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NFL Draft: Top Three Picks


Updated Feb. 15, 2010.


I've received a ton of e-mails from people asking me why I think Eric Berry is a reach for the top three, and why I think he will ultimately fall out of the top five.

Rather than slap all of those e-mails together into one NFL Draft Mailbag, I thought I'd create a separate page outlining the history of the top three selections in the NFL Draft.

The following chart details which positions were taken with the top three selections since the 1998 NFL Draft:

NFL Draft Year
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
2009
QB
OT
DE
2008
OT
DE
QB
2007
QB
WR
OT
2006
DE
RB
QB
2005
QB
RB
WR
2004
QB
OT
WR
2003
QB
WR
WR
2002
QB
DE
QB
2001
QB
OT
DT
2000
DE
OLB
OT
1999
QB
QB
QB
1998
QB
QB
DE


As you can see, all the picks were either quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive tackles or defensive ends.

There were exceptions that I bolded. In 2001, the inept Cleveland Browns took defensive tackle Gerard Warren No. 3 overall. He was a major bust. The year before, genius drafter Daniel Snyder selected LaVar Arrington second overall. Arrington had injury and attitude problems, and his career was consequently cut very short.

Going into more detail, here are how many of each position were taken in the first three picks since 1998:

Position
Amount
QBs
15
RBs
2
WRs
5
TEs
0
OTs
6
G/C
0
DEs
6
DTs
1
LBs
1
DBs
0


So, what does all of this mean? No defensive back has been drafted in the top three picks. Not Ed Reed. Not Troy Polamalu. Not Bob Sanders. In the grand scheme of things, the safety position is not that important compared to quarterback, offensive tackle, defensive end, etc.

As far as some of the other positions are concerned, unless a team is convinced a certain linebacker will be the next Ray Lewis, and Daniel Snyder isn't involved, you can forget about one going in the top three picks.

Conversely, if there's a quarterback on the fringe of top-five consideration, there's a good chance he'll be chosen in the top three, assuming one of those teams could use an upgrade at the position (i.e. Rams with Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford).

Like Arrington and Warren, there are exceptions to the rule. Some quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn bottomed out completely.

Of course, those exceptions are the things that cause us to gasp in amazement and then rant about how dumb some of these NFL general managers are. And that's just what makes the NFL Draft so fun.



NFL Draft History Archive:

NFL Draft History
Ten Reasons Why the Detroit Lions Must Draft Russell Okung - 4/5/10
How Often Do Offensive Tackles Bust? - 4/5/10
Are Safeties Worth a Top Five Draft Pick? - 3/27/10
Do Quarterbacks Bust More Than Other Positions? - 2/28/10
Do Defensive Coaches Draft Offensive Players? - 2/15/10
Top Three NFL Draft Pick History - 2/15/10
New Regimes Mean New Quarterbacks - 2/15/10
Andy Reid's NFL Draft History - 2/15/10
NFL Draft Quarterback Busts: How to Spot Them
Linebacker Draft History








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