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Saturday, 28 February 2015

NFL Draft: Top 10 Second Round PIcks In History

Each year, the NFL draft is a culmination of players' determination and hard work, coupled with hours upon hours of analysis by coaching staffs and scouts, all with the goal of pinpointing the best fits for team needs. And don't forget a myriad of pundit mocking and grading of every nuance of player potential and performance.

But when it comes down to it, the draft, from the first pick until Mr. Irrelevant is chosen, is one big crap-shoot, as easily yielding a Ryan Leaf as a Peyton Manning with the two top picks in the draft.

Here's a look at the best the second round has produced over the years.

10. Mel Renfro- 1965.

Renfro spent his college days in the backfield, but was converted to defensive back by Tom Landry to help establish a dominant defense for the Dallas Cowboys. 14 seasons later, Renfro had accumulated 52 interceptions, 10 Pro-Bowl nominations, and two Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1996.

9. Dave Casper- 1974.

The Oakland Raiders selected Casper, who didn't become an integral part of the offense until 1976. But he quickly became a force, selected to five Pro-Bowls and earning a Super Bowl ring following the 1976 season. He caught 52 TD passes in his career and was elected to the HOF in 2002.

8. Jack Lambert- 1974.

Drafted alongside Casper, but by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Lambert was one of the most feared linebackers as part of the Steel Curtain. He earned nine Pro-Bowl berths and won four Championships with the Steelers. Lambert is one of the few players to make the All-70s team and the All-80s team. He was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in '74 and was Defensive Player of the Year four times. He was elected into the HOF in 1990.

7. Mike Singletary- 1981.

If any player personifies linebacker, it is Singletary. He may not have been a sack machine, but finished his career with 1,488 tackles. He was truly the heart of the Monsters of the Midway. He was a part of the Super Bowl XX destruction of the Patriots. In addition to 10 Pro Bowls, he was inducted into the HOF in 1998.

6. Howie Long- 1981.

Long ruled the defense for the Oakland Raiders on the end of the line. Unlike Singletary, Long was a sack machine, recording 91.5 in 12 years. In addition to being Super Bowl XVIII champion, he was an eight-time Pro-Bowler and was inducted into the HOF in 2000.

5. Andre Tippett- 1982.

Tippett was a five-time Pro-Bowler. He was a part of the New England Patriots' 1985 AFC Championship team. That same year, he was named AFC Player of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded an impressive 100 sacks in his 11 years with the Patriots. Tippett was elected to the HOF in 2008.

4. Thurman Thomas- 1988.

Finally back to offense... Thomas was part of the Buffalo Bills' four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. In his 12 years he ran for over 12,000 yards and 88 TDs for the Bills. He is one of only 29 running backs with over 10,000 yards. Five-time Pro-Bowler, 1991 MVP, and 1992 Offensive Player of the Year, Thomas was key to the Bills' success. He was elected to the HOF in 2007.

3. Michael Strahan- 1993.

Setting the record for sacks in a season with 22 was one of his greatest accomplishments; helping secure a Super Bowl title in 2007 was another. His 854 tackles and 141.5 career sacks is nearly unprecedented. His seven Pro Bowls, coupled with being two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Strahan was one of the most accomplished defenders in NFL history. He was rewarded with induction into the HOF in 2014.

2. Rob Gronkowski- 2010.

Coming off of an impressive Super Bowl XLIX performance with the Patriots, Gronk is just getting started. While he has a long way to go to be considered with the rest of this list, Gronkowski is largely considered the best tight end in football today. In just his second season, he set the single-season record for receiving TDs by a TE with 17, and 18 total TDs, as well as, the single-season record for receiving yards by a TE, with 1,327. If he can stay healthy, he will join these greats in the Hall.

1. Brett Favre- 1991.

Between longevity and performance, there aren't many QBs like Favre. As if 20 years isn't impressive enough, he is the only QB to throw for over 70,000 yards, on over 6,000 completions in over 10,000 attempts. He also gave Strahan his record 22nd sack. He may be best known for winning Super Bowl XXXI, but he was also an 11-time Pro-Bowler, three-time MVP, five-time NFC Player of the Year, four-time passing TD leader, and a member of the All-90s team. Favre once owned 200 passing records, though that number has dwindled to 110. It is only a matter of time (2016) until he is eligible to take his place in the HOF.

This list is not intended to rank the players, only to name the best second-rounders in my opinion. Many others deserve "Honorable Mention", but there is not room here. While all of these players are not yet HOFers, they should or will be. Your comments and additions would be appreciated.


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