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Thursday, April 19, 2007
Riggins carried a heavy load

By David Rose and Russell S. Baxter
Special for ESPN.com

Most teams picking in the top 10 of the draft expect to land impact players. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way, but we decided to show the kind of player who can be added when a front office gets it right by ranking the 10 best selections at each spot in the top 10 since 1967 (the first common draft between the AFL and NFL). Next up are the all-time best No. 6 picks, as we count down to the best No. 1 picks by Friday, April 27.

Top 10 No. 6 Picks


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1. John Riggins (1971) -- Jets
One of the preeminent workhorse running backs in league history, only 12 players have totaled more career rushing attempts (2,740) and rushing yards (11,352) than Riggins. His 104 rushing touchdowns are fifth in league history, and he also ranks in the Top 10 all-time in total touchdowns (116). Drafted by the Jets out of Kansas, Riggins found his stride with the Redskins, leading Washington to consecutive Super Bowl appearances. He earned MVP honors in Super Bowl XXVII by rushing for 166 yards and a score .

2. Tim Brown (1988) -- Raiders
The 1987 Heisman Trophy winner was the first of three first-round draft picks by the Raiders that April and certainly made his mark. The Notre Dame product ranks third in league history in catches (1,094) and second in receiving yards (14,934). He is one of only seven players with at least 100 TD receptions.

3. James Lofton (1978) -- Packers
One of the great big-play receivers in league history, as evidenced by his career average of 18.3 yards per reception. Only Jerry Rice and Tim Brown have accumulated more receiving yards than former Stanford star Lofton, who was drafted by the Packers, and also played for the Raiders, Bills, Eagles and Rams. He was named to eight Pro Bowls, was a member of three of Buffalo's four Super Bowl teams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

4. Torry Holt (1999) -- Rams
The book is still being written on Holt, who has been a sensation since joining the Rams out of North Carolina State. He caught 52 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns in his rookie season, helping the Rams shock the football world by winning Super Bowl XXXIV. Holt has totaled at least 80 receptions in each of his last seven seasons, and 1,300-plus yards in six of those campaigns.

Richard Seymour
Richard Seymour is considered one of the NFL's best defensive linemen.
5. Richard Seymour (2001) -- Patriots
Defensive lineman Seymour is one of the cornerstones of New England's dynasty. Named to the last five Pro Bowls, the former Georgia Bulldog has the versatility to play inside and outside, and is athletic enough to contribute to Bill Belichick's team in other ways as well.

6. Walter Jones (1997) -- Seahawks
It took the Florida State product a couple of seasons to get acclimated to the NFL, but Jones has emerged as one of the better left tackles in the league in recent years. Named to six straight Pro Bowls, he formed a devastating combination with Steve Hutchinson (now with the Vikings).

7. Robert Brazile (1975) -- Oilers
Linebacker Brazile was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1976-82). A college teammate of Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton at Jackson State, he was equally adept at defending the run or the pass, and was a vital member of a Houston defense that played the 3-4 before it became vogue.

8. Jimbo Covert (1983) -- Bears
A key cog on Mike Ditka's offensive lines in Chicago, Covert was only a two-time Pro Bowler, but played in a era when the NFC housed such tackles as Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, Joe Jacoby and Gary Zimmerman. Former Pitt star Covert helped pave the way for a running game that led the league in rushing yards four straight seasons (1983-86).

9. Floyd Little (1967) -- Broncos
Back in the days when the Broncos used first-round draft choices on running backs, Little was one of the first offensive stars for the franchise. The former Syracuse star played all nine of his seasons with Denver, and ranks second in team history with 6,323 rushing yards. He was named to the Pro Bowl five times, but never played for a playoff team with the Broncos.

10. Lomas Brown (1985) -- Lions
In a career that spaned 18 seasons and five teams, Brown spent the first 11 years of his career with the Lions, opening holes for one-time college teammate James Jones and, later, Barry Sanders. It is certainly no coincidence that the former Florida Gator began his run of seven consecutive Pro Bowls in 1990, Sanders' second season in the league.

Honorable Mention
FS Mark Carrier (1990) -- Bears
DE Grant Wistrom (1998) -- Rams
DT Eric Swann (1991) -- Cardinals

David Rose and Russell S. Baxter work for ESPN Research.