Pick By Pick: A Countdown of the NFL’s Best Draft Picks, Part XI: #211-220
I’ve made it to part XI, but I have to admit, it’s getting tougher and tougher to make the picks. As you saw in the last article, I had to bump Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel down to honorable mention status after finding a 10 year starter on the Dolphins defensive line from their championship teams of the 70’s with the same pick. The 214th pick in particular had a bunch of guys that were good players, but a Hall of Fame safety trumped them all. So, this time we’ve got two current stars-a Pro Bowl Titans cornerback, a Pro Bowl Packers receiver, two Pro Bowl offensive linemen, and the hero of Super Bowl XLII. These are best NFL players drafted with picks 220-211:
16th round-220th pick. Pittsburgh Steelers-Andy Russell, LB, Missouri, 1963. He helped start the Steelers tradition of drafting great linebackers. He made the roster as a rookie, didn’t play for the next two years, then came back in 1966. He first made the Pro Bowl in 1968, then made it six years in a row from 1970-1975. He helped the Steelers win Super Bowls IX & X, he was named to the Steelers 50th season All Time Team, as well as the Steelers All Time Team. In his 12 year career with the Steelers, he had 18 interceptions for 238 yards and a touchdown. He’s not in the Hall of Fame yet, but maybe if enough of us nag them they’ll make him, L.C. Greenwood, and Donnie Shell senior candidates.
Other notable players picked 220th: Washington Redskins-Bob Dee, DE/DT, Holy Cross, 1955; Green Bay Packers-Dave Hampton, RB, Wyoming, 1969; Pittsburgh Steelers-Tom Graves, LB, Michigan State, 1979; Pittsburgh Steelers-Randy Rasmussen, C, Minnesota, 1984; New England Patriots-Greg Baty, TE, Stanford, 1986; Kansas City Chiefs-Todd McNair, RB, Temple, 1989; Houston Oilers-Bucky Richardson, QB, Texas A&M , 1992; Houston Oilers-Lemanski Hall, LB, Alabama, 1994; Indianapolis Colts-Rick DeMulling, G, Idaho, 2001; Indianapolis Colts-Josh Mallard, DE, Georgia, 2002; Buffalo Bills-Ellis Lankster, DB, West Virginia, 2009; Philadelphia Eagles-Jamar Chaney, LB, Mississippi State, 2010
8th round-219th pick. Chicago Bears-Mark Bortz, G, Iowa, 1983. A long time starting guard for the Bears, Bortz was voted to the Pro Bowl twice in his career. He was with the Bears for their Super Bowl XX win. He became a starter in his second year, and kept that spot up until his retirement. He played for the Bears from 1983 to 1994.
Other notable players picked 219th: Washington Redskins-Bob Smith, DB, Iowa, 1947; N.Y. Jets-Mike Taliaferro, QB, Illinois, 1963; Miami Dolphins-Jesse Powell, LB, West Texas A&M, 1969; Denver Broncos- Dave Washington, LB-TE, Alcorn State, 1970; L.A. Rams-Jim Nicholson, T, Michigan State, 1973; Atlanta Falcons-Frank Reed, CB/S, Washington, 1976; New England Patriots-Brad Benson, T, Penn State, 1977; Washington Redskins-Barry Wilburn, CB, Mississippi, 1985; Washington Redskins-Clarence Vaughn, DB, Northern Illinois,1987; San Francisco 49ers-Elvis Grbac, QB, Michigan, 1993; Denver Broncos-Nate Wayne, LB, Mississippi, 1998; Atlanta Falcons-Kynan Forney, G, Hawaii, 2001; Buffalo Bills-Demetrius Bell, T, Northwestern State-Louisiana, 2008; San Francisco 49ers-Curtis Taylor, DB, Louisiana State, 2009; Washington Redskins-Terrence Austin, WR, UCLA, 2010
7th round-218th pick. Denver Broncos-Tom Nalen, C, Boston College, 1994. Became a starter in his second year with the Broncos. He spent his entire career with the Broncos, mising only 1 game from 1995-2001. He missed nine games in 2002 due to injury, then started all 16 games for the next four years. He started five games in 2007 before being injured, then retired after missing the 2008 season. In 15 years with the club he started 188 of 194 games played, was picked for the Pro Bowl five times, and they won Super Bowls XXXII & XXXIII.
Other notable players picked 218th: Chicago Cardinals-Sonny Randle, WR, Virginia, 1958; Detroit Lions-Mike Weger, S, Bowling Green, 1967;New Orleans Saints-Jim Otis, RB, Ohio State, 1970; N.Y. Giants-Myron Guyton, S, Eastern Kentucky, 1989; Miami Dolphins-Dwayne Gordon, LB, New Hampshire, 1993; Houston Oilers-Mike Archie, RB, Penn State, 1996; Denver Broncos-Billy Miller, TE, USC, 1999; Tennessee Titans-Reynaldo Hill, CB, Florida, 2005; Arizona Cardinals-Todd Watkins, WR, Brigham Young, 2006; Houston Texans-Zach Diles, LB, Kansas State, 2007; Green Bay Packers-Brad Jones, LB, Colorado, 2009; Chicago Bears-J’Marcus Webb, T, West Texas AM, 2010
9th round-217th round. Denver Broncos-Lyle Blackwood, S, Texas Christian, 1973. He first made an impact with the Bengals in 1975, recording two interceptions. He went to Seattle in 1976, then joined the Colts in 1977, where he took off. He had a breakthrough season, leading the NFL with 10 interceptions in 1977. He had four interceptions each of the following two seasons, then dropped down to one in 1980. He joined his brother Glenn with the Dolphins and their “Killer B’s defense” in 1981. When paired with his brother they became known as the Bruise Brothers. He stuck with Miami for six years, retiring after the 1986 season.
Other notable players picked 217th: L.A. Rams-Dick Daugherty, G/C/LB, Oregon, 1951; L.A. Rams-Jim Boeke, LT, Heidelberg, 1960; Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Gene Sanders, T/G/DE, Texas A&M, 1979; Houston Oilers-Willie Tullis, DB, Troy State, 1981; N.Y. Jets-Davlin Mullen, DB, Western Kentucky, 1983; Denver Broncos-Bruce Klosterman, LB, South Dakota State, 1986; San Francisco 49ers-David Grayson, LB, Fresno State, 1987; Houston Oilers-Alvoid Mays, DB, West Virginia, 1989; Philadelphia Eagles-Doug Skene, G, Michigan, 1993; Los Angeles Raiders-Rob Holmberg, LB, Penn State, 1994; New York Jets-Tupe Peko, G, Michigan State, 2001; Minnesota Vikings-Tyler Thigpen, QB, Coastal Carolina, 2007; Green Bay Packers-Brett Swain, WR, San Diego State, 2008; Tampa Bay Buccaneers-E.J. Biggers, CB, Western Michigan, 2009; Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Dekoda Watson, LB, Florida State, 2010
7th round-216th pick. Dallas Cowboys-Patrick Crayton, WR, NW Oklahoma State, 2004. He had his lowest catch total since 2005, but his numbers would’ve been even lower if he had stayed in Dallas. The Cowboys had Pro Bowler Miles Austin, #1 pick Dez Bryant, and veteran Roy Williams, so he might have been the fourth guy if he had stuck around. He could see a bigger role in 2011 with the Chargers if Vincent Jackson leaves. So far, in seven years he’s made 224 catches for 3,402 yards, averaging 15.2 yards per catch, and 24 touchdowns. He also had a career high average of 18.4 yards per catch in 2010.
Other notable players picked 216th: Miami Dolphins-John Richardson, DT, UCLA, 1967; San Francisco 49ers-Manfred Moore, RB, USC, 1974; St. Louis Cardinals- Eric D. Williams, LB, USC, 1977; L.A. Rams-Art Plunkett, T, UNLV, 1981; Cleveland Browns-J.J. Birden, WR, Oregon, 1988; Philadelphia Eagles-Scott Kowalkowski, LB, Notre Dame, 1991; Atlanta Falcons-Derrick Moore, RB, Northeastern State (Okla.), 1992; Pittsburgh Steelers-Alex Van Pelt, QB, Pittsburgh, 1993; New England Patriots-Lovett Purnell, TE, West Virginia, 1996; Baltimore Ravens-Anthony Poindexter, DB, Virginia, 1999; Miami Dolphins-Kevin Vickerson, DT, Michigan State, 2005; Carolina Panthers-Captain Munnerlyn, DB, South Carolina, 2009; Buffalo Bills-Kyle Calloway, T, Iowa, 2010
7th round-215th pick. Tennessee Titans-Cortland Finnegan, CB, Samford, 2006. He became a 16 game starter in his second year.He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2008 when he had 5 interceptions for 100 yards, the longest being a 99 yard return for a touchdown. He actually outdid those numbers in 2009, picking off five for 194 yards, but was not named to the Pro Bowl. He’s had touchdown on interception returns in each of the last three seasons.
Other notable players picked 215th: New Orleans Saints-Joe Owens, DE, Alcorn State, 1970; St. Louis Cardinals-Reggie Harrison, RB, Cincinnati, 1974; New England Patriots-Mosi Tatupu, RB, USC, 1978; Miami Dolphins-Glenn Blackwood, S, Texas, 1979; Chicago Bears-Randy Clark, C, Northern Illinois, 1980; Atlanta Falcons-John Rade, LB, Boise State, 1983; San Diego Chargers-Maury Buford, P, Texas Tech, 1982; L.A. Rams-Ed Brady, LB, Illinois, 1984; Cincinnati Bengals-Solomon Wilcots, S, Colorado, 1987; Washington Redskins-Jimmy Spencer, DB, Florida, 1991; Phoenix Cardinals-Stevie Anderson, WR, Grambling State, 1993; Arizona Cardinals-Ben Patrick, TE, Delaware, 2007; Baltimore Ravens-Justin Harper, WR, Virginia Tech, 2008; Cincinnati Bengals-Fui Vkapuna, FB, Brigham Young, 2009; Oakland Raiders-Jeremy Ware, DB, Michigan State, 2010
9th round-214th pick. Houston Oilers-Ken Houston, S, Prairie View, 1967. Although he didn’t selected for the Pro Bowl his rookie season or his last season in 1980, he did make it the other 12 years that he played. From 1968 to 1979 he made the Pro Bowl every season. He spent his first six seasons as an Oiler, and was starting by the third game in his rookie year. In 1971 he set an NFL with five touchdowns scored on returns, which stood until Devin Hester broke it in 2006.
In 1973, he was traded from Houston to the Redskins for five players. He continued playing at a high level and made the next seven Pro Bowls as a Redskin. In his career he made 49 interceptions for 898 yards, had 21 fumble recoveries, and scored 12 touchdowns. He was selected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1986.
Other notable players picked 214th: N.Y. Jets-Louie Giammona, RB, Utah State, 1976; Houston Oilers-Carter Hartwig, S, USC, 1979; Miami Dolphins-David Woodley, QB, Louisiana State, 1980; New England Patriots-Ronnie Lippett, CB, Miami (Fla.), 1983; Pittsburgh Steelers-Harry Newsome, P, Wake Forest, 1985; Houston Oilers-Gary Brown, RB, Penn State, 1991; Houston Oilers-Blaine Bishop, S, Ball State, 1993; St. Louis Rams-Gerald McBurrows, S, Kansas, 1995; Minnesota Vikings-Mickey Shuler, TE, Penn State, 2010
7th round-213th pick. Green Bay Packers-Donald Driver, WR, Alcorn State, 1999. He started only four games in his first three years, but became a star in 2002.He had 70 catches for 1,064 yards and nine touchdowns in 2002. It was the first of seven 1,000 yards seasons for him so far in his career. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2002, 2006, and 2007. He became the Packers all time reception leader in 2009. The 2010 season was his first without 1,000 yards since 2003. So far, his career totals are 698 catches for 9,615 yards, averaging 13.8 yards a catch, and 53 touchdowns.
Other notable players picked 213th: Detroit Lions-Stan Campbell, G, Iowa State, 1952; N.Y. Giants-Lee Rouson, RB, Colorado, 1985; Washington Redskins-Kurt Gouveia, MLB, Brigham Young, 1986; L.A. Rams-Michael Stewart, S, Fresno State, 1987; Buffalo Bills-Jeff Wright, NT, Central Missouri State, 1988; L.A. Raiders-Brian Jones, LB, Texas, 1991; Miami Dolphins-Yeremiah Bell, FS, Eastern Kentucky, 2003; New York Jets-Darrell McClover, LB, Miami (Fla.), 2004; Baltimore Ravens-Derek Anderson, QB, Oregon State, 2005; Jacksonville Jaguars-James Wyche, DE, Syracuse, 2006; Cleveland Browns-Chase Pittman, DE, Louisiana State, 2007; Philadelphia Eagles-Paul Fanaika, G, Arizona State, 2009; Detroit Lions-Willie Young, DE, North Carolina State, 2010
7th round-212th pick. San Francisco 49ers-Tim Rattay, QB, Louisiana Tech, 2000. He started 16 games in six years as a 49ers quarterback. He joined the Buccaneers in 2005 and started two games for them in 2006. He played in two games with the Cardinals in 2007. He has been playing for the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives for two years.
Other notable players picked 212th: Houston Oilers-Floyd Rice, LB, Alcorn State, 1971; New England Patriots-Lin Dawson, TE, North Carolina State, 1981; Miami Dolphins-Mark Dennis, T, Illinois, 1987; Miami Dolphins-Harry Galbreath, G, Tennessee, 1988; Indianapolis Colts-Kurt Larson, LB, Michigan State, 1989; Cleveland Browns-Jock Jones, LB, Virginia Tech, 1990; Indianapolis Colts-Ronald Humphrey, RB, Mississippi Valley State, 1992; Arizona Cardinals-Mark Smith, DT, Auburn, 1997; Miami Dolphins-Chris McCoy, DL, Middle Tennessee State, 2010
6th round-211th pick. New York Giants-David Tyree, WR, Syracuse, 2003. He only had 54 catches in his career, but he made one of the biggest catches in Super Bowl history. In Super Bowl XLII, he made a miraculous catch over the middle where he pinned the ball to his helmet, and maintained control of it coming down, even with Rodney Harrison tackling him. The Giants comeback victory against the undefeated Patriots would not have been possible without his catch. Unfortunately it was also the last catch of his career. He was placed on injured reserve in 2008 with a knee injury.
Before his miracle catch in the Super Bowl, he was known as a standout special teams player. He blocked six punts in his career, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2005 as the NFC’s kickoff coverage man. During the 2007 season he only had four catches. His career high was only 19 catches in 2006. After being let go by the Giants in 2009, he signed with the Ravens, but never caught a pass with them. He signed a one day contract with the Giants in 2010 so he could retire with the team.
Other notable players picked 211th: Cleveland Browns-LaVerne Torczon, DE, Nebraska, 1957; N.Y. Jets-Dave Herman, RG, Michigan State, 1963; Miami Dolphins-Hubert Ginn, RB, Florida A&M, 1970; Philadelphia Eagles-Max Runager, P, South Carolina, 1979; St. Louis Cardinals-Bob Harris, DB, Auburn, 1983; Seattle Seahawks-Alonzo Mitz, DE, Florida, 1986; Minnesota Vikings-Rick Fenney, RB, Washington, 1987; N.Y. Giants-Kent Graham, QB, Ohio State, 1992; St. Louis Rams-Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Texas, 2009; St. Louis Rams-Marquis Johnson, DB, Alabama, 2010
Information compiled using player profiles on yahoo, nfl.com, and pro-football-reference.com