[B][SIZE="4"]Buccaneers and Browns Eyeing Defensive Backs with Top Picks in 2010 NFL Draft[/SIZE][/B]
Numerous mock drafts predict that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry with the third pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and that the Cleveland Browns will take USC cornerback Joe Haden with the seventh choice.
If Berry is picked third, it will be the earliest a defensive back has been selected since 1997 when the Seahawks selected Shawn Springs from Ohio State with the third pick. The earliest a defensive back was ever taken was in 1991 when the Cleveland Browns selected Eric Turner of UCLA with the second pick and the Atlanta Falcons followed by taking Bruce Pickens of Nebraska with the third choice. Johnny Robinson (3rd, 1960, Lions, LSU) and Bennie Blades (3rd, 1988, Lions, Miami FL) are the only other pure defensive backs selected so early.
Certainly, it is not unusual for defensive backs to be drafted with high picks, 54 have been taken in the first round from 2000 onwards. It is unusual, however, for teams to expend super premium picks on them, although that has been a growing trend in the NFL arena-ball era. Whether the picks have been worth it is another question.
Take a look at the defensive backs taken in the top ten during the past decade. There are some good players on the list, whether most of these players where worth top ten value, however, is debatable.
The Chargers took Quentin Jammer (8 years, 16 interceptions) with the fifth pick in 2002. The Cowboys selected Terence Newman (7 years, 23 interceptions, 1 pro bowl) with the fifth pick in 2003. The Redskins chose Sean Taylor (4 years, 12 interceptions, 2 pro bowls) with the fifth pick in 2004. Pacman Jones (3 years, four interceptions, missed 2007, 2009) went to the Titans, to their regret, with the sixth pick in 2005. LaRon Landry (3 years 3 interceptions) was taken by the Redskins with the sixth choice in 2007. The Raiders took Michael Huff (4 years, 4 interceptions) with the seventh selection in 2006. The Cowboys used the eighth choice in 2002 on Roy Williams (8 years, 19 interceptions, 5 pro bowls, now with the Bengals). The Falcons spent the eighth pick in 2004 on DeAngelo Hall (6 years, 26 interceptions, 2 pro bowls) who moved on to the Raiders and then the Redskins. Antrel Rolle (5 years, 12 interceptions) was the eighth choice, by the Cardinals, in 2005. The Bills nabbed Donte Whitner (4 years, 4 interceptions) with the eighth pick in 2006. The Redskins used the ninth pick on Carlos Rogers (5 years, six interceptions) in 2005. The Texans called out Dunta Robinson (6 years, 13 interceptions) when they picked tenth in 2004.
Note that the Washington Redskins drafted three defensive backs in the top ten this past decade (Sean Taylor, LaRon Landry, and Carlos Rogers) and picked up two additional top ten picks along the way (Shawn Springs and DeAngelo Hall). Exactly how good is the Redskins defensive backfield? It certainly hasn't taken them far lately.
The Dallas Cowboys have used top ten picks on defensive backs twice since 2000 (Roy Williams and Terence Newman). Williams had some pretty good years, but now labors for the Bengals. Newman has also provided some quality, nabbing more interceptions than anyone on the list other than DeAngelo Hall. But we haven't seen the Cowboys in the Super Bowl recently either.
Now take a look at the list of 2009 Pro Bowl safeties and cornerbacks and note where they were drafted. Only two of the top 12 defensive backs elected to the Pro Bowl were taken with top ten picks and both are headed for the Hall of Fame after illustrious careers that began before we entered the new millenium: Charles Woodson, the fourth pick in 1998 and Champ Bailey, the seventh pick in 1999.
Defensive backs have gained significant importance in the pass first NFL. But taking them early remains risky business. The Buccaneers and the Browns had darned better do their due diligence before using their super premium picks on defensive backs. They might get lucky and come up with the next Champ Bailey or Charles Woodson, or be less fortunate and get stuck with something much, much less.
Defensive Backs Taken in the Top Ten Picks in the NFL Draft[/INDENT][/INDENT]2000 - 2009
Name Year Round Pick Player Team College
Quentin Jammer 2002 1 5 5 Chargers Texas
Terence Newman 2003 1 5 5 Cowboys Kansas State
Sean Taylor 2004 1 5 5 Redskins Miami (FL)
Pacman Jones 2005 1 6 6 Titans West Virginia
LaRon Landry 2007 1 6 6 Redskins Louisiana State
Michael Huff 2006 1 7 7 Raiders Texas
Roy Williams 2002 1 8 8 Cowboys Oklahoma
DeAngelo Hall 2004 1 8 8 Falcons Virginia Tech
Antrel Rolle 2005 1 8 8 Cardinals Miami (FL)
Donte Whitner 2006 1 8 8 Bills Ohio State
Carlos Rogers 2005 1 9 9 Redskins Auburn
Dunta Robinson 2004 1 10 10 Texans South Carolina
[INDENT][INDENT]2010 Pro Bowl Selections[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[LIST=1][*]Position Team Name Year Round Pick Player Drafted By Position College[/LIST]
[LIST=1]Jets Darrelle Revis 2007 1 14 14 Jets DB Pittsburgh
Raiders Nnamdi Asomugha 2003 1 31 31 Raiders DB California
Broncos Champ Bailey 1999 1 7 7 Redskins DB Georgia
Raiders Charles Woodson 1998 1 4 4 Raiders DB Michigan
Eagless Asante Samuel 2003 4 23 120 Patriots DB Central Florida
Cardinals Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 2008 1 16 16 Cardinals DB Tennessee State
FS Ravens Ed Reed 2002 1 24 24 Ravens DB Miami (FL)
Bills Jairus Byrd 2009 2 10 42 Bills DB Oregon
Saints Darren Sharper 1997 2 30 60 Packers DB William & Mary
Packers Nick Collins 2005 2 19 51 Packers DB Bethune-Cookman
SS Broncos Brian Dawkins 1996 2 31 61 Eagles DB Clemson
Cardinals Adrian Wilson 2001 3 2 64 Cardinals DB North Carolina State
As the NFL trends more and more into a pass-friendly league, CBs and safeties are going to be more in demand.
But I think this article is pretty dumb. First of all, they knock the Redskins for taking Sean Taylor, who was arguably the best FS in the game before his life was abruptly ended. That's just not right.
Then Woodson and Champ have been among the best at the position for more than 10 years and are going to the HOF... they only get a brief mention. Newman has been a high-end starter and the cornerstone for Dallas' secondary. A very good player.
Of course there are busts, just like every position. But Berry is a rare talent at safety and Haden is head and shoulders ahead of the rest of this year's pretty solid CB class.
And look at that pro-bowl roster on the bottom... everyone except Asante Samuel was taken in the top 64. 6 are 1st rounders, including 5/6 CBs. What that tells me is that if you want a true #1 CB, you almost HAVE to take him in the 1st.
That is a strange article because you can find other positions that are just as if not more dubious as top 10 picks.
Top 10 bad but 15 for Revis = good? Probably 6 out of the top 10 in 2007 would have been bettered served to pick Revis than who they took. (Just looking back on that 1st round the Phins could have had Revis over Ted Ginn :D )
Yeah, apparently the author of that article liked to gloss over Woodson and Bailey. Those are pretty good players. Even half of the rest of his 'dubious value' list is questionable, Taylor was a superstar before he got murdered, Jammer, Newman, Rolle, Robinson have carved out nice little careers for them as solid starters, ect.
But like anything else, I don't give a **** what the history was. Eric Berry is not Pac-Man Jones, or Michael Huff. They're different people, just because they failed does not mean that Berry is somehow destined to fail. In fact, it has absolutely zero to do with Eric Berry's career. Every situation should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and Berry appears to be a supreme talent at the Safety position, perhaps the best Safety prospect ever. I think that's worth taking a shot on. Haden, I'm a little less convinced on because of his 40 times.