Bad decisions. They happen each and every day to everyone in all situations. However, when a bad decision happens in an NFL draft there is far more than egg on the faces of the ones who slipped up; it was bank vaults that suffered, as well as some that chose so badly that their entire franchise was buried so deep down that it took forever to rise up once again and shine. (Some of them are still gasping for air).
As we watch the NFL Draft 2013 play out, there were surprises on the first day that shocked one and all. But the real shockers are already recorded in the history books, and although this is only an assumption, it looks like no 2013 picks will make it among the memorable losers or the triumphant winners when it comes to decisions made.
When speaking about daft and ugly decisions, the one that everyone talks about, from SI to the critics to the analysts, and basically anyone who makes their money off the news of the NFL, is the Raiders doomsday pick in 2007 of JaMarcus Russell. Number One was his place, and the Raiders maxed out their budget in order to get him, offering a six-year, $61-million-dollar contract (which basically meant that Russell was guaranteed approximately $32 million no matter how good he did or how bad he stunk.) Of course, no one assumed he would ever be on the stinky side. Only seven games were won in his career and in his entire span he racked up 4,083 passing yards – what Peyton Manning can literally achieve in a couple of games.
It was just last year that there were a gazillion teams (well, maybe not that many), that came into the draft knowing they needed a QB badly. Yet all of them passed on a man named Andy Dalton. It was the Cincinnati Bengals that came in and took him as the 35th pick and basically proved to the rest of the teams that decided – ‘eh, a QB is no biggie’ – that the Bengals were right. I know, that’s not said a great deal. But it was Dalton who reached almost 4,000 yards in his rookie season, brought home twenty TD’s and led the Bengals to the postseason. Take that all you supposedly smarter teams out there!
It was in 2010 that the Eagles were beyond excited about a player. They actually passed on Jason Pierre-Paul to take Brandon Graham. The name may not even seem familiar for the simple reason that he started six games in his rookie year, made three sacks and then did even worse last year with nothing but four tackles. The fancy named guy they passed on by? Well…he was the quiet one, the player who did not make a sound until last year when he made 16.5 sacks and went straight to the Pro Bowl.
Oh, there are scores of others, but seeing as that we have all had way too much negative media news lately, let’s produce some of the best drafts that ever occurred. And this time, we are sticking to the QB position – the leaders of the team – the men who made a huge name for themselves, saved their franchises, and usually did all the Pepsi commercials.
The first one is basically a “Duh!” I mean, the Indianapolis Colts had to draft Peyton Manning – the number 1 overall pick in 1998 – or they would have been absolute morons. His amazing performances led to major bucks for Indianapolis – the team and the city. Even Lucas Oil Stadium is still being referred to as: “The House That Peyton Built.”
The year was 1955 and a QB named Johnny Unitas went in the 9th round of the draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yup, this was an odd tale, seeing as that Unitas found himself cut before he ever even attempted to toss the pigskin in the air. Moving on to make six dollars a game by playing semi-pro football, he finally had the eye of the Baltimore Colts head coach who signed the QB for $17,000 on a make-the-team basis. Unitas was definitely a man that someone wanted to test, because when he finally got his chance to show people what he could do he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. ‘Never say die Unitas’ became one of the best QB’s that football will ever see, proving over 18 seasons that he literally could do it all (once the curse was lifted).
Bart Starr is the name and he more than lived up to it. He was drafted 17th and went on to lead the league triple times in passing yards, earning MVP honors in 1966 – as well as in both Super Bowls I and II.
Joe Montana is synonymous with San Francisco, winning and being the best of the best when it comes to men who stood, and will ever stand, in the QB position. He should have been the first pick in his draft, however, he was actually picked third. To this day and most likely for the rest of time Montana will be regarded as the best QB to ever play the game – and this is one fan who will never disagree with that.
There are many to name but not enough time: Brady, Staubach, Bradshaw, Aikman – many men who raised the QB position to almost regal heights. But the point is that for all the bad that’s out there – for all the daft picks that have been made in the business of the NFL draft – there will forever remain the good, the solid, and the players who brought football class, power, strength and even a sense of nobility.
All that’s left to say is: HURRY UP AND START THE SEASON!
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