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.