In this installment of the NFL’s Greatest Draft Picks, we once again have two Hall of Fame players in the group. This time though, neither player was picked as the best player chosen with that draft pick. There was also another run on one postion in this article, with three wide receivers among the five picks. None of them are in the Hall of Fame yet, but two of them definitely have the numbers to eventually end up there. In fact, one of them is kind of overdue, he’s been passed up each of the last five years.
As for the two Hall of Fame players, one was a Rams tackle that lasted an incredible twenty years. The same pick that produced him also produced a highly prolific Bills receiver that finished his career with over 900 catches. As for the other Hall of Famer, he was the Cowboys first 1,000 yard receiver in 1965, but was drafted with the same pick just happened to produce an All Pro Broncos linebacker that I think is overdue.
These are the best players I could find that were drafted with picks 90-86:
3rd round-90th pick. Green Bay Packers-Antonio Freeman, WR, Virginia Tech, 1995. He spent his rookie year learning, playing mostly on the return teams, and recording eight catches for 106 yards, and a touchdown. In spite of the addtion of veteran Andre Rison, he got more involved in 1996, leading the team with 56 catches for 933 yards, and nine touchdowns. He stepped it up another in 1997, with 81 catches for 1,243 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He hit career highs all around in 1998, with 84 catches for 1,424 yards, averaging 17 yards per catch, with a career long 84 yard touchdown catch, and a total of 14 touchdown catches in his only Pro Bowl season.
He gained national attention with an incredible catch made off his back in an overtime victory over Minnesota in 2000. In nine seasons, he recorded 477 catches 7,251 yards, and 61 touchdowns. In spite of his accomplishments (and the fact that i’m a Packers fan), this pick could eventually be overtaken by Texans quarterback Matt Schaub if he stays healthy, he’s been starting for four seasons now.
Other notable players drafted 90th: St. Louis Cardinals- Leo Sanford, LB, Louisiana Tech, 1951; Pittsburgh Steelers-Dick Hoak, RB, Penn State, 1961; San Francisco 49ers-Sammy Johnson, RB, North Carolina, 1974; Dallas Cowboys-Pat Donovan, T, Stanford, 1975; N.Y. Jets-Scott Dierking, RB, Purdue, 1977; N.Y. Giants-Danny Pittman, WR, Wyoming, 1980; St. Louis Cardinals-Tootie Robbins, T, East Carolina, 1982; San Francisco 49ers-Tom Holmoe, S, Brigham Young, 1983; Kansas City Chiefs-Mark Robinson, S, Penn State, 1984; St. Louis Cardinals-Rod Saddler, DT, Texas A&M, 1987; San Diego Chargers-Yancey Thigpen, WR, Winston-Salem State, 1991; New York Jets-David Loverne, G, San Jose State, 1999; Miami Dolphins-Seth McKinney, C, Texas A&M, 2002; Indianapolis Colts-Donald Strickland, FS, Colorado, 2003; Atlanta Falcons-Matt Schaub, QB, Virginia, 2004; Atlanta Falcons-Chris Owens, DB, San Jose State, 2009; New England Patriots-Taylor Price, WR, Ohio, 2010
3rd round-89th pick. San Francisco 49ers-Terrell Owens, WR, Tenn.-Chattanooga, 1996. He quickly surpassed top draft pick J.J. Stokes as the team’s hot young receiver prospect as a rookie, finishing with 35 catches for 520 yards and four touchdowns. He lasted eight years with the 49ers, and had each of his career highs with the team. His high mark in yardage came in 2000, when he had 97 catches for 1,451 yards, and 13 touchdowns. His career high in touchdowns came in 2001, when he had 93 catches for 1,412 yards, and 16 touchdowns. He had 100 catches for 1,300 yards, and 13 touchdowns in 2002. Isn’t it kind of funny how much he complained about Jeff Garcia even though his career highs came with Garcia throwing to him?
He was traded to the Eagles in 2004, and led the team with 14 touchdown catches, as well as having an MVP caliber performance in their Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. However, his contract squabbles and bickering with quarterback Donovan McNabb led to his release after the 2005 season. He signed with the Cowboys in 2006, and produced 38 touchdowns in three seasons with the team. Because of the Cowboys faith in veterans Patrick Crayton, Roy Williams, and the development of Miles Austin, he left for Buffalo in 2009.
After a sub-par year with a Bills team that had injuries at quarterback, Owens wound up waiting until late in the summer to join Chad Ochocinco in Cincinnati. Although he’ll likely be playing for his sixth team in 2011, he showed he has something left in the tank in 2010. He was on pace for his ninth career double digit touchdown season in 2010 before being injured. He had 72 catches and nine touchdowns in 2010 despite missing two games. So far in his career, he has 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards, and 153 touchdowns.
Other notable players 89th: Chicago Bears-Mike Pyle, C, Yale, 1961; Baltimore Colts-Willie Richardson, WR, 1963; Detroit Lions-Bill Parcells, T, Wichita State, 1964; Dallas Cowboys-Brig Owens, CB/S, Cincinnati, 1965;Pittsburgh Steelers- Ray May, LB, USC, 1967; Philadelphia Eagles-Mel Tom, DE, Hawaii, 1967; N.Y. Jets-Ed Galigher, DT-DE, UCLA, 1972; Philadelphia Eagles- Frank LeMaster, LB, Kentucky, 1974; Buffalo Bills-Lucius Sanford, LB, Georgia Tech, 1978; St. Louis Cardinals-Roy Green, DB/WR, Henderson State, 1979; St. Louis Cardinals-Rusty Lisch, QB, Notre Dame, 1980; John Holt, CB, West Texas A & M, 1981; Chicago Bears-Dennis Gentry, RB/WR, Baylor, 1982; Denver Broncos-Randy Robbins, S, Arizona, 1984; Kansas City Chiefs-Emile Harry, WR, Stanford, 1985; St. Louis Cardinals-Carl Carter, DB, Texas Tech, 1986; Green Bay Packers-Chuck Cecil, S, Arizona, 1988; Seattle Seahawks-Chris Warren, RB, Ferrum, 1990; Denver Broncos-Derek Russell, WR, Arkansas, 1991; New Orleans Saints-Lorenzo Neal, FB, Fresno State, 1993; Houston Oilers-Rodney Thomas, RB, Texas A&M, 1995; San Francisco 49ers-Chike Okeafor, LB, Purdue, 1999; Jacksonville Jaguars-Akin Ayodele, LB, Purdue, 2002; Carolina Panthers-Rashad Butler, T, Miami (Fla.), 2006; Houston Texans-Steve Slaton, RB, West Virginia, 2008; Tennessee Titans-Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina, 2009; Carolina Panthers-Armanti Edwards, WR, Appalachian State, 2010
4th round-88th pick. Denver Broncos-Tom Jackson, LB, Louisville, 1973. A three time Pro Bowl linebacker, Jackson was one of only four players to play for Denver in Super Bowls XII and XXI. He had a career high 7 interceptions for 136 yards and a touchdown in 1976, but didn’t make the Pro Bowl that year. His three Pro Bowl appearances were in the three seasons that followed: 1977-1979. He started 177 of 191 games played, all with the Broncos, and ranks behind only John Elway and Jason Elam in games played as Bronco. He retired after the 1986 season, and has been working for ESPN ever since.
Other Hall of Fame Players drafted eighty-eighth overall; Dallas Cowboys-Bob Hayes, WR, Florida A &M, 1964
Other notable players drafted eighty-eighth overall: Baltimore Colts- Dale Meinert, LB/G, Oklahoma State, 1955; San Diego Chargers-Sonny Bishop, G/T, Fresno State, 1962; San Francisco 49ers-Bill Mathis, RB, Clemson, 1960; St. Louis Cardinals-Jim Bakken, K, Wisconsin, 1962; San Diego Chargers-Sonny Bishop, G, Fresno State, 1962; Kansas City Chiefs-Jerrel Wilson, P, Southern Mississippi,1963; Philadelphia Eagles- Lee Roy Caffey, LB, Texas A&M, 1963; Pittsburgh Steelers- Ed Bradley, LB, Wake Forest, 1972; Green Bay Packers-Steve Luke, DB, Ohio State, 1975; Baltimore Colts-Ray Butler, WR, USC, 1980; Philadelphia Eagles-Evan Cooper, DB, Michigan, 1984; Indianapolis Colts-Willie Broughton, DE, Miami (Fla.), 1985; San Diego Chargers-Mark Vlasic, QB, Iowa, 1987; Cincinnati Bengals-Ricardo McDonald, ILB, Pittsburgh, 1992; Pittsburgh Steelers-Jason Gildon, LB, Oklahoma State, 1994; New England Patriots-Jimmy Hitchcock, CB, North Carolina, 1995; New York Jets-Dedric Ward, WR, Northern Iowa, 1997; Miami Dolphins-Morlon Greenwood, OLB, Syracuse, 2001; New York Jets-Chris Baker, TE, Michigan State, 2002; Carolina Panthers-James Anderson, LB, Virginia Tech, 2006; New Orleans Saints-Andy Alleman, G, Akron, 2007; Baltimore Ravens-Lardarius Webb, DB, Nicholls State, 2009; Arizona Cardinals-Andre Roberts, WR, Citadel, 2010
3rd round-87th pick. Green Bay Packers-Mike McKenzie, CB, Memphis, 1999. He was impressive as rookie, starting all 16 games and recording six interceptions for four yards. He was a regular starter with the team until being traded to the Saints in 2004. He missed only two games in his first three full seasons with the club, and recorded a career high 161 yards and two touchdown on only three interceptions in 2007. He missed nine games with injuries in 2008, but was brought back during the 2009 season, so he did get a Super Bowl ring before retiring. In 11 years, he started 131 games, and had 28 interceptions for 433 yards, and four touchdowns.
Other notable players drafted eighty-seventh overall: Washington Redskins-Dick Shiner, QB, Maryland, 1964; San Francisco 49ers-Vic Washington, RB/WR, Wyoming, 1970; Philadelphia Eagles-Mike Boryla, QB, Stanford, 1974; Dallas Cowboys-Butch Johnson, WR, California-Riverside, 1976; Seattle Seahawks-John Yarno, C, Idaho, 1977; Buffalo Bills-Jeff Nixon, S, Richmond, 1979; L.A. Rams-Chuck Nelson, K, Washington, 1983; Minnesota Vikings (supplemental)- David Howard, LB, Ohio State, 1984; Kansas City Chiefs-Tom Baugh, C, Southern Illinois, 1986; Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Ron Hall, TE, Hawaii, 1987; New England Patriots-Tim Goad, NT, North Carolina, 1988; Atlanta Falcons-Moe Gardner, NT, Illinois, 1991; Chicago Bears- Evan Pilgrim, G, Brigham Young, 1995; Buffalo Bills-Matt Stevens, SS, Appalachian State, 1996; Denver Broncos-Reggie Hayward, DE, Iowa State, 2001; Philadelphia Eagles-Stewart Bradley, LB, Nebraska, 2007; Denver Broncos-Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota, 2010
4th round-86th pick. Buffalo Bills-Andre Reed, WR, Kutztown, 1985. He went from being a standout receiver at a small school,to the leading receiver in one of the NFL’s most high powered offenses in the late 1980’s into the 1990’s. The Bills combo of Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, and Reed were just as effective as the Cowboys trio of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin. The team went to four straight Super Bowls from 1990-1993 with him as their main receiver, but he reached a career high with 90 catches at the end of that streak, in 1994. He was finally overtalen by Eric Moulds as the Bills top receiver in 1999, and went on to spend the 2000 season with the Redskins before retiring. He has yet to be selected to the NFL Hall of Fame, even though he had 951 catches for 13,198 yards, and 87 touchdowns.
Other Hall of Fame players drafted eighty-sixth overall: L.A. Rams-Jackie Slater, T, Jackson State, 1976
Other notable players drafted eighty-sixth overall: Cleveland Browns- Walt Michaels, LB, Washington & Lee, 1951; L.A. Rams-Carroll Dale, WR/TE, Virginia Tech, 1960; Pittsburgh Steelers-Gerry Mullins, G/T, USC, 1971; New Orleans Saints- Jim Merlo, LB, Stanford, 1973; Oakland Raiders-Maurice Harvey, DB, Ball State, 1978; Pittsburgh Steelers-Russell Davis, RB, Michigan, 1979; N.Y. Jets-Al Washington, LB, Ohio State, 1981; New Orleans Saints-Morten Andersen, K, Michigan State, 1982; Houston Oilers-Greg Hill, DB, Oklahoma State, 1983; Indianapolis Colts-Bill Brooks, WR, Boston U., 1986; Indianapolis Colts-Randy Dixon, T, Pittsburgh, 1987; Detroit Lions-Ray Crockett, CB, Baylor, 1989; Washington Redskins-Cary Conklin, QB, Washington, 1990; Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Craig Erickson, QB, Miami, 1992; New England Patriots-Tedy Bruschi, LB, Arizona, 1996; Indianapolis Colts-Bertrand Berry, DE/LB, Notre Dame, 1997; San Francisco 49ers-Jeff Ulbrich, LB, Hawaii, 2000; New England Patriots-David Thomas, TE, Texas, 2006; Baltimore Ravens-Marshal Yanda, T, Iowa, 2007; Baltimore Ravens-Tom Zbikowski, FS, Notre Dame, 2008; Minnesota Vikings-Asher Allen, DB, Georgia, 2009; Philadelphia Eagles-Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE, Washington, 2010