Friday Oct 20

Age of Uncertainty: Getting it Right With #1

With every NFL draft comes an inevitable dose of uncertainty.  However, as Roger Goodell strode across the stage of Radio City Music Hall amid a cascade of boos and "we want football!" chants, it became abundantly clear that this year would be different. (Actually, unless you'd been living under a rock the past six months, you probably had an inkling even before then.)   Every draft selection elicits that gnawing uncertainty of never truly knowing whether that potential is genuine or merely a mirage.  This year, it was the very sport itself which seethed with uncertainty.  Were we watching the first signs of getting back to business as usual, or a cruel tease leading up to the season that never was?

How fitting then that it would be Cameron Trophy leading off the night, a figure inextricably tied to controversy, and, well, uncertainty.  How much did he know about his father’s shady dealings?  Was that championship and Heisman Trophy deserved?  And of course, what kind of player would he really turn out to be among the game’s best?   Cam is far from a sure thing, especially playing for a miserable Panthers team for which he will have to come in and essentially play leader from day one.

However, if the number one pick is anything, ‘sure thing’ is not what comes to mind.  For every so-called “lock,” there are three others that prove to be disappointments, sometimes colossally so.  What category Cameron Newton ultimately falls into is anybody’s guess.  But in the 40+ years since the 1970 merger, few have been such franchise-altering, slam dunk #1 picks as the following 10 greats.

The Top Ten #1 Picks in NFL History (post-merger)
  1. 1998 The Indianapolis Colts select Peyton Manning, quarterback out of Tennessee
  2. 1983 The Baltimore Colts select John Elway, quarterback out of Stanford (subsequently traded to Denver)
  3. 1970 The Pittsburgh Steelers select Terry Bradshaw, quarterback out of Louisiana Tech
  4. 1989 The Dallas Cowboys select Troy Aikman, quarterback out of UCLA
  5. 1985 The Buffalo Bills select Bruce Smith, defensive end out of Virginia Tech
  6. 1978 The Houston Oilers select Earl Campbell, running back out of Texas
  7. 1997 The St. Louis Rams select Orlando Pace, offensive tackle out of Ohio State
  8. 1976 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Lee Roy Selmon, defensive end out of Oklahoma
  9. 1993 The New England Patriots select Drew Bledsoe, quarterback out of Washington State
  10. 1984 The New England Patriots select Irving Fryar, wide receiver out of Nebraska

Honorable Mentions: Keyshawn Johnson (1996), Michael Vick (2001), Jake Long (2008), Billy Sims (1980), Ed "Too Tall" Jones (1981)

Dishonorable Mentions: Tim Couch (1999), David Carr (2002), JaMarcus Russel (2007), Alex Smith (2005), Ki-Jana Carter (2005), Steve Emtman (1992), Aundray Bruce (1988), Kenneth Sims (1982), Walt Patulski (1972)


0 # nellie616 2014-06-06 14:22
Alex Smith deserves better, as he has at least led teams to the playoffs and is still playing. The rest will...yeah.
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