Mike Sando and Matt Williamson took a look back at the first round of the 2009 draft and ranked the picks, division by division. Mike's focus is on the NFC West, since that's his blog, but it was nice of him to make this an all-encompassing post from which the rest of us could steal liberally. Thanks, Mike. Your check is in the mail.
The NFC East did pretty well in this survey, ranking second among the eight divisions for return (so far) on its investment in 2009 first-round picks. The Cowboys didn't have a first-rounder that year, but the Redskins took Brian Orakpo 13th overall, the Eagles took Jeremy Maclin 19th and the Giants took Hakeem Nicks 29th. All three have been strong contributors at least and outright stars at times, and all three look poised to get even better in the short term and the long.
The only division that fared better in these rankings was the NFC North. The Packers had two picks in the '09 first round and spent them on B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews, whom you may have enjoyed watching win the Super Bowl a couple of months back. The Lions picked Matthew Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew, two key cogs in their offense when Stafford is healthy. And the Vikings got Percy Harvin. The Bears didn't have a first-rounder that year, but I think it's safe to say that the North's haul beats the East's in terms of volume and because of the aforementioned Packers Super Bowl title.
The reviews on this could change over the next few years, of course, but for now you have to believe the Giants, Redskins and Eagles are happy with the way that 2009 first round went.