On Monday, Shutdown Corner looked through the past 25 years of the NFL draft and selected the 10 worst picks in every drafting position from No. 1 through No. 10. Today, we look at the 10 best selections to come from each of the top slots.
Projecting future statistics and achievements are generally a fool's errand (right, Tiger Woods?), but it doesn't take much imagination to figure that Manning could finish his career as the leader in every major passing category. Hopefully, he'll manage to do this without embarrassing himself and alienating the general public. (Right, Brett Favre(notes)?) And to think, there was legitimate discussion as to whether Ryan Leaf should have gone No. 1 that year.
2. Marshall Faulk, RB, Indianapolis Colts, 1994
The pickings are surprisingly slim at No. 2. Tony Boselli was the perfect pick for Jacksonville in the team's first-ever draft, but injuries cut short his career. That left Faulk as the obvious choice. For three years around the turn of last century, the Rams running back was the best player in football.
3. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions, 1989
In his 10 seasons, Sanders never rushed for fewer than 1,100 yards. (And in the season he rushed for his career low of 1,115, the Detroit Lions back only played 11 games.) He was a 10-time Pro Bowler, six-time first-team All-Pro and a textbook example of how to leave the game on top. (By the way, the first five players taken in the 1989 draft were Aikman, Tony Mandarich, Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders. Not a bad haul.)
A tough call between Woodson, Jonathan Ogden and Derrick Thomas. In the end, Woodson's longevity narrowly wins out.
Don't let his lackluster final years obscure from the fact that Junior Seau was once the most feared linebacker in the league. He made six All-Pro teams during his time with the Chargers and somehow managed to pull off this hairstyle.
Sorry, Cleveland fans: The sixth pick of the draft has traditionally been where a drop-off in talent begins. Unless Vernon Davis(notes) picks up career momentum or Torry Holt(notes) sneaks in at some point, Seattle's Jones is the only No. 6 pick of the last quarter-century that has a chance of reaching Canton. (Tim Brown(notes) could theoretically get in, but don't hold your breath on that one, Al Davis.)
Honorable mention: Torry Holt (1999), Tim Brown (1988)
In a few years, Adrian Peterson may wrestle this spot away. For now, it's Champ. It was always said of the Georgia product that he was a shutdown corner. For a while, the numbers didn't bear that out. He had 18 interceptions in a two-year stretch, a sign that teams were throwing his way, frequently. Opposing coaches got the picture. Now you can go a whole Broncos game without hearing Bailey's name called.
Honorable mention: Adrian Peterson (2007), Troy Vincent (1992), Sterling Sharpe (1988)
8. Willie Roaf, T, New Orleans Saints, 1993
Honorable mention: Joey Galloway (1995), Leslie O'Neal (1986)
My favorite Urlacher fact: In a 2003 game against the Redskins, he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass that would prove to be the winning score.
10. Rod Woodson, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1987
Speaking of versatile, Woodson starred as a corner for Pittsburgh before reinventing himself as a safety in Baltimore. His 17 non-offensive touchdowns are second in NFL history behind Deion Sanders.
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Posted Jul 2 2012
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