – Johnathan Sullivan, DT, Georgia
In 21 games over two seasons, Sullivan has only 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble for the inconsistent Saints.
Hit: 10. Houston Texans – Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina
A tremendous playmaker, Robinson recorded six interceptions for 146 yard (24.3 yards per return) and three sacks in his rookie season.
Miss: 6. Cleveland Browns – Kellen Winslow II, TE, Miami
Played in two games as a rookie before breaking his leg. Was involved in a motorcycle accident the May, putting his 2005 season – and possibly his career – in jeopardy.