Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the ESPN.com blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: Five-year history in that spot.
Denver Broncos: There have been some stars taken in the No. 11 spot recently. In 2007, San Francisco took linebacker Patrick Willis. He has become one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He is a dominant middle linebacker. In 2006, Denver traded up to take quarterback Jay Cutler. He was a Pro Bowl quarterback in Denver before he was sent to Chicago last year. In 2005, Dallas took pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware. He is a key to Dallas’ defense. The past two players taken in the spot have to prove they belong. Buffalo took defensive end Aaron Maybin in 2009 and cornerback Leodis McKelvin in 2008. Maybin was slowed by a long holdout. Still, he has solid pass-rushing potential. McKelvin has some nice potential but he has been hampered by injuries.
Kansas City Chiefs: The No. 5 overall pick hasn’t been a sure-thing selection spot. In 2009, the Jets took quarterback Mark Sanchez. He has the makings of being an outstanding quarterback. He led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game as a rookie. However, the results at this spot have been uneven overall. Kansas City took defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey in 2008. Dorsey was considered perhaps the best player available in the draft. He has been slow to adjust to the NFL game and 3-4 defense the Chiefs adopted in his second NFL season. In 2007, Arizona took tackle Levi Brown. He has developed into a nice starting tackle. Still, he may have been taken too high. In 2006, Green Bay took linebacker A.J. Hawk, who has had his ups and downs. He’s been good, but not great. In 2005, Tampa Bay took running back Cadillac Williams. He has been a productive player when healthy. But injuries have hampered him.
Oakland Raiders: There hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of production out of the No. 8 spot the past five years. Jacksonville has been in this spot the past two years. It took left tackle Eugene Monroe last year and defensive end Derrick Harvey in 2008. Monroe looks like he could be a solid pick in an era where there are several good left tackles entering the league. Harvey had a long holdout and he has been hurt. He has 5.5 sacks in two full seasons. He needs to pick it up. In 2007, Atlanta took defensive end Jamaal Anderson. He looks like he may be a big bust. He has 2.5 sacks in 44 games. He started 16 games last season and did not have a sack. In 2006, the Bills took safety Donte Whitner. He has been a solid player. Arizona took safety Antrel Rolle in 2005. He was just cut by the Cardinals in a salary dump and signed by the Giants. He has been a solid playmaker.
San Diego Chargers: There has been some good production at the No. 28 spot for being so low in the first round. In 2009, Buffalo took center Eric Wood. He had a terrific start to his career, but suffered a broken leg in November and will need to prove he can come back from it. In 2008, Seattle took defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who has had 6.5 sacks in two seasons. He could still be solid, but he was an awful pick at No. 28. San Francisco scored big in 2007 with left tackle Joe Staley. He was a very good value pick. In 2006, Jacksonville took tight end Marcedes Lewis. He has 123 catches in four NFL seasons and he has seven career touchdowns catches. He isn’t dominant, but he has been far from a bust. The Chargers took defensive end Luis Castillo in this spot five years ago. He has become an important part of the Chargers’ defense, and the team gave him a lucrative deal in 2008 to keep him.