Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Who's drafting and finding Pro Bowlers?
By Paul Kuharsky
The Pro Bowl is a watered-down disaster and has no more outspoken critic than I.
But it’s still used as a measuring stick, and since it’s a watered-down disaster for everyone, it’s not unreasonable to look at for comparison purposes. (And it didn't used to be quite as diluted.)
The Texans released this team-by-team list of draft picks and college free agents who’ve gone to the Pro Bowl since 2002. If a team drafted a player or signed one as an undrafted free agent and he went to the Pro Bowl with another team, he still counts.
There are some quirks in the list. It gives the Texans credit, for example, for having drafted Jason Babin. But Houston traded up to draft Babin and then completely miscast him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He was a bust for the Texans. But he went to the 2010 Pro Bowl after becoming a productive pass rush end with the Titans.
The Texans have found Pro Bowlers in top picks, as you’d expect -- Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing and Babin. Owen Daniels was the 98th pick and Jerome Mathis was 114th. Those are the more impressive Pro Bowlers to me.
The Jaguars have only found a couple of Pro Bowl-caliber players with lesser picks or in college free agency. David Garrard was drafted 108th and Montell Owens was undrafted. (Yes, Garrard did have one Pro Bowl-worthy season.)
The Colts and Titans have fared better in this category.
Indianapolis found Robert Mathis 138th, Cato June 198th and Antoine Bethea 207th. Mathis and Bethea remain key players.
And Tennessee unearthed Marc Mariani 222nd and Cortland Finnegan 215th. The two have combined to help fill the crater left by the No. 6 pick in the 2005 draft, Pacman Jones.