Yesterday We discussed the short history of the 32nd pick in the first round and what teams have done with it. Today lets look at the best and worts moves made with the pick.
1. Patriots Select Logan Mankins- This is very very close to being the second best use of the pick, but I will give the Patriots the edge because they kept the pick, whereas my #2 team traded it away. Makins has been the anchor of the Patriots offensive line since the day he stepped on the field for them. He has been to 5 pro-bowls, been named to 4 all-pro teams, been to 2 superbowls(both losses), and was named to the Patriots all decade team for the 2000′s, despite only playing for 5 years of the decade. Mankins is a shingin example for teams picking 32nd to follow their boards, even if the position is perceived to have less value than a flashier position. someone always falls down the board, but like the Patriots in 2005, you have to be smart enough to pick the player that falls to you, not pick the sexist position player on the board.
2. Buccaneers trade the pick for Gruden- Ok, so to be fair, the Bucs didnt know they would have the 32nd pick when they traded it away, but either way that is what they did. The Bucs sent a package of picks, including their 32nd pick, to the Oakland Raiders after the 2001 season in exchange for Head Coach Jon Gruden. The Raiders felt Gruden would never take them to the big game after losing in the playoffs to the Ravens and Patriots in successive years. Gruden went on to be one of the best head coaches in the league for the next several years and turned the Bucs into a perennial superbowl contender, winning over his former team, the Raiders, in his very first year on the job. One odd fact about this trade, the Raiders ended up with both picks given to superbowl participants(31 and 32) because of it. They are the only team to ever possess both of those picks.
3. Steelers Trade Up For Santonio- I waffled back and forth on this one for quite a while, but after much thought, it landed here at 3rd best. after capturing their first superbowl in 30 years in 2005, the Steelers were looking for more weapons for upstart QB Big Ben. When Holmes started slipping down the board because of some off field trouble, the Steelers pounced. Holmes went on to be the best WR on the team for years until he was traded to the Jets before the 2010 season because of failed drug tests. He only brought back a 5th rounder. Even with the disappointing ending to his career in Pittsburgh, Holmes still accomplished a lot before he left. His crowning achievement will always be the game winning incredible catch that netted him a superbowl ring and super bowl MVP honors.
1. Patriots trade up for Daniel Graham- The 32nd pick has a pretty good history. I believe this is largely because teams that draft poorly don’t win championships, so only the elite drafting teams are ever getting the 32nd pick. It might be hard to believe, but a player with 224 receptions and 2 superbowl championships is probably the worst pick ever made with the 32nd pick. Graham wasn’t necessarily a bad player, but he only spent 4 years with the patriots before bouncing around, and subsequently out of, the league. Graham was moderately productive, but he was far from a game breaker.
2. Steelers Take Ziggy Hood- Hood is probably going to be taking over number 1 on this list within a year or two, but for now he stays 2nd. The Steelers took Hood following their 2008 championship and he has been fairly mediocre ever since. Last season he started all year for the Steelers, but he was clearly the weak link of their line and probably only started out of necessity. popular opinion is that Hood will be on a new team when his current contract expires next off-season. Hood would probably be better off sliming down a bit and playing for a 4-3 team as a DT.
3. Colts Take Gonzalez- Let me preface this by saying that AG is a pretty good player. when healthy. The only reason he was available at 32nd was because many teams had lingering concerns about his fairly often injuries in college and his ability to play with pain. The Colts took a chance on him and it backfired. gonzalez never played a complete season and has been out of the league since 2011(he was on the Patriots training camp roster in 2012 but failed to make the team after getting injured). The only reason AG isnt number 1 on this list is because I have a tougher time judging a team harshly for picking an injury prone player than just picking a player that wasnt any good like the two above him on this list.
Those are my picks for best and worst picks, Come back tomorrow for part III of the history of the 32nd pick where we will discuss the History that will be happening next weekend when the Ravens make their pick.