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Sunday, April 17, 2005 

1995 Draft

A famous example of a bad number one draft choice was Cincinnati selecting RB Ki-Jana Carter ten years ago. The 1995 Draft should help us keep the upcoming draft in perspective for several reasons:

1. On draft day, drug rumors were swirling around Warren Sapp. It reminded me a bit of the stories I'd heard about Dan Marino in the 1983 draft. Tampa Bay ended up taking him 12th overall as the fourth defensive lineman selected (behind Kevin Carter, Mike Mamula, and Derrick Alexander). Sapp ended up being a trouble-maker for other reasons, but Tampa Bay won a Super Bowl with him.

2. The Jets had two picks in the top 16, and walked away with the overrated TE Kyle Brady at 9 and the underrated Hugh Douglas at 16.

3. College success doesn't always translate to the NFL. In 1994, Penn State was 12-0 and finshed the season ranked 2nd overall. Three players from that team were taken in the top 10 - Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins (5th Carolina), and Kyle Brady. Only Collins was not a bust, as he played in two conference title games and (lost) a Super Bowl.

4. I had completely forgotten that Tyrone Poole had been drafted ahead of Ty Law. Just barely - Poole was taken 22nd overall by Carolina, one pick before Law was selected by New England.

5. The 1995 draft also proves that the later rounds are probably the most important to building a championship-caliber team. Check out the following two sets of selections:

New England Patriots Green Bay Packers
23. CB Ty Law 32. DB Craig Newsome
57. LB Ted Johnson 65. DT Darius Holland*
74. RB Curtis Martin 66. FB William Henderson
112. C Dave Wohlabaugh 73. LB Brian Williams
90. WR Antonio Freeman
170. RB Travis Jervey*
230. OL Adam Timmerman

All of those players played in Super Bowl XXXI at the end of the 1996 season, and with the exception of Holland and Jervey, they were all starters. Not a top 20 pick in the bunch, but at least one HOFer in Martin and over 20 Super Bowl appearances between them.

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