It can be very fashionable to make an absolute determination–as if there are any absolutes–that a given year’s National Football League draft is a “good” or “bad” draft, as if there is any choice in the matter.
Every year you play a schedule, and you have a team composed of players. So every year, every team needs players.
Each season as well, there is a new crop of aspiring young players waiting to be drafted.
It is a given that some will succeed and others will fail, but some will always succeed.
If a draft is bad, but a certain team gets a great player, was it a bad one for that team?
In 1983 the Denver Broncos wound up with John Elway. Try telling any Bronco fan that 1983 was a bad draft. From where I sit, it looks like a pretty good one.
And just for the heck of it, let’s take a look at some Broncos and where they were selected in their respective drafts. This should serve to remind us all that anything can happen at any time.
Karl Mecklenburg was taken in the 12th round (the 310th overall selection), which no longer even exists.
Tyrone Braxton was taken in the 12th round and was just one pick away from being the last player taken, the fellow dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” each year. He was the 334th player chosen; too small, too slow. Of course, he played on three national championship teams in college, so he must have made a tackle or knocked down a pass now and then.
Terrell Davis was a sixth round dhoice, the 196th player selected–so 195 guys were projected as better than Terrell Davis that year.
Shannon Sharpe, who becomes eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next January, was chosen in the seventh round, pick number 192.
Longtime starting safety Steev Foley was an eighth round pick, the 199th overall, in 1975, and he did not even play safety in college. Foley was a quarterback, and the first time he ever played safety was for the Broncos.
Keith Bishop was the 157th player chosen in 1980.
Gary Kubiak was regarded by many as the best backup quarterback of his generation, and he was the 197th player chosen back in that 1983 draft.
Steve Watson, one of the favorite receivers of Elway and Kubiak, was not even drafted at all.
Much more recently, Rod Smith was never drafted. Not late, not by anybody. And in the entire history of the NFL, among undrafted wide received he is the all-time leader in reception, reception yards, and touchdown catches. And he was a key leader on two world championship teams.
Every team has names like this, success stories to go along with the misses that the media love to talk about.
There is still no way to measure heart, and it can be very difficult to project development with absolute certainty.
So when somebody says it is a good draft or a bad one, that statement is completely correct–except for the times when it is wrong.
When you are only taking one player at a time, it only takes one to equal that number.