I’m going to open some wounds, and allow a few rays of self-congradulatory behavior sneak through. It’s time to review some rookie draft picks. I compiled picks for nine years of rookie picks, 648 total players (don’t you love it when a football writer shows that he can do basic math?), and it’s time for some life lessons.
Because this offseason is the same length as all of them, but only seems seventeen billion years longer because the NFL draft is in May instead of April, we have a lot of time on our hands. Because I have no interest in picking fights with other writers, instead of tweeting “Stephen Hill” or “Dorin Dickerson” to Davis Mattek every half hour, it’s time to do a best of and a worst of.
It’s no fun to look at the glory boys, the first rounders, a horrifying percentage of which have had as much NFL impact as a mascot. I’m going to start with the 6th round (picks 61-72) and work my way back. I’ll show the best and worst picks for each draft slot.
What can you expect in the 6th round of a rookie draft? We do IDP, which just cost me half my audience (sorry, Fred). You can occasionally find a first-round NFL draft pick, usually a defensive tackle or cornerback. If you’re taking a “skill position” guy, it’s a total shot in the dark, but you’ll see that every once in a while, a gem pops out.
With pick 6.01, we have a dilemma that comes up only a few times in the past decade. One of the players retired before he made it to training camp. Let’s show the picks:
2005: Matt Roth, DE Dolphins
2006: Willie Reid, WR Steelers
2007: Micheal Okwo, LB Bears
2008: Brad Cottam, TE Chiefs
2009: Malcolm Jenkins, S Saints
2010: Taylor Mays, S 49ers
2011: Johnny White, RB Bills
2012: Whitney Mercilus, LB Texans
2013: Ryan Swope, WR Cardinals
Swope retired on July 25, 2013. Is that better than Cottam’s 16/183/0 career line in two years? How about Reid’s 54 career yards from scrimmage? I have three more career receiving yards than Johnny White. Mercilus still has a chance to be an impact OLB for the Texans, although that’s unlikely. We’ll go with the first-rounder Jenkins with his 276 career tackles and two touchdowns, which are two more than any of the offensive players taken in this spot.
I won’t list every player taken at the position, because I respect your time. 6.02 is a much easier selection, at least for the best player. Dennis Pitta was selected 62nd overall in the 2010 rookie draft (Ed Dickson went three picks earlier). I personally like his 2010 split of one catch for one yard. Pitta was a 2012 TE1 and in 2013 broke poor CD Carter’s heart. Worst has to go to Ingle Martin. Because I like to beat jokes to death, I have five more career NFL rushing yards than Martin.
Best: If I asked RotoViz, the best pick would clearly be Charles Johnson, although after an ACL tear the love affair has cooled. Proving that Bill Belichick doesn’t blow all of his draft picks, Chandler Jones had 11.5 sacks last year.
Worst: I had high hopes for Omar Jacobs. The Steelers struggle with mid-round QBs, so Landry Jones, I’d rent.
Best: Who drafts a 3-4 DE in a rookie draft? Apparently my dad does. JJ Watt might be good at his job.
Worst: The New Orleans Saints took Mike Hass of Oregon State with the 171st overall pick in the 6th round and he never recorded an NFL stat.
Best: Navorro Bowman was the second ILB the 49ers took in the 2010 draft. For some reason, if an NFL team drafts two guys at one position, the second guy has a decent shot at being the better guy (see Dennis Pitta).
Worst: Jarrett Dillard did score that one TD in 2011.
Best: This is another “pick of death”, as the “best” guy is Colin McCarthy. He was good for about eight games in his rookie year and has been injury-plagued ever since.
Worst: I go with a tie between Tom Brandstater and Dan “I have the LeFevour for the flavor of a Pringles”. Brandstater did appear in one NFL game.
Best: Cameron Jordan earned his first Pro Bowl bid this year and could be the rare valuable 3-4 DE.
Worst: Frank “the tank” Summers broke through as the Bills’ starting fullback this year. Don’t draft a fullback.
Best: Who else has an index named after him? Jacob Tame has been fantasy-relevant for at least ten games, that’s like Hall of Fame production for a sixth-round rookie pick.
Best: I was about to say Stephen Gostkowski (take a kicker in a rookie draft and you should have to drink a swimming pool of sun-warmed PBR), but James Jones saved me. 37 TDs? Most 6th rounders don’t get 37 career yards.
Worst: Even though Lavelle Hawkins went with this pick, he had more catches in one year than Dezmon Briscoe had in his career. Sorry, Briscoe County, you went to Kansas.
Best: You have to go with the ACL shredder, the human fine, Bernard Pollard. Or you could go with Arian Foster. Yeah, somebody got him three picks from the end.
Worst: We have Zak DeOssie, 2007 draft pick who has the fantasy misfortune of being a long-snapper, or Matt Bosher, a punter who was listed as punter/kicker when he was drafted, and the guy who drafted him is German.
Best: Gerald McCoy is a DT who only was relatively fantasy-relevant last year. Yeah, this pick ain’t so good.
Worst: Jamie Harper does have four TDs. He also averaged 2.1 yards a carry in two NFL seasons. This is the guy the Titans thought was a better goal-line back than CJWTFk.
Best: This pick fits the “Mister Irrelevant” tag. 2012’s final pick, Demario Davis, finished last year tied for 47th in LB scoring.
Worst: I just like typing Fendi Onobun. He finished 89th in TE scoring as a rookie, and that was a career high.
That was kind of fun. What do you think, offseason Twitter?