AFC East: Brian Holloway

AFC East influential in top five draft classes

April, 16, 2010
4/16/10
4:11
PM ET
This must be some sort of record.

In three straight posts, I mention NFC West blogger Mike Sando.

The guy's all over the place.

Sando has completed a project to determine the five greatest draft classes since 1967, when the NFL and AFL combined for a common draft.

Sando, using a criteria that sorts through individual awards and championships, concluded the best were 1983, 1996, 1981, 1969 and 1985.

A lot of AFC East stars played roles in making those drafts great.

Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Ken O'Brien and Tony Eason were among that glorious quarterback class of 1983. Miami Dolphins receiver Mark Clayton and Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Darryl Talley also were selected that spring.

Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, found in the fifth round, was a highlight of the 1996 class.

The 1981 class included New York Jets running back Freeman McNeil, New England Patriots tackle Brian Holloway and outside linebacker Hugh Green, who later played for the Dolphins.

Bills running back O.J. Simpson was the first pick if the 1969 draft. Ten picks later, the Dolphins took defensive end Bill Stanfill.

Another notable No. 1 Bills pick started off the 1985 draft: defensive end Bruce Smith. The Bills also snagged receiver Andre Reed in the fourth round. Special-team ace Steve Tasker was a ninth-round pick for the Houston Oilers before making seven Pro Bowls for Buffalo. Another big name that year was Jets receiver Al Toon.

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