Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the ESPN.com NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: history in that spot.
The Cardinals' top pick is No. 5 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:
2010: FS Eric Berry (Chiefs)
2009: QB Mark Sanchez (Jets)
2008: DT Glenn Dorsey (Chiefs)
2007: T Levi Brown (Cardinals)
2006: LB A.J. Hawk (Packers)
2005: RB Carnell Williams (Bucs)
2004: FS Sean Taylor (Redskins)
ANALYSIS: The Cardinals are still taking criticism for selecting Brown fifth overall in 2007 when running back Adrian Peterson was available. Coach Ken Whisenhunt recently defended the decision, saying Brown is a good player on the rise, and the team badly needed to build up its offensive line when Whisenhunt arrived as head coach in 2007. To be fair, the Cardinals had already paid big money to running back Edgerrin James in free agency. Still, Peterson was seen as the best player available. In retrospect, adding Peterson might have made Arizona even more dangerous during its Super Bowl season.
The 49ers' top pick is No. 7 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:
2010: CB Joe Haden (Browns)
2009: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Raiders)
2008: DT Sedrick Ellis (Saints)
2007: RB Adrian Peterson (Vikings)
2006: S Michael Huff (Raiders)
2005: WR Troy Williamson (Vikings)
2004: WR Roy Williams (Lions)
ANALYSIS: The 49ers traded up to select pass-rusher Andre Carter seventh overall in 2001. They selected defensive tackle Bryant Young seventh overall in 1994. Previously, the 49ers selected tight ends Ken MacAfee (1978) and Ted Kwalick (1969) in this slot. The team landed Carter after Bill Walsh made a first-round swap with Seattle's Mike Holmgren. The 49ers came out ahead in that deal; Holmgren's Seahawks wound up with receiver Koren Robinson. Carter never became a dominant pass-rushing force for San Francisco, but he did have 25.5 sacks over his first three seasons. First-year general manager Trent Baalke was with the 49ers when the team selected tight end Vernon Davis in this general range -- sixth overall -- five years ago. That decision has worked out well.
The Rams' top pick is No. 14 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:
2010: FS Earl Thomas (Seahawks)
2009: CB Malcolm Jenkins (Saints)
2008: T Chris Williams (Bears)
2007: CB Darrelle Revis (Jets)
2006: DT Brodrick Bunkley (Eagles)
2005: LB Thomas Davis (Panthers)
2004: DT Tommie Harris (Bears)
ANALYSIS: This is the first time the Rams have selected 14th since moving to St. Louis for the 1995 season. The Los Angeles Rams selected running back Gaston Green (1988), running back Barry Redden (1982), linebacker Jack Pardee (1957) and tight end Leon Clarke (1956) in this slot. The Rams have picked in this general range several times this decade, however. The results were generally disastrous, but the people responsible for making those decisions aren't in charge any longer. The Rams have done a much better job in the draft more recently. Looking back, however, the team selected defensive tackle Adam Carriker 13th in 2007 and cornerback Tye Hill 15th in 2006. Defensive tackles Jimmy Kennedy (2003) and Damione Lewis (2001) went 12th overall to St. Louis.
The Seahawks' top pick is No. 25 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:
2010: QB Tim Tebow (Broncos)
2009: CB Vontae Davis (Dolphins)
2008: CB Mike Jenkins (Cowboys)
2007: LB Jon Beason (Panthers)
2006: WR Santonio Holmes (Steelers)
2005: QB Jason Campbell (Redskins)
2004: CB Ahmad Carroll (Packers)
ANALYSIS: The Seahawks' previous leadership selected center Chris Spencer with the 26th pick in 2005. Ted Thompson, who mentored current Seattle general manager John Schneider, was with Seattle when the team used the 23rd choice of the 2003 draft for defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs. Tubbs was on his way to becoming a disruptive force until a knee injury cut short his career. Schneider was with the Packers in 2004 when the team used the 24th choice for Carroll, who disappointed as a cornerback. A look at the quarterbacks selected in this general range over the years lends little confidence in the prospects for Seattle finding one in 2011. There are more misses than hits, although Schneider was with Green Bay when the Packers found Aaron Rodgers with the 24th overall choice.