Friday, May 31, 2013

NBA Draft - Worst #8 Picks Since 1980

Worst #8 Picks since 1980

5.  Lancaster Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers, 1984, from Louisville (201 games, 6 starts, 5.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.5 apg) - One of my favorite names on any of these lists, Gordon may have been the first in a long-line of Clipper mis-drafts.  A shooting guard with a career 39% FG rate will not last long in the league.  If the Clippers were looking for a big, they could have opted for Otis Thorpe or Kevin Willis in 1984.  They weren't the only ones to bypass John Stockton as well.  Instead, Gordon gave them 4 seasons of barely 13 minutes a game.

4.  Shawn Respert, Portland Trail Blazers, 1995, from Michigan State (172 games, 5 starts, 4.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.0 apg) - Fortunately for Portland, Respert was dealt to Milwaukee on draft night for Gary Trent and a draft pick, not a staggering deal, but Trent turned out far more effective than Respert.  The Spartan-product played for 4 teams in 4 seasons before playing internationally to round out his career.  10 years after he was drafted, he revealed he had stomach cancer diagnosed late in his rookie season.  Brent Barry and Michael Finley were the best guards taken after Respert in the 1st round in 1995.

3.  Bo Kimble, Los Angeles Clippers, 1990, from Loyola Marymount (105 games, 5.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.9 apg) - His collegiate career will always be remembered for his tribute to friend Hank Gathers, but unfortunately, his professional career will not be remembered for much.  Injuries plagued his brief NBA stint and Kimble was left to finish out his professional career in the CBA.  The Clippers selected Loy Vaught 5 picks later, so picking Tyrone Hill at 8 would have doubled up at power forward.  The 1990 draft was very weak at guard, so the Clippers are less at fault here than usual.  Let's just keep that lasting image of the Kimble's left-handed free throw and just forget about the NBA.

2.  Rafael Araujo, Toronto Raptors, 2004, from BYU (139 games, 2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.3 apg) - Araujo was the first senior selected in the 2004 draft, so maybe all that college seasoning is not what it is cracked up to be.  Araujo flamed out after 3 seasons with stints in Toronto and Utah, claiming he never got a fair chance.  When he played, he almost averaged more fouls (2.2) than points.  He competed internationally after his NBA career like many on these lists.  Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson and Josh Smith were all drafted after Araujo in 2004.

1.  Joe Alexander, Milwaukee Bucks, 2008, from West Virginia (67 games, 0 starts, 4.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.7 apg) - Alexander vaulted up the draft boards after his pre-draft athletic testing was off the charts.  That never translated to the NBA and Alexander was somewhat mysteriously out of the league after 2 seasons and not much of an opportunity.  In 2011, he did average over 20 ppg in the D-League, but he has never made his way back to the A-League.  He was selected before Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert, but unfortunately for Milwaukee, they already had Andrew Bogut at center.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NBA Draft - Worst #7 Picks Since 1980

Worst #7 Picks since 1980

3.  Tim Perry, Phoenix Suns, 1988, from Temple (8 seasons, 6.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.9 bpg) - Perry's inclusion on this list is a reflection that the #7 picks in the draft have actually been pretty solid, as Perry was not awful and actually played for a good amount of time.  Alas, a list of 2 is not a great list, so I give you Perry, a man who flashed potential, averaging 10.1 ppg for the Suns over a 3-year span, but didn't maintain it, averaging just 3.4 ppg over the other half of his career.  The names that followed Perry...Rex Chapman, Rony Seikaly, Willie Anderson, Will Perdue, Harvey Grant...none would have been substantial upgrades for Phoenix, who at #14, took "Thunder" Dan Majerle, one of the best picks of the 1988 draft.

2.  Eddie Griffin, New Jersey Nets, 2001, from Seton Hall (303 games, 7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg) - The late Eddie Griffin let alcohol derail his NBA career and eventually take his life.  The Nets escaped the drama by sending him to the Rockets on draft day.  After two promising seasons in Houston, the alcoholism began to effect his status and he never reached his immense potential.  Makes you wonder if 19 isn't too young for most individuals to enter the NBA.  The Nets received Richard Jefferson as part of the trade and actually made out well from it.  Obviously the Rockets would have been best served to stand pat and draft Jefferson or Troy Murphy.

1.  Bobby Hurley, Sacramento Kings, 1993, from Duke (269 games, 3.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 3.3 apg) - Hurley was never the same after a serious car accident in his rookie season, as his points and assists both decreased in half during the 4 years he played after the accident.  He was just shooting 37% in the 19 games he played as a rookie, so all was not perfect even then.  Lindsey Hunter was the next PG taken 3 picks later, while Sam Cassell was the best PG taken at pick #24.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

NBA Draft - Worst #6 Picks Since 1980

Worst #6 Picks since 1980
Somehow, for some reason, the 6th pick in the NBA Draft is by far the worst out of the Top 13.  Take a look...

10. Joe Kleine, Sacramento Kings, 1985, from Arkansas (15 seasons, 4.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.6 apg) - Kleine is an anomaly on this list playing in 15 NBA seasons with 7 different teams, but like his twin Jon Koncak, being really tall never hurt.  Kleine makes this list purely on production, or lack thereof over those 15 years.  In his last 11 seasons, he started all of 82 games.  He never averaged double figures.  He was selected before Chris Mullin, Karl Malone and Joe Dumars.

9.  Dajuan Wagner, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2002, from Memphis (103 games, 9.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.9 apg) - In defense of Wagner, his career was shortened due to a serious medical illness, so this is more of a bad luck pick for Cleveland, although if he had been any good in his one season, they might never have had the opportunity to draft LeBron James.

8. DerMarr Johnson, Atlanta Hawks, 2000, from Cincinnati (344 games, 6.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 apg) - A career that had promise was sidetracked by a horrible car accident and subsequent comeback attempts that could never justify a pick as high as #6. Part of it is just the curse of the number.  The 2000 draft did not yield much, so this goes down as just a wasted pick for the Hawks.

7.  Jonny Flynn, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2009, from Syracuse (163 games, 9.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.9 apg) - Flynn has quickly played himself out of the NBA, disposable to the Timberwolves when Ricky Rubio was ready to join the NBA.  He tried to latch on with Houston and Portland but is currently playing abroad.  The pick after Flynn in 2009 was Stephen Curry.

6.  Doug Smith, Dallas Mavericks, 1991, from Missouri (296 games, 8.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apg) -
Smith is one of those players that wasn't terrible in his NBA career, but had a short career and could never make his way back.  After leaving the NBA, Smith played for 10 seasons in the CBA, ABA and IBL.  The 1991 draft turned out to be very mediocre, but Stacey Augmon would have been a better selection going 3 picks later to the Hawks.

5.  Stacey King, Chicago Bulls, 1989, from Oklahoma (438 games, 6.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 apg) - I remember Stacey King as a monster in college and I even remember him as part of the Bulls first Championship teams.  What he wasn't was a monster for those Bulls teams and was actually worse when he moved on.  The Bulls won 6 championships, so the pick did not cripple them, and you have to go to Shawn Kemp at 17 to find an impactful big man from the 1989 draft.  King is now a popular announcer for the Bulls.

4. Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee Bucks, 2007, from China (272 games, 7.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.7 apg) - Yi could never fully translate his skills from the Chinese league to the NBA, flaming out and returning to China after 5 uninspiring seasons. There were moments of potential being realized, but a 40% shooting stroke could not keep him in the league for long. Joakim Noah was selected three picks later by the Bulls.

3.  Robert Traylor, Dallas Mavericks, 1998, from Michigan (438 games, 4.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.7 apg) - The late 'Tractor" was dealt on draft night for Dirk Nowitzki and the career comparisons stop there.  Traylor's minutes and production could never match some of his immense talents and eventually after 5 teams in 7 seasons he was out of the league.  He played for 7 more seasons abroad before his untimely death due to an apparent heart attack.  The Bucks had no intention of drafting Nowitzki, but maybe they would have drafted Paul Pierce if the Mavericks weren't such a willing trade partner.

2.  William Bedford, Phoenix Suns, 1986, from Memphis State (238 games, 4.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.5 apg) - This wikipedia reference of his post-NBA life basically sums up the career of one William Bedford...Bedford has had drug problems ever since he left the NBA. He was arrested for drug possession twice between 1996 and 1997. In 2001, Bedford was accused of transporting 25 pounds of marijuana in Michigan.  After the Michigan arrest, he was arrested two more times for marijuana, and in 2003 was given a 10-year prison sentence.  Bedford was released from prison in November of 2011 and is currently coaching basketball in Memphis.

1.  Russell Cross, Golden State Warriors, 1983, from Purdue (45 games, 3.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.5 apg) - Russell Cross, the crown for worst on this list is quite an achievement.  Beating out William Bedford for this spot is quite an achievement.  Playing in only 45 NBA games after being the #6 pick is quite and achievement.  He was selected before Thurl Bailey, Dale Ellis, Jeff Malone, Derek Harper, and Clyde Drexler, another worthy achievement.  Maybe Russell Cross is an over-achiever. 


NBA Draft - Worst #5 Picks Since 1980

Worst #5 Picks since 1980

5.  Jon Koncak, Atlanta Hawks, 1985, from SMU (11 seasons, 4.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 bpg) - Unlike most of the players who have decorated these lists, Koncak hung around for a considerable amount of time.  7-footers in the NBA are like lefties in baseball, someone will want them even if their talent does not warrant it.  Koncak never averaged in double figures in any of his 11 seasons and managed to start almost half his games played.  He signed a big contract with the Hawks that actually surpassed the superstars of the time like Michael Jordan, earning the nickname "Jon Contract".  While none of them were centers, the Hawks missed out on Chris Mullin, Charles Oakley and Karl Malone in the 1985 draft.

4.  Shelden Williams, Atlanta Hawks, 2006, from Duke (361 games, 4.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.5 apg) - If the Hawks select you 5th, you will average 4.5 ppg for your career.  Williams had promise coming out of Duke, but that never materialized with any of the 7 teams he played with in his 6-year career.  The 2006 draft was not strong and you actually have to go to the 47th pick and Paul Millsap to find a power player who has had much of an impact.  Williams is married to collegiate and WNBA star Candace Parker, so all is not bad.

3.  Jonathan Bender, Toronto Raptors, 1999, from Picayune HS (262 games, 5.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.6 apg) - Bender is an exhibit for those who are against the High School-to-NBA path.  He never played for the Raptors as he was traded to the Pacers for Antonio Davis, so the Raptors actually came out ok with this pick.  For a high school player, it was a bit surprising that injuries were the reason his career ended with unfulfilled promise. 

2. James Ray, Denver Nuggets, 1980, from Jacksonville (103 games, 3.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.7 apg) - Ray had a brief NBA career, all with the Nuggets, only starting 7 games in his 3 seasons with the team.  Taken ahead of Mike Gminski and Kiki Vandeweghe (whom the Nuggets acquired anyway on draft day), Ray was another bust who has faded from memory. 

1.  Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Denver Nuggets, 2002, from Italy (172 games, 2.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.7 apg) - Tskitishvili is the foreign equivalent to a bad high school pick like Bender, drafted at 19 from Italy but never developed an NBA game, despite chances from 4 NBA teams.  Let's keep in mind he was drafted after averaging 6.6 ppg for his Italian team.  Amare Stoudemire was drafted 4 picks later.  The Nuggets clearly do not do well with the 5th pick in the draft.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

NBA Draft - Worst #4 Picks Since 1980

Worst #4 Picks since 1980

3.  Wesley Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2010, from Syracuse (7.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 apg) - Johnson is still active and only 3 years into his career, but those three years have been uneventful enough for him to be included on this list.  He is already on his second team, so that is some indication of where his NBA career has gone thus far.  The 2010 draft is turning out to be fairly mediocre, but I am sure the Timberwolves would love to have Greg Monroe or Paul George on their team right now.

2.  Marcus Fizer, Chicago Bulls, 2000, from Iowa State (289 games, 9.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 apg) - Fizer never found his footing in the NBA, starting only 35 games in his career with 3 teams.  The main problem for Fizer and the Bulls is that they already had Elton Brand manning his position and Fizer never got the chance.  After leaving the NBA, Fizer has some interesting accomplishments, including being the MVP of the NBA Development League in 2006 and in his most recent stint in a foreign league, he averaged 17.2 ppg in Argentina.  The Bulls also selected Chris Mihm 3 picks later and used him to get Jamal Crawford, who is arguably the best player drafted in the Top 15 of the 2000 draft. 

1.  Bill Garnett, Dallas Mavericks, 1982, from Wyoming (4 seasons, 5.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.3 apg) - Full disclosure...I had no idea who Bill Garnett was.  Apparently, for good reason.  After 4 uninspiring seasons with 2 teams, Garnett was out of the NBA.  Interestingly, the better pick for Dallas if they wanted a big man would have been none other than Clark Kellogg, who averaged 18.9 ppg and 9.5 rpg in a career shortened by knee problems.

  Guest Article - Top Three Rookie Fantasy Football Quarterback Prospects

Top Three Rookie Fantasy Football Quarterback Prospects

It is a pretty universal thought that the NFL will not have an Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or even Russell Wilson in 2013. With that being said, there is always a chance that a rookie quarterback finds himself in the right situation to produce at a high fantasy level. Here’s a look at the three best options to pick. Use this guide either for this season in deep leagues, or possible in dynasties.

Geno Smith

There were times when Geno Smith was considered a possible #1 overall pick, but he lasted all the way to the second round during the draft. Despite his slip, he finds himself in a situation with the Jets that could have him playing right away. Mark Sanchez is the returning quarterback for the team, and the Jets have very little offensive talent to surround any passer, but Smith has the skills to make an instant impact. If given the opportunity, he seems like the only possible quarterback who could match the production, and daily fantasy sports  numbers, of any of the top three last season.

EJ Manuel

The Buffalo Bills surprised quite a few people when they took EJ Manuel as the first quarterback in the draft. Smith is probably further along right now, but Manuel is just as smart of a long-term investment. It appears as though the Bills intend to start him right away, which means he will have a leg up on the rest of the class. With Manuel and CJ Spiller on the team, the Bills could form a dynamic offense with the both passing and running threats.

Matt Barkley

If this was last season, Barkley would be getting nearly the same amount of hype as Luck and Griffin. Instead, struggles at USC and injuries knocked Barkley way down in the draft. Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly finally took a shot on the former Trojan to possibly get some playing time in Philadelphia.

For now, Michael Vick is still the quarterback for the Eagles. However, if he continues to struggle, or get injured, in 2013, Barkley could fight with Nick Foles to possibly get some reps in year one. He is not going to be drafted in any single season fantasy league this year, but many feel that he can become a solid NFL quarterback in the future.

NBA Draft - Worst #3 Picks Since 1980

Worst #3 Picks since 1980

3.  Dennis Hopson, New Jersey Nets, 1987, from Ohio State (5 seasons, 10.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.0 spg) - The #3 pick has generally been solid, so it may be a surprise to see Hopson appear on the list.  He could always score, but his NBA career fizzled out after 5 seasons and he played overseas from that point on.  The Nets were looking for a shooter in their backcourt in 1987 and the correct answer would have been Reggie Miller from UCLA.

2.  Adam Morrison, Charlotte Bobcats, 2006, from Gonzaga (161 games, 7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.4 apg) - The next Larry Bird?  Well, we are still waiting on that.  When he fell to the floor in tears after his last collegiate game, we did not realize he was crying about his upcoming NBA career.  Morrison shot an un-Bird like 37% from the field and shot himself right out of the league.  Rudy Gay of Connecticut would have been the better selection in hindsight. 

1.  Chris Washburn, Golden State Warriors, 1986, from North Carolina State (72 games, 3.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.3 apg) - The 1986 NBA Draft was chalk full of troubled individuals - Len Bias, Washburn, William Bedford, Roy Tarpley - all selected in the Top 7.  Washburn's career started off with knee problems and cocaine abuse manifested itself and took him straight out of the league when he was banned for life in 1989 after a 3rd failed drug test.  The positive news is that Washburn is now clean and owns Washburn's Wings and More in Hickory, North Carolina.


NBA Draft - Worst #2 Picks Since 1980

Worst #2 Picks since 1980

4.  Sam Bowie, Portland Trail Blazers, 1984, from Kentucky (10.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.8 bpg) - Bowie is an honorary member of this list for one reason only...he was selected the pick before Michael Jordan.  Bowie's career numbers are not awful and he did as much as his knees allowed him.  This is not as much a reflection of Bowie, but on the Trail Blazers for missing out on the greatest NBA player of all-time.

3.  Stromile Swift, Vancouver Grizzlies, 2000, from LSU (8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 bpg) - Swift never materialized into a starting forward in the NBA, garnering just 97 starts in his 547 career games.  The 2000 draft is going to become a theme as maybe the worst ever, but when Terry Catledge is your similarity comparison for your career, #2 was probably a little high for you to be selected.

2.  Jay Williams, Chicago Bulls, 2002, from Duke (1 season, 9.5 ppg, 4.7 apg, 2.6 rpg, 1.1.spg) - A terrible motorcycle accident ended the playing career of Williams after just one season with the Bulls.  Some picks are bad because of unforeseen circumstances that are not basketball related.  This happens to be one of them.  Had Williams been better as a rookie, he may have avoided this list, but the truth was he had a disappointing rookie season and was never able to atone for that.

1.  Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons, 2003, from Serbia (6.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg) - Darko is technically still active in the NBA, although that term could be used loosely all the way back to 2003.  Let's recap the 2003 draft...LeBron, Darko, Carmelo, Bosh, Wade.  One of these names just doesn't belong here, it is not Carmelo because his talents aren't in South Beach.  The Pistons screwed this one up.  NBA legend Lee Nailon is Darko's similarity comparison, further cementing his status as the worst #2 draft pick that I have seen.


Friday, May 17, 2013

NBA Draft - Worst #1 Picks since 1980

I have been blogging the NFL's best and worst draft picks by position and will continue with those, but I thought I would preview another set of lists.  Last year I did the best NBA Draft picks by draft position, but unlike the NFL I did not provide the worst.  So as the NBA Playoffs reach the Conference Finals and the NBA Draft is just over a month away, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the guys you are glad your team did not select.

Worst #1 Picks since 1980
The #1 pick in the NBA draft has had very few misses and the names you are about to see should come as no surprise.

3.  Michael Olowokandi, Los Angeles Clippers, 1998, from Pacific (9 seasons, 8.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg) - Olowokandi was the first selection of the 1998 draft ahead of Mike Bibby who went #2.  Also going in the Top 10 of that draft were Antawn Jamison(4th), Vince Carter(5th), Dirk Nowitzki(9th) and Paul Pierce(10th).  The Clippers were looking for the next great thing at center, unfortunately they got another in a long-line of bad draft picks that doomed the franchise until just recently.

2.  Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards, 2001, from Glynn Academy (12 seasons, 6.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.6 bpg) - Oh Michael, how you struggle with draft picks.  Brown is the first of the Jordan debacles, but at least Jordan was nice enough to comeback and play with this one.  The #2 pick in 2001 was Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol went #3.  In Brown and Jordan's defense, this is one of the worst drafts in history, but it is also an exhibit for those who side with the current NBA rule that players are not draft-eligible right out of high school.

1.  Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers, 2007, from Ohio State (2 seasons, 9.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg) - I usually try to give injured players the benefit of the doubt on a list like this, but at the #1 overall pick there is no comparable who was able to give less to his team than Greg Oden.  What hurts even worse is the #2 pick in 2007 is none other than Kevin Durant, arguably the 2nd best player in the game today.  It is not the first time the Blazers have let one of the greats go and picked a franchise center.  It is a wonder that the franchise has been as successful at times as it has for two of the worst picks in NBA history.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #15 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #15's)

Top 5 Players Selected #15 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Derrick Johnson, LB, Kansas City Chiefs, 2005
4.  Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants, 2010
3.  Anthony Miller, WR, San Diego Chargers, 1988
2.  Dennis Smith, DB, Denver Broncos, 1981
1.  John L. Williams, RB, Seattle Seahawks, 1986

And with the 15th pick in the NFL it, get out of this pick.  No disrespect to these 5 professionals, but ouch!!  I went with Williams first.  He is the only player drafted here who was best at his position for at least a portion of his career and besides being a very good blocker he currently ranks in the top 100 in NFL History in receptions and yards from scrimmage.  Smith was a perennial Pro-Bowler and a key defensive cog in the Broncos Super Bowl losing teams of the 1980's.  Miller is around 50 to 60 in most all-time receiving categories, but did make 5 Pro Bowls.  Pierre-Paul has been good enough already to crack the top 5, while Johnson has been solid long enough to that as well.  Guys like Branden Albert and Brian Cushing were interesting considerations, but ultimately fell short here.

Worst #15 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
4.  Jerome McDougle, DE, Philadelphia Eagles, 2003 (4 seasons, 0 starts, 30 tackles, 3 sacks)
3.  Ron Faurot, DE, New York Jets, 1984 (2 seasons, 13 starts, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
2.  John Clay, OT, Los Angeles Raiders, 1987 (2 seasons, 2 teams, 10 starts)
1.  Huey Richardson, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1991 (2 seasons, 3 teams, 16 games, 0 starts, 0 stats)

A bonus bust at #15, a list that I excluded Yatil Green from due to the injuries that ultimately derailed his career after just 9 games.

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #14 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #14's)

Top 5 Players Selected #14 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Jeremy Shockey, TE, New York Giants, 2002
4.  Ruben Brown, OG, Buffalo Bills, 1995
3.  Darrelle Revis, DB, New York Jets, 2007
2.  Eddie George, RB, Houston Oilers, 1996
1.  Jim Kelly, QB, Buffalo Bills, 1983

The Bills may have had to wait a few extra years, but it was worth it as Jim Kelly heads the list of #14 draft picks.  His inability to win a Super Bowl puts him in the second tier of quarterbacks, but Kelly easily tops this list.  The venerable Eddie George is next up, rushing for over 10,000 yards and sitting at #24 on the all-time rushing list.  If Darrelle Revis can regain his old form, he may ascend to the top of this list someday.  He is considered the gold-standard for cornerbacks in today's NFL.  Ruben Brown was a 9-time Pro Bowl selection at guard for the Bills and Bears.  We are starting to see less players who are no-brainers and I was a bit surprised when Shockey was the choice to fill out the list.  While a solid player, Shockey has always teased us with more, but has done enough to warrant inclusion here.

Worst #14 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.   D.J. Dozier, RB, Minnesota Vikings, 1988 (5 seasons, 11 starts, 691 yds rushing, 9 total TD's)
2.   Michael Haynes, DE, Chicago Bears, 2003 (3 seasons, 4 starts, 49 tackles, 5.5 sacks)
1.   Bernard Williams, OT, Philadelphia Eagles, 1994 (1 season played)

Here is the Wikipedia reference on Bernard Williams:

Bennie Bernard Williams (born July 18, 1972 in Memphis, Tennessee) is a former American and Canadian football offensive tackle. Williams was the Eagles first round draft pick in the 1994 NFL Draft and started all 16 games for them in 1994, but was banned from the NFL after failing 15 drug tests. He would later play for the XFL's Memphis Maniax, the AFL's Detroit Fury and the CFL's BC Lions and Toronto Argonauts.

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #13 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #13's)

Top 5 Players Selected #13 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Eric Metcalf, RB/WR/KR, Cleveland Browns, 1989
4.  Keith Jackson, TE, Philadelphia Eagles, 1988
3.  Takeo Spikes, LB, Cincinnati Bengals, 1998
2.  John Abraham, LB, New York Jets, 2000
1.  Tony Gonzalez, TE, Kansas City Chiefs, 1997

Quick, who is second only to Jerry Rice in all-time receptions?  OK, so the answer is obvious due to the context, but who would have thought that a basketball player from Cal would have the career that Tony Gonzalez has exhibited.  The Chiefs have had a lot of misses, but Gonzalez was a hit at #13.  Abraham has logged 122 career sacks, good for #13 all-time, fitting for this list.  Spikes has over 1,000 solo tackles in a solid career, albeit with 5 different teams.  Whoa Nellie, two tight ends on the same list as Keith Jackson, a 3-time All-Pro, comes in at #4.  The final spot goes to Eric Metcalf, who is #13 all-time in all-purpose yards (again fitting) and #2 all-time with 10 punt return touchdowns. 

Worst #13 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Eugene Chung, OT, New England Patriots, 1992 (5 seasons, 3 teams, 30 starts)
2.  Lindsay Scott, WR, New Orleans Saints, 1982 (49 games, 69 rec, 864 yds, 1 TD)
1.  Percy Snow, LB, Kansas City Chiefs, 1990 (3 seasons, 15 starts, 2 sacks)

I find it hard to include a player like David Overstreet on this list, thus, he is excluded despite playing only one NFL season.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #12 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #12's)

Top 5 Players Selected #12 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Ryan Clady, OT, Denver Broncos, 2008
4.  Haloti Ngata, DT, Baltimore Ravens, 2006
3.  Keith Brooking, LB, Atlanta Falcons, 1998
2.  Warrick Dunn, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1997
1.  Warren Sapp, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1995

The Buccaneers picked #12 in three consecutive years and hit on 2 with Sapp and Dunn who helped turn-around a franchise that usually picked higher than this spot.  Sapp was an easy #1, as potentially the most disruptive force from the interior of the defensive line that I can remember.  Dunn eclipsed that magic 10,000 yard rushing mark to land #19 on the all-time rushing list.  After these two, it got harder, as a lot of solid but unspectacular careers were under consideration.  There was a group of linebackers, but none with the 1,100+ tackles of Brooking.  There was a group of defensive lineman, but none who have had the consistent and immediate impact of Ngata.  Finally, there were some offensive tackles, but Clady has already matched them in Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections.

Worst #12 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
Honorable Mention: Patrick Bates, DB, Oakland Raiders, 1993 and Tony Hunter, TE, Buffalo Bills, 1983

3.  Wendell Bryant, DT, Arizona Cardinals, 2002 (3 seasons, 29 tackles, 1.5 sacks)
2.  Cade McNown, QB, Chicago Bears, 1999 (2 seasons, 3-12 record, 3,111 yds, 16 TD, 19 Int)
1.  Chuck Long, QB, Detroit Lions, 1986 (6 seasons, 4-17 record, 3,747 yds, 19 TD, 28 Int)

While McNown's stats and longevity were worse, I feel like Long had higher expectations and is the bigger career disappointment.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #11 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #11's)

Top 5 Players Selected #11 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts, 2002
4.  Patrick Willis, LB, San Francisco 49ers, 2007
3.  DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboys, 2005
2.  Michael Irvin, WR, Dallas Cowboys, 1988
1.  Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004

The #11 pick isn't half bad.  I went back-and-forth whether Big Ben deserved the top spot here, as his raw stats would not be deserving of the spot on their own.  There are some intangibles that he brings to the table, plus two Super Bowl rings that he had a very large part in.  Irvin was a great receiver, but part of me struggled with him at #2 because he was never the best player on his offense.  He stays at the spot because Ware, who in 8 years is already 19th in career sacks and Willis, who is a monster tackler, have yet to complete their careers and have yet to achieve the team success that Irvin achieved.  Dwight Freeney and his 107.5 sacks (21st all-time), beats out Wilber Marshall for the final spot.  Freeney may just be keeping a spot warm for J.J. Watt based on two seasons.

Worst #11 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Michael Booker, DB, Atlanta Falcons, 1997 (5 seasons, 10 starts, 8 Int, 97 tackles)
2.  Anthony Hancock, WR, Kansas City Chiefs, 1982 (5 seasons, 8 starts, 73 rec, 1,266 yds, 5 TD)
1.  Shawn Knight, DT, New Orleans Saints, 1987 (3 seasons, 1 start, 1 fumble recovery)

Reportedly, when the Saints drafted Shawn Knight, the other two players under consideration were Haywood Jeffires and Harris Barton.  They were thrown a curve when the Steelers drafted Rod Woodson the pick before despite a lack of need at corner.  They swung and missed with Knight.

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #10 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #10's)

Top 5 Players Selected #10 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Jacob Green, DE, Seattle Seahawks, 1980
4.  Willie Anderson, OT, Cincinnati Bengals, 1996
3.  Jerome Bettis, RB, Los Angeles Rams, 1993
2.  Marcus Allen, RB, Los Angeles Raiders, 1982
1.  Rod Woodson, DB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1987

Rod Woodson and his 71 interceptions, good for 3rd all-time, tops the list of #10 picks.  Woodson added 17 non-offensive TD's, also good for 3rd all-time.  He is followed by two great running backs in Allen, who is 12th all-time in rushing and 3rd in rushing TD's and Bettis, 6th all-time in rushing and 10th in rushing TD's.  Willie Anderson was a 3 time all-pro at tackle and should not be confused with "Flipper".  Finally, Jacob Green recorded 97.5 sacks in a solid career for Seattle, edging out Herman Moore for the final spot on the list.

Worst #10 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals, 2006 (6 seasons, 33 games, 8-10 record, 15 TD, 21 Int)
2.  David Verser, WR, Cincinnati Bengals, 1981 (6 seasons, 23 rec, 454 yards, 3 TD)
1.  Jamal Reynolds, DE, Green Bay Packers, 2001 (3 seasons, 3 sacks, 12 tackles)

I was happy to see that Reynolds at least averaged 1 sack per year, since that was what he was drafted for.

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #9 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #9's)

Top 5 Players Selected #9 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Kevin Williams, DT, Minnesota Vikings, 2003
4.  Fred Taylor, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, 1998
3.  Richmond Webb, OT, Miami Dolphins, 1990
2.  Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears, 2000
1.  Bruce Matthews, OG, Houston Oilers, 1983

The top spot at the #9 pick came down to an offensive lineman in Matthews and a linebacker in Urlacher.  Although an OL is hard to quantify, even Urlacher cannot match 14 pro bowls and 7 all-pro selections.  I am not sure there has been a better guard in my time.  Urlacher is no slouch with his play-making ability and impact he has had on some excellent Bears defenses.  Webb was another rock at tackle in the 1990's who goes a bit under-appreciated.  What would have happened if Fred Taylor could have remained healthy?  Even so, he is the NFL's 15th all-time leading rusher.  Williams has been an anchor of the defensive line for a decade in Minnesota and beats out Terry McDaniel for the final spot.

Worst #9 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.   Keith Rivers, LB, Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 (5 seasons, now on Giants, 149 tackles, 2 sacks)
2.   Sammie Smith, RB, Miami Dolphins, 1989 (4 seasons, 1,881 yds, 15 TD)
1.   Kevin Allen, OT, Philadelphia Eagles, 1985 (1 season played)

From Wikipedia on Kevin Allen:

After a subpar rookie season, Allen tested positive for cocaine after reporting to Eagles training camp in 1986. Soon after that, he was charged with sexual assault and spent the next three years in prison.  He was banned from the league for life soon afterward. Buddy Ryan thought so little of Allen that he once described him as someone who could only be useful "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #8 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #8's)

Top 5 Players Selected #8 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  James Farrior, LB, New York Jets, 1997
4.  Leslie O'Neal, DE, San Diego Chargers, 1986
3.  Mike Munchak, OG, Houston Oilers, 1982
2.  Willie Roaf, OT, New Orleans Saints, 1993
1.  Ronnie Lott, DB, San Francisco 49ers, 1981

Ronnie Lott outdistances a pair of Hall-of-Fame offensive lineman as the best #8 pick I have seen.  Not many safeties have hot harder and done it with Lott's level of professionalism and success.  Roaf is on the list of OT's who have been as good as it gets at that position, with Munoz, Pace, Ogden and Joe Thomas coming to mind.  Munchak would be the same at guard, solidifying an Oiler offensive line with Bruce Matthews for years in Houston.  O'Neal racked up 132.5 sacks in a solid 13 year career.  The last choice was more difficult, but I went with Farrior over a pair of Seahawk draft picks.  Farrior has a couple of outstanding seasons with the Steelers, while Sam Adams was solid but lacked the great seasons and Joey Galloway never seemed to reach his potential.

Worst #8 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Jamaal Anderson, DE, Atlanta Falcons, 2007 (6 seasons, 7.5 sacks, 3 different teams)
2.  David Terrell, WR, Chicago Bears, 2001 (5 seasons, 29 starts, 128 receptions, 1,602 yds, 9 TD)
1.  Leonard Coleman, DB, Baltimore Colts, 1984 (5 seasons, 16 starts, 6 interceptions)

No epic failures at this pick, but don't rule out Jake Locker being on this list someday.

Friday, May 10, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #7 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #7's)

Top 5 Players Selected #7 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Sterling Sharpe, WR, Green Bay Packers, 1988
4.  Bryant Young, DT, San Francisco 49ers, 1994
3.  Troy Vincent, DB, Miami Dolphins, 1992
2.  Champ Bailey, DB, Washington Redskins, 1999
1.  Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings, 2007

While most of the lists favor longevity, Peterson has been so dominant in his 6 seasons that it doesn't matter - he is the best #7 pick I have seen.  What he accomplished in 2012, in so many ways, was truly remarkable.  A couple of DB's follow, with the flashier Bailey and the consummate professional in Vincent.  Bryant Young was a rock for the 49ers defense for many years, while Sharpe had arguably the best first 7 seasons at wide receiver this side of Randy Moss.  A freak injury halted his ascension on this list.

Worst #7 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980 
3.  Todd Blackledge, QB, Kansas City Chiefs, 1983 (29 starts, 29 TD, 38 Int, drafted ahead of Jim Kelly and Dan Marino)
2.  Brian Jozwiak, OT, Kansas City Chiefs, 1986 (3 career starts)
1.  Andre Ware, QB, Detroit Lions, 1990 (6 career starts, 1,112 yds, 5 TD, 8 Int)

The Chiefs are fortunate they have not picked 7th in the last 27 years.

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #6 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #6's)

Top 5 Players Selected #6 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Lomas Brown, OT, Detroit Lions, 1985
4.  Richard Seymour, DT, New England Patriots, 2001
3.  Walter Jones, OT, Seattle Seahawks, 1997
2.  Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis Rams, 1999
1.  Tim Brown, WR, Los Angeles Raiders, 1988

Maybe the #6 pick is where you take a can't-miss wide receiver and get 10-15 years of outstanding production (the other WR's taken #6 since 1970 are James Lofton and Julio Jones).  Brown is 5th all-time in receptions and receiving yards, Holt 14th and 11th, respectively in those categories.  It is sometimes hard to quantify an OL like Jones, but I always feel he was a little less dominant than the perception, so I slotted him behind the receivers.  Seymour had a great stretch with the Patriots before being jettisoned to Oakland where players go to pasture or best-case take a career sabbatical.  Brown is a notch below Jones, but was a 7-time pro-bowler and a solid performer to round out the list.

Worst #6 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  David Klingler, QB, Cincinnati Bengals, 1992 (33 games, 4-20 record, 3,994 yds, 16 TD, 22 Int)
2.  Kelly Stouffer, QB, St. Louis Cardinals, 1987 (22 games, 5-11 record, 2,333 yds, 7 TD, 19 Int)
1.  Rich Campbell, QB, Green Bay Packers, 1981 (7 games, no starts, 386 yds, 3 TD, 9 Int)

My apologies to Lawrence Phillips, but he at least ran for 600 yards in 3 different seasons.  While he is considered a huge bust, quarterbacks with a combined 9-31 record, 26 TD and 50 Int are just more bust-worthy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #5 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #5's)

Top 5 Players Selected #5 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Ricky Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints, 1999
4.  Jamal Lewis, RB, Baltimore Ravens, 2000
3.  Deion Sanders, DB, Atlanta Falcons, 1989
2.  Junior Seau, LB, San Diego Chargers, 1990
1.  LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers, 2001

The Chargers aced the #5 pick with both Tomlinson and Seau who land at the top of this list.  Tomlinson is the NFL's #5 all-time leading rusher and #3 in touchdowns.  Seau had more tackles than we can count.  Sanders was the flashiest, but his obsession with baseball kept him from achieving ultimate greatness in football.  Lewis and Williams both hit 10,000 yards rushing, placing both just outside the top 20 all-time.  Lewis gets the slight nod due to his 2,066 yard season.

Worst #5 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Curtis Enis, RB, Chicago Bears, 1998 (3 seasons, 36 games, 1,497 yds rushing, 6 total td's)
2.  Trev Alberts, LB, Indianapolis Colts, 1994 (3 seasons, 7 starts, 49 tackles, 4 sacks)
1.  Mike Junkin, LB, Cleveland Browns, 1987 (3 seasons, no stats)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #4 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #4's)

Top 5 Players Selected #4 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Charles Woodson, DB, Oakland Raiders, 1998
4.  Edgerrin James, RB, Indianapolis Colts, 1999
3.  Jonathan Ogden, OT, Baltimore Ravens, 1996
2.  Derrick Thomas, LB, Kansas City Chiefs, 1989
1.  Chris Doleman, DE, Minnesota Vikings, 1985

What the 4th pick lacks in all-time greats, it makes up for with a solid grouping of 5.  Chris Doleman ended his career 4th all-time in sacks and beats out Thomas who is 12th, although his life and career were ended tragically too short.  Ogden was a rock for those solid Ravens teams of is era and will join the first two on the list in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August.  James was so good for the Colts you need to forget his pedestrian Cardinals years.  He finished 11th in career rushing yards in NFL history.  Woodson rounds out the list with his 55 interception and 12 career TD's.

Worst #4 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Kenny Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles, 1984 (102 games, 126 rec, 2,170 yards)
2.  Brent Fullwood, RB, Green Bay Packers, 1987 (46 games, 1,702 yds, 19 TD, 15 fumbles)
1.  Art Schlichter, QB, Baltimore Colts, 1982 (13 games, 0-6 record, 1,006 yds, 3 TD, 11 Int)

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #3 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #3's ever)

Top 5 Players Selected #3 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Joe Thomas, OT, Cleveland Browns, 2007
4.  Steve McNair, QB, Houston Olilers, 1995
3.  Cortez Kennedy, DT, Seattle Seahawks, 1990
2.  Anthony Munoz, OT, Cincinnati Bengals, 1980
1.  Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions, 1989

This pick could be considered the "Michael Jordan" of picks as Barry Sanders is to Michael Jordan as Tony Mandarich is to Sam Bowie.  Munoz is arguably the best offensive lineman of my time and Thomas is today's Munoz.  Kennedy had a sneaky-good Hall-of-Fame career that garners him #3.  Finally, the late Steve McNair never won the big game, but has a long, successful career worthy of a #3 pick.  The first omissions are a couple of wide receivers taken in consecutive years, Andre Johnson in 2003 and Larry Fitzgerlad in 2004.  Health and consistency issues have plagued these two and that is why I went with Thomas.

Worst #3 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Heath Shuler, QB, Washington Redskins, 1994  (29 games, 3,691 yds, 15 TD, 33 Int)
2.  Andre Wadsworth, DE, Arizona Cardinals, 1998  (3 seasons, 36 games, 8 sacks)
1.  Akili Smith, QB, Cincinnati Bengals, 1999  (22 games, 2,212 yards, 5 TD, 13 Int)

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #2 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #2's ever)

Top 5 Players Selected #2 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Neil Smith, DE, Kansas City Chiefs, 1988
4.  Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles, 1999
3.  Eric Dickerson, RB, Los Angeles Rams, 1983
2.  Marshall Faulk, RB, Indianapolis Colts, 1994
1.  Lawrence Taylor, LB, New York Giants, 1981

The original L.T. is an easy choice here for the top spot (picked second behind George Rogers, he ironically could have been a Saint).  Faulk and Dickerson both played for the Rams and Colts in opposite orders, another interesting tidbit.  McNabb gets a lot of negative pub sometimes, but he was better than his reputation.  I wanted to put Calvin Johnson on the list, but he is a future addition.  For the time being, Neil Smith occupies the #5 spot.

Worst #2 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Rick Mirer, QB, Seattle Seahawks, 1993  (80 games, 24-44 record as a starter, 50 TD, 76 Int)
2.  Charles Rogers, WR, Detroit Lions, 2003 (15 games, 36 rec, 440 yds, 4 TD)
1.  Ryan Leaf, QB, San Diego Chargers, 1998 (25 games, 3,666 yds, 14 TD, 36 Int, 4-17 record)

Bonus Bust:  Tony Mandarich was less of a bust than people think because of the hype, but considering the 4 players drafted around him were Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders and Derrick Thomas, he definitely is part of this dubious list.

NFL Draft - Top 5 Players Selected #1 Since 1980 (plus the worst three #1's ever)

List Time!!  With the NFL Draft underway, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the various picks from my Sports Viewing Timeline (post-1980).  I will start with the coveted #1 pick.

Top 5 Players Selected #1 in the NFL Draft since 1980
5.  Eli Manning, QB, San Diego Chargers, 2004
4.  Troy Aikman, QB, Dallas Cowboys, 1989
3.  Bruce Smith, DE, Buffalo Bills, 1985
2.  Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts, 1998
1.  John Elway, QB, Baltimore Colts, 1983

This list comes with a unique twist, as the Colts franchise selected the top 2 #1's in the past 33 years, but only one of them actually played for the franchise.  Bruce Smith is hands down the best defensive player to be selected #1 and who can argue with the rings that Troy Aikman accumulated.  I thought there would be 5 easy names here, but the fifth spot took a little thought.  Has Eli Manning done enough compared to the solid career of Orlando Pace?  In the case of #1 picks, quarterback always wins.

Worst #1 NFL Draft Picks Since 1980
3.  Tim Couch, QB, Cleveland Browns, 1999 (62 games, 22-37 record as a starter, 64 TD, 67 Int)
2.  Steve Emtman, DT, Indianapolis Colts, 1992 (50 games, 121 tackles, 8 sacks)
1.  JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders, 2007 (31 games, 7-18 record, 4,083 yds, 18 TD, 23 Int)