Though writer George Santayana wasn’t concerned with the NFL Draft, his famous quote, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” should be something positive to build on at the 2008 Selection Meeting.
The last time NFL franchises selected players in the same (or similar) overall picks, things weren’t so bad actually. So, if they learned from their own history, one club may get a Hall of Famer, several Pro-Bowlers, and the rest solid starters for years to come.
Listed below is the 2008 Draft Order, in parentheses the last time the franchise had the same (or similar) overall pick, who is was, and how the player selected contributed. This goes only back to the era of the modern, common Draft of 1967 when the NFL-AFL merger was well-underway.
1. Miami Dolphins (2005, #2) – RB Ronnie Brown (Auburn)
Brown’s value is up in the air, following an injury that required reconstructive knee surgery. : The Dolphins have held the No. 1 overall pick only once, but that was in the AFL’s 1966 Draft, when the expansion Dolphins were allowed the top two overall selections.
2. St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (1983) – RB Eric Dickerson (SMU)
The Dicker, as he was known to fans of Nintendo’s legendary video game “Techmo Bowl” is one of the game’s all-time greats, surpassing O.J. Simpson’s single season rushing mark of 2,003 yards (1973, 14 games) with 2,105 in his second season (1984, 16 games). He finished his career with 12,359 rushing yards. The Rams can only wish this year’s pick can be half as successful.
3. Atlanta Falcons (1991) – DB Bruce Pickens (Nebraska)
Pickens played four seasons between 1991 and 1995 (did not play in 1994), starting 9 of the 48 games he played.
4. Oakland/LA/Oakland Raiders (1998) – DB Charles Woodson (Michigan)
The Heisman Trophy winner was a four-time All-Pro (1998-2001) for the Raiders during his eight season with the Silver & Black. He has been a starter for the Green Bay Packers the last two seasons. He has 29 career interceptions in addition to his punt return skills.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (1984) – DL Bill Maas (Pittsburgh)
A starter and two-time Pro Bowl player with the Chiefs during his nine seasons in Kansas City, retiring after 1993 in Green Bay, with 40 career sacks.
6. New York Jets (1976) – QB Richard Todd (Alabama)
Starting QB for 94 of his 102 games with the Jets in eight of his 10 NFL seasons.
7. New England Patriots via SF (1996) – WR Terry Glenn (Ohio State)
Glenn, an Pro Bowl receiver in 1999, is going entering his 13th Season (in Dallas) : The Patriots, thanks to SpyGate, forfeited their own first round pick; luckily, they had made a deal with the 49ers for this pick.
8. Baltimore Ravens (1999, #10) – DB Chris McAllister (Arizona)
A history that dates back only to 1996, this is the closest pick for the franchise. McAllister, who suffered a knee injury last season, has been a major contributor to the Ravens defense.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (2002, #10) – OT Levi Jones (Arizona State)
Started 79 of 84 games during his career with the Bengals.
10. New Orleans Saints (1997) – OG Chris Naeole (Colorado)
Lineman has started 150 of 154 games during his 11 seasons in the NFL (six with the Saints, five with the Jaguars).
11. Buffalo Bills (2007, #12) – RB Marshawn Lynch (California)
Rookie started 13 games, rushing for 1,115 yards and 7 TDs.
12. Denver Broncos (1971) – OT Marv Montgomery (USC)
Started 53 games in nine NFL seasons.
13. Carolina Panthers (2005, #14) – S Thomas Davis (Georgia)
Converted to a LB, Davis started all 16 games in 2007 for the Panthers.
14. Chicago Bears (2004) – DT Tommie Harris (Oklahoma)
Starter for the Bears from Game 1, Harris has been a Pro-Bowler the last three seasons and has 19.5 career sacks.
15. Detroit Lions (1982) – LB Jimmy Williams (Nebraska)
A starter for the Lions in his second season until he went to Minnesota in 1990, Williams retired in 1993 (in Tampa Bay) with 27.5 sacks and 13 interceptions.
16. Arizona/Phoenix/St. Louis Cardinals (1982) – OT Luis Sharpe (UCLA)
Started every game (189) at LT during his 13-year career (Pro Bowl three times).
17. Minnesota Vikings (2006) – LB Chad Greenway (Iowa)
Season ending knee-injury in 2006, started all 16 games in 2007.
18. Houston Texans (2005, 16th) – DT Travis Johnson (Florida State)
In the Texans brief history (since 2002), Johnson has been a serviceable defender.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (1993) – OG Lester Holmes (Jackson State)
A starter in 38 games in four seasons with the Eagles, Holmes would go on to play for the Raiders and Cardinals, starting all 56 games he appeared.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1978, #22) – OG Ray Snell (Wisconsin)
Started 42 games in six NFL seasons (four with Tampa Bay).
21. Washington Redskins (1981, #20) – OT Mark May (Pittsburgh)
Converted to a guard, May was a versatile lineman, starting most every game he was available to play before retiring in 1993. He was recognized by the Washington franchise as one of its 70 Greatest Players (for the team’s 70th Anniversary)
22. Dallas Cowboys via Cleveland (1997) – TE David LaFleur (LSU)
Played four NFL seasons, retiring in 2000. : Cowboys acquired this pick from Cleveland for its 2007 first round pick, used by the Browns to select Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn. The last time Cleveland had the 22nd Pick Overall, it was used on a very influential player – DB Hanford Dixon (Southern Mississippi) of the Dawg Pound fame.
NOTE: This is the first season since 1990 the Browns have not had a First Round Pick. That year, the team’s first selection was Michigan RB Leroy Hoard in the Second Round (45th Overall). In fact, Cleveland won’t have a pick until the Fourth Round.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers (1993) – DB Deon Figures (Colorado)
Figures played four seasons in Pittsburgh, but had his best season in 1997 with the Jaguars, starting 12 games and five interceptions. He retired after the 1998 season.
24. Tennessee Titans/Tennesse Oilers/Houston Oilers (1989, #23) – OT David Williams (Florida)
A solid starter during his nine seasons in the NFL, retired in 1997 with the Jets.
25. Seattle Seahawks (2005) – C Chris Spencer (Mississippi)
After a slow start, Spencer has started 29 of the last 32 games (two seasons) in Seattle.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1999) – DB Fernando Bryant (Alabama)
Cornerback has started all-but-one game he has appeared in during nine seasons, the last four with the Detroit Lions.
27. San Diego Chargers (1987, #24) – RB Rod Bernstine (Texas A&M)
Bernstine brought back the term “H-Back”, fluctuating between TE and RB over his nine-year career, but never really as an impact player.
28. Dallas Cowboys (1978) – DE Larry Bethea (Michigan State)
Solid backup on the Cowboys’ defensive line for his entire six-year career.
29. San Francisco 49ers via Indianapolis (1998) – DB R.W. McQuarters (Oklahoma State)
Backup defensive back, contributing more on kickoff and punt returns for the four teams he has played for during his career. McQuarters returned punts for the Giants in 2007.
NOTE: The Colts, one of two teams without a First Round Pick currently, last had the 29th pick in 2003, selecting CB Marlin Jackson (Michigan), a starter in all 16 games for Indianpolis last season.
30. Green Bay Packers (1997) – OG Ross Verba
Solid, versatile lineman during his eight seasons, last playing for the Lions in 2007 (starting the seven games he appeared).
31. New York Giants (2006, #32) – DE Mathia Kiwanuka (Boston College)
Serviceable defender, converting from DE to LB in 2007.
The Super Bowl Champion Giants would be selecting 32nd, but the forfeiture of the New England’s own pick leaves only 31 First Round Selections.