The NFL Draft is one of the few remaining times during the season where just about every team has some hope about their future.
Every team is searching for that difference maker to fall to their spot and sometimes, the months of research pays off… other times it sets teams back several years and results in a whole lot of change in the organisation.
With the 2021 NFL Draft on the cards for this weekend and plenty of betting markets available, we are running through some of the best and worst picks in NFL history.
2000 Draft: Pick 199
Come on, where else could we start outside of the greatest quarterback of all time?
Then Patriots quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein insisted that Brady was the guy for Bill Belichick to take a sixth round flyer on.
18 months later an injury to Drew Bledsoe began the greatest era of dominance in NFL history that resulted in seven Super Bowls from ten appearances.
Can you believe the Patriots let him go?
Although it’s kind of easy to understand why he went 199th looking at this photo.
2012 Draft: Pick 75
There was plenty of eyebrow raising when Seattle turned to their short, third round rookie in 2012 but Wilson looked like an NFL quarterback from day one.
Now the clear leader in the Seahawks locker room, Wilson won a Super Bowl in his second season and ALMOST won another win a year later.
Since then he has signed a massive deal, married Ciara and become a regular MVP candidate.
Not bad for an afterthought when Andrew Luck was dominating the headlines.
2011 Draft: Pick 154
You’ve heard from Sherman throughout his career (either by force or by choice) but he had to work to become one of the premiere NFL cornerbacks.
It didn’t take too long before the loudmouth from Stanford became a key figure in the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” championship defence in 2013, a season where he gave us the most memorable post game interview.
He’s not short on confidence.
2001 Draft: Pick 74
Another player who was never short of confidence, or something to say on the field, receiver Steve Smith used his negative draft reports and falling to the third round to motivate him throughout his career.
While he never brought a Super Bowl to Carolina, Smith was a huge pickup for the Carolina Panthers and a phenomenal third round selection.
1998 Draft: Pick 1
It could have gone oh so wrong for the Colts in 1998, faced with the choice of Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf (more in him later), the Colts went for the son of an NFL quarterback.
How did that work out for them? Well there’s a reason that Lucas Oil Stadium is nicknamed “The House that Peyton Built”.
He had plenty of fond memories in the old RCA Dome though with this one probably the pick of the bunch.
1995 Draft: Pick 196
Some say that without the emergence of Terrell Davis, John Elway would have never won a Super Bowl.
With the 1983 first overall pick in the latter stages of his career, he relied on the 196th pick from 1995 to get him to his first title.
Davis answered the bell with 157 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers before helping Denver to a second straight title rushing for over 2000 yards and winning the MVP the following season.
1983 Draft: Pick 203 (8th Round)
We can’t forget the defensive linemen in this group and Richard Dent put together a Hall of Fame career despite being selected in a round that no longer exists!
He won two Super Bowls in his career and was one of the best players of his era.
1979 Draft: Pick
One of the truly original draft steals, Montana was a perfect fit for Bill Walsh’s system and helped guide them to four titles in his time with the team.
2017 Draft: Pick 10
Yeah we’re going early with this but after three seasons it sure looks like Mahomes will be the best player from the 2017 draft class.
If Mahomes’ career ended tomorrow, he would have had one of the greatest three year runs of any player in all of sport.
After spending his rookie year on the bench, he took over in 2018 managing to win the MVP that season before leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowls LIV and LV in the last two seasons.
Just remember the Chicago Bears TRADED UP to select Mitch/Mitchell Trubisky when Mahomes was right there.
2012 Draft: Pick 5
There’s plenty of risk taking a receiver this high in the draft and Justin Blackmon is one of the best examples of where things can go REALLY wrong.
He had a pretty good rookie season before two violations of the substance abuse policy lead to an indefinite suspension in November 2013 so you can assume his career is probably over.
2009 Draft: Pick 4
Selected to be a difference maker for Seattle near the top of the NFL Draft, Curry earned $34m guaranteed before playing a single snap.
He failed to live up to expectations and was traded out of Seattle after two and a bit seasons before lasting barely over a season with Oakland.
After one last go trying to make the New York Giants roster in 2013, Curry retired from the NFL after 48 games and four seasons in the league and also giving us a reminder to not listen too much to the kneejerk reactions on draft night.
2007 Draft: Pick 1
The gold standard when it comes to blowing the first overall pick, Russell was supposed to be the guy to bring the swag back to the Oakland Raiders.
He had the size, he had the college resume, he had the arm, hell he threw a ball through the goalposts from halfway ON HIS KNEES!
A lack of work ethic and a lack of a diet doomed Russell as he ballooned to 300 pounds making certain draft analysts look a bit stupid.
2003 Draft: Pick 2
Detroit has blown a lot of draft picks in their time in the league but remember when Matt Millen went on a spree of drafting top 10 receivers what felt like every year?
Charles Rogers caught two touchdown passes in his first game and… that was about as good as his career got.
Labelled as someone who could be similar to Randy Moss, Rogers couldn’t stay healthy breaking his clavicle twice, getting suspended and not impressing the coaching staff with a lack of work ethic, he was gone from the Lions playing just 15 games and catching 36 passes.
1998 Draft: Pick 2
While the Colts nailed their selection of Peyton Manning in 1998, the San Diego Chargers were able to take Ryan Leaf second overall.
A litany of issues contributed to Leaf never reaching his potential and he was out of the San Diego after three seasons and a 1-15 record in 2000.
After failing to make it with the Buccaneers in 2001 he started four games for Dallas filling in for an injured Quincy Carter and retired during the 2002 training camp with the Seahawks.
Since then Leaf has had issues with drugs but managed to turn his life around and has told his story in several interviews that are well worth listening to.
1995 Draft: Pick 1
The Bengals have the first overall pick this season and unless Joe Burrow never takes a snap, he should have a better career than Carter.
In his rookie year he tore up his knee and missed the season, tore a rotator cuff in 1997, broke his wrist in 1998 and dislocated his right kneecap in 1999.
That ended his Bengals career and after failing to make it with Washington, Green Bay and New Orleans, his career ended in 2004 rushing for 1144 yards.
He was great in college though.
Most of the Browns First Round Picks Since 1999
Where do we start with the Browns?
Tim Couch (1999, Pick 1) was a poor quarterback but did lead them to the playoffs, William Green (2002, Pick 16) played in just 46 games over two seasons and Kellen Winslow II (2004, Pick 6) couldn’t stay healthy (among other issues), needing three years to score his first NFL touchdown.
Braylon Edwards (2005, Pick 3) began his career holding out for more money, got injured and suffered way too many drops to be a true top receiver while Brady Quinn (2005, Pick 22) was moved on after three seasons.
Phil Taylor (2011, Pick 21) lasted four seasons before washing out, Trent Richardson (2012, Pick 3) was traded to the Colts after ONE SEASON and Brandon Weeden (2012, Pick 22) was already middle aged when he came into the league.
Barkevious Mingo (2013, Pick 6) at least won a Super Bowl… with New England the year after leaving Cleveland and the less said about Johnny Manziel (2014, Pick 22) the better.
Corey Coleman (2016, Pick 15) was more interested in his sneaker collection than catching a ball and was kicked out of town after two seasons!
Thankfully for the Browns, continually having a high pick finally looks like it paid off with the team returning to the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades last season.
There’s always hope they will find the next Vontae Mack this year however.