5 Best (and Worst) Top-5 NFL Draft Picks From the Past 5 Years
The 2016 NFL Draft is finally upon us, which makes it a really good time to look back at past NFL Drafts! This week’s draft is a long, three-day extravaganza, but you can better believe that we’ll be seeing a lot of flashbacks to past picks from previous years.
So I thought it would be interesting to quickly look back at the top five picks in each of the past five years to find the five best – and the five worst – from that group of 25 players!
(Yeah, sure, some players are still so young, it’s tough to call them a bust or a huge disappointment, but we can get a good idea of which players are the best – and the worst.)
5 Best "Top-5" NFL Draft Picks From the Past 5 Years
Obviously, judging players from different positions against each other is tough in the NFL, unlike in baseball, where WAR is used.
1. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina (2011 No. 1 pick)
His Super Bowl meltdown notwithstanding, Newton was the best rookie quarterback in Fantasy Football history, and he hasn’t really looked back. Last year was phenomenal, and he’ll likely be a top Fantasy pick once again. It’s not all about Fantasy, of course, but he was the 2016 MVP, too.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis (2012 No. 1 pick)
Despite a down season, likely due to some injuries, Luck looks like a 15-year career awaits him, with a finale in Canton.
3. Khalil Mack, LB, Oakland (2014 No. 5 pick)
Bleacher Report ranked all outside linebackers last month – and Mack came up first overall after a season that saw him post 58 hurries and 15 sacks.
4. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona (2011 No. 5 pick)
Coming off the best season of his NFL career, Peterson doesn’t get much pub, mostly because quarterbacks know not to throw his way.
Patrick Peterson's Career Stats
1 FF, 9 FR
5 Total TDs
5x Pro Bowler pic.twitter.com/vPJULewm4G
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) April 17, 2016
5. Von Miller, LB, Denver (2011 No. 2 pick)
BR ranked Miller just behind Mack among all outside linebackers. Just take a look when you get a chance at the 2011 NFL Draft top six players. Just. Awesome.
Just missed out: Marcel Dareus, DT, Buffalo (2011 No. 3 pick); A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati (2011 No. 4 pick); Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit (2013 No. 5 pick); Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville (2014 No. 3 pick).
5 Worst "Top-5" NFL Draft Picks From the Past 5 Years
It’s very possible these guys turn into NFL Hall of Famers, but for right now, they’re at the bottom of our group of 25.
1. Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville (2012 No. 5 pick)
Just six touchdown catches in 20 games – before being suspended from the NFL for drugs for all of 2014 and 2015.
2. Dion Jordan, DE, Miami (2013 No. 3 pick)
Speaking of year-long suspensions, Jordan missed the entire 2015 NFL season for a third violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
3. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland (2012 No. 3 pick)
Remember when we thought Indianapolis gouged the Browns when they traded for him in 2013? Who knew the Browns got the better deal?
Trent Richardson was lazy when he came into the league but he's still young and may be in the best shape of his life.
— Corey Adam McCracken (@coreymccrack3n) April 18, 2016
4. Robert Griffin, QB, Washington (2012 No. 2 pick)
Right when the NFL was still vulnerable to the zone-read, RGIII came in and dominated as a rookie with one of the best rookie seasons for a Fantasy quarterback ever.
5. Jadeveon Clowney, LB, Houston (2014 No. 1 pick)
Without question, he showed some crazy talent when he was on the field, but when you play just 17 of 32 NFL games because of injuries – as the No. 1 overall pick – you land on this list and have to climb off.
@nflnetwork Khalil Mack, the guy Houston wishes they had drafted over that broken up, slightly lazy Jadeveon Clowney.
— Donnyd (@Donnyd1965) April 18, 2016
Just missed out: Greg Robinson, OT, St. Louis (2014 No. 2 pick); Matt Kalil, OT, Minnesota (2012 No. 4 pick); Eric Fisher, OT, Kansas City (2013 No. 1 pick); Luke Joeckel, OT, Jacksonville (2013 No. 2 pick) Dante Fowler, DE, Jacksonville (2015 No. 3 pick).
Khalil Mack Photo Credit: George Gojkovich, Getty Images
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