Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the ESPN.com NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today's topic: History in the spot.
2010: OT Anthony Davis (49ers)
2009: LB Aaron Maybin (Bills)
2008: DB Leodis McKelvin (Bills)
2007: LB Patrick Willis (49ers)
2006: QB Jay Cutler (Broncos)
2005: LB DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys)
2004: QB Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)
Last year at No. 11, the 49ers got Rutgers offensive tackle Davis, who started every game on the right side. Maybin, taken in the spot in 2009, is on the hot seat in Buffalo where he’s not come close to expectations. In 2007, the 49ers got the excellent middle linebacker Willis 11th, when the Texans took defensive tackle Amobi Okoye the spot before. The verdict on Cutler is still to be determined, while Ware is a superstar and Ben Roethlisberger's won two Super Bowls. Other hits since the NFL-AFL merger include Michael Irvin, Dwight Freeney and Leon Searcy. Other misses: Ron Dayne, Michael Booker.
2010: WR Demaryius Thomas (Broncos)
2009: WR Percy Harvin (Vikings)
2008: RB Felix Jones (Cowboys)
2007: QB Brady Quinn (Browns)
2006: LB Manny Lawson (49ers)
2005: WR Mark Clayton (Ravens)
2004: QB J.P. Losman (Bills)
Last year’s 22nd pick, Denver receiver Thomas caught 22 passes and scored two touchdowns. Minnesota grabbed receiver Harvin in the spot in 2009 and he’s one of the game’s most dynamic players already. Quinn didn’t cut it in Cleveland and ranks third now in Denver, and Losman didn’t solve Buffalo’s quarterback issues. The last time the Colts were in this spot, they took receiver Andre Rison in 1989. He played only one season for the franchise, but in 12 years he amassed more than 10,000 receiving yards and caught 84 touchdowns.
2010: DE Derrick Morgan (Titans)
2009: LB Larry English (Chargers)
2008: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Cardinals)
2007: DT Justin Harrell (Packers)
2006: CB Jason Allen (Dolphins)
2005: DT Travis Johnson (Texans)
2004: OT Shawn Andrews (Eagles)
Morgan went 16th to Tennessee last year, but suffered a season-ending knee injury early on. Rodgers-Cromartie had a big rookie season in 2008 as the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu was a huge find at the spot in 2003 and Jevon Kearse set a rookie record for sacks and led Tennessee to the Super Bowl in 1999. But others in the recent past like Allen, Houston's Johnson and Cleveland running back William Green hardly lived up to expectations. Dan McGwire, a big quarterback bust for Seattle, also went in the spot in 1991. But anyone thinking the Jaguars can’t hit a home run should know that a guy rated by many as the greatest player of all time, Jerry Rice, was selected 16th in 1985.
2010: LB Rolando McClain (Raiders)
2009: OT Eugene Monroe (Jaguars)
2008: DE Derrick Harvey (Jaguars)
2007: DE Jamaal Anderson (Falcons)
2006: S Donte Whitner (Bills)
2005: S Antrel Rolle (Cardinals)
2004: CB DeAngelo Hall (Falcons)
McClain went to Oakland eighth last season and was second on the Raiders in tackles his rookie year. Jacksonville had the spot the two years before that. The Jaguars think they got a long-term left tackle in Monroe, but Harvey might be done already. Jordan Gross is a top-flight tackle for Carolina and receiver Plaxico Burress was a Super Bowl hero for the Giants. But receiver David Terrell busted for the Bears, receiver David Boston didn’t fare much better in Arizona and running back Tim Biakabutuka was a dud for the Panthers. Sam Adams’ long career clogging up the middle as a defensive tackle started in Seattle. The last time the Titan franchise had this pick, it landed Hall of Fame guard Mike Munchak, who’s now the team’s coach.