The NFL Draft is one of the most wonderful times of the year for NFL fans. We speculate about which players our team might take, and we get invested in the idea of how a particular player would be the perfect fit. Sometimes we’re very wrong.
Who needs Matt Ryan when you can have Glenn Dorsey!
Back in 2008, the Atlanta Falcons were coming off one of the most tragic seasons in team history. Michael Vick was in prison serving a sentence for a dogfighting conviction, and the team was reeling after head coach Bobby Petrino slid out of town in the middle of the night, letting players know he was leaving with notes in their lockers.
After a 4-12 finish with a combination of Chris Redman, Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich behind center, the Falcons needed a quarterback. They got one with the third overall pick, and Matt Ryan went on to be named MVP and Offensive Player of the Year last season. But fans didn’t want Matt Ryan in the first round.
Dave Choate, the editor of The Falcoholic, was not high on Ryan at all.
“Look, Matt Ryan could be a very good quarterback in the NFL,” Choate wrote in 2008. “More than likely he’ll be at least an average starter, which most teams don’t have. I just fail to see where the enormous fuss is coming from, here.”
Instead of Ryan, fans wanted Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey hasn’t exactly been a bust, but he also hasn’t lived up to his draft status after being selected fifth overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Ryan was the right pick for the Falcons, no matter how disappointed fans were on draft day.
Seahawks fans wanted Jimmy Clausen instead of Earl Thomas
Imagine being a Seahawks fan who wanted quarterback Jimmy Clausen over safety Earl Thomas. There were plenty of fans who were sold on Clausen in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Hey man, hindsight is 20/20 when you’re about to pick Earl Thomas but really wanted Jimmy Clausen… pic.twitter.com/B23ADx7iB2
— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) April 18, 2017
Thomas, of course, has become a cornerstone of the Seahawks defense. Clausen, on the other hand, started 10 games for the Panthers in his rookie season and finished with three touchdowns and nine picks.
Lions made the ‘worst pick since Titus Young’
For Lions fans, Ezekiel Ansah was a controversial pick at No. 5 in the 2013 NFL draft. Detroit fans absolutely did not want Ansah.
Who did Lions fans want instead?
Dee Milliner ended up going ninth overall to the New York Jets, where he didn’t pan out. The Jets waived him after he only played nine games for New York over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and now he’s a free agent.
Ansah, on the other hand, was a good pick for Detroit. He had a down year last season due to injury, and he contributed just two sacks. In 2015, though, he started all 16 games and had 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.
No matter who your team ends up picking on draft day, just remember: You may hate the pick, but it’s entirely possible that you’re wrong. Tell us which player your team passed on that made you furious at the time, but in retrospect was the right call, in the comments.
The Patriots missed out Matt Elam and Cordarrelle Patterson
New England had the 29th pick in the 2013 draft, but made the extremely Belichick-ian move to slide out of the first round in order to pick up second, third, fourth, and seventh-round selections instead. That left two dynamic athletes who filled a couple positions of need on the table; Tennessee WR/KR Cordarelle Patterson and Florida safety Matt Elam were the kinds of versatile weapons the Patriots could deploy en route to a fourth Super Bowl championship.
Moving back to the 52nd pick meant missing out on both those players — and like most Belichick draft-day trades, it worked out. Patterson went on to be an All-Pro kick returner with the Vikings, but was deemed expendable enough to let walk this spring. Elam started 15 games as a rookie, and then just 11 more over his last three seasons. He made news this season after being arrested on multiple drug charges and is currently a free agent.
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ drop allowed them to pick up Pro Bowler Jamie Collins, starting cornerback Logan Ryan, and, eventually, LeGarrette Blount. That’s a much better haul than either Patterson or Elam would have been.
Confession time: We’ve all been disappointed by our team missing out picking some actual good player at the expense of THE NEXT BIG THING! Who was yours?